October 6, 2015

A quick look at freelancing and the rise of online customer service

Feeling at home with the freelance lifestyle

For freelancers, working at home is an incredibly attractive proposition. You don’t just get paid to develop your skills; you also get to exercise complete control over your own time and space as well.

Global trends in the job market show that an increasing number of professionals are cutting their teeth on freelance work online, coinciding with the current ubiquity of the Internet in up to 40% of the world and its particular spike in demand for customer service agents.

According to industry statistics, the rising demand in customer care isn’t going away soon and this bodes well for the large number of skilled customer service people in the Philippines.

Thanks to the surge in online-based freelancer talent marketplaces like Upwork, customer service practitioners are in a position where they can successfully build entire international-standard careers for themselves, getting first-world pay without ever having to commute.

This has proven to be incredibly appealing to businesses of all types and sizes —from bootstrapped startup to established enterprise—all over the world since they now have access to the talent they need to build phenomenal support teams thanks to an earth-sized talent pool of freelance professionals , giving an ultra-nuanced matching experience compared to traditional hiring methods.

The customer service category is one of the fastest growing categories on Upwork. Last year alone, companies spent 54 percent more than the year before. Increasingly companies are discovering the value of having a distributed customer support team – from reduced turnover to improved customer satisfaction and 24/7 multi-channel support.

If you are a passionate service professional looking to start practicing online freelance customer care, now is a great time to start.

The challenges of freedom
While the trend is unquestionably empowering for both businesses and freelancers, it is not without its quirks.

One thing that scares many aspiring online freelancers off early on is the fear of losing the distinction between “work time” and “home time.” For freelancers customer service professionals in the Philippines, the need to address this is particularly pressing.

Luckily, here are some tips to help you feel more at home with the freelance way of life:

Feeling at home with the freelance lifestyle

1. Build your office
Your first step in kickstarting the freelance life is building the space you’ll be working in. While things should be welcoming and familiar for you, never forget that a clear work area goes hand in hand with a clear mind.

Remove unnecessary clutter from your table, and ensure that you have a professional-looking backdrop in case you need to face clients during your next online meeting. Also ensure that your immediate environment is quiet enough to work in. This will be your office from now on, so everything counts if you want to stay distraction-free, regardless if you’re offering email, chat, or voice support.

You may also need to secure a stronger or more reliable connection, as you may need the extra bandwith and speed for conference calls and long customer service sessions. Compare reviews and current product offerings from your preferred service provider.

2. Dress the part
The thought of going to work in your PJs is something many home-based professionals aspire for, but this may be particularly bad for you in the long run.

A big part of the professional mindset knowing how to make the best possible impression when you present yourself to clients. The gesture alone shows them that you’re willing to be the best version of yourself for them, and it helps build trust between both parties.

While you may be incredibly talented, it’s hard to trust someone to deliver if they look like they just got out of bed all the time. Just think of it as something that cements your image as a working professional. Studies also show that a healthy self-image boosts productivity and motivation. It’s never a bad idea to dress up for work!

3. Develop a routine
People need a routine to ground them to certain aspects of their working lives. For many, this starts as early as the morning commute; something that may be foreign to the home-based customer care professional. I mean, how far do you have to walk to go from your house to… the other end of your house?

Try setting routine habits to get you into that working mood. Some would prefer a quick morning workout before the bulk of the day’s deliverables. Others cook, while others would prefer a simple walk to the nearest coffee shop for a good cup of coffee.

With opportunities to develop your customer service agent career, the comforts of home, and all the time you need for the things that matter in life; could you ask for a sweeter life? If you are a skilled customer service agent , online freelancing can make your dream of a freestyle life come true.

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