A combination of the Internet and telephones allow American employees to work with flexible hours from home if they so choose, as well as work in a modern office. Although invented over a century apart, these two technologies are both central to how an employee reaches out to customers, consumers, and business clients alike, and this may greatly impact their company’s sales. Customer service jobs, inbound sales call positions, dispatcher positions, and more can be done at home, and many Americans like to work with flexible hours. Someone who wants to (or must) work with flexible hours may work from home as an insurance agent, just for one example, or find online writing jobs or even work as a blogger in some cases. Independent contractors often do this, and they may work with flexible hours as they like. Some independent contractors, in fact, may work more than one job or work odd hours that would be incompatible with a regular office environment.
The Power of A Phone Call
Telephones were invented over 140 years ago, but they are no less relevant today for business, even in the face of PCs and the Internet. Phones allow two people to hear each other’s voices, and the human mind may naturally crave this sort of communication as opposed to looking at text on a screen. Consumer surveys show that telephones are the most preferred channel for reaching out to a business, at 61%. Email ranks at a close second, at 60%, and live video chat is third at 57% (someone in the survey could choose more than one option). Telephone technology is over a century older than the Internet, but it still has power. Managers and sales and customer service reps alike will know this, and make the most of it. This may make all the difference where sales and profits are concerned.
A large part of any company’s sales funnel comes from phone calls, and sales call reps and customer service reps alike will be trained in how to handle phone calls for maximum customer satisfaction. This is an entire topic in itself, but to put it simply, such employees must use both people skills and professional sales skills to accomplish their work. The employee should be warm, friendly, and attentive and patient so that they can build a rapport with the customer, and determine their needs and preferences. Sales techniques allow the employee to pitch a product or service, and secure that sale. Good phone calls will impress new customers and keep current ones loyal, and in fact a loyal customer is extremely valuable since they make repeat purchases. Managers and sales call reps will make the most of this.
By contrast, just one bad instance of bad customer service by phone may turn away a potential customer or anger a current one and cause them to quit. What might go wrong? An employee may had a bad personality or fail to be warm and inviting, and fail to listen to the customer and build a rapport. In other cases, the employee’s crowded work environment is noisy with other phone calls and in-person chatter, making it difficult to hear the other party. The employee’s stress levels and rates of work errors may also increase, leading to poor performance. For these reasons and more, many employees are choosing to work with flexible hours at home instead.
Why Work Remotely
Some Americans work remotely because that is the only practical arrangement for them, such as single parents who can’t leave their kids alone for hours on end. Employees with limited or no personal transport may do this, as may employees with substantial social anxiety or those with sensory issues. Some such employees may be highly introverted, or may have diagnosed high-functioning autism. Such employees can be quite focused and effective, but may perform poorly when in the company of others.
In other cases, remote employees are working from home to avoid the noise and stress of the office. Their own residence makes for a quiet and controlled environment, and what is more, that employee can reallocate their commute time to more work instead. Employees may use phones, e-mail, and video chat to stay connected with all co-workers and customers alike from their home office.