Flipping the script on call center job location

When AnswerConnect was founded in 2002, we ran a pretty typical call center. We filled our customer service job openings from the metro area around our office, just like most companies do.

After a few years in business, our founders began to question the model. AnswerConnect was successful, and growing. But getting bigger would mean more and more people commuting to the call center. And because we were located in suburban America, our employees did what Americans do—they drove to work alone, for the most part.

This model of bringing the people with customer service skills to the customer service jobs made sense. At least, the way we did things was the way many other companies did things, too. But it had some problems.

Winter freeze

One of the difficulties we found with having all our call center customer representatives in one place was that in a major storm, many people would be unable to get there.

One winter, when the Portland area saw an unusually heavy snowfall, we had to drive around in a 4-wheel-drive truck just to bring our team members to work!

We knew we couldn’t do anything about the weather. But could we organize our company so that we were less vulnerable to this kind of disruption?

Talent pool

We were proud of our team, and the many talented customer experience associates we’d hired in the area near our headquarters.

But our clients were nationwide, including on the East Coast, where the time was always three hours ahead. To be ready to take calls at 7 am in New York, our Oregon-based employees would have to start work at 4 am—something not everyone wants to do.

We also knew that as we grew, it would become more and more difficult to fill our customer service job openings with the experienced, friendly, professional people we were looking for.

Carbon crisis

At the same time we faced weather-related challenges and a talent pool we were outgrowing, our founders became concerned about another shortcoming of the traditional, centralized work model.

Having hundreds of people drive from all over the metro area to one building every day meant a lot of cars in the parking lot. And those cars burned a lot of gas going to and from our building.

Not only was all that gas expensive for our employees, it contributed to pollution and climate change. We knew there had to be a better way to staff our call center.

The Work-From-Home Call Center

In 2007, after five years in the customer service industry, we went remote. We closed our call center, but kept our team. Instead of driving to our building in the morning and leaving in the evening, they’d stay home and we’d send them our clients’ calls over the Internet.

In other words, we’d send the customer service works to the people with the customer service skills.

Remote working: better for people, planet, and profit

Since going remote ten years ago, we’ve never looked back. Being a virtual company hasn’t stopped us from expanding to new states, adding new services, and growing each year.

We believe in this remote model. With the right processes, technology, and mindset, virtual companies can succeed. That means people can work anywhere!

This distributed work model is better for our people, who get to reclaim their commuting time, save money on gas, and say goodbye to stressful freeway traffic.

Remote work is also better for the planet, because we’re reducing our collective carbon emissions. After all, each gallon of fuel you burn releases 8,887 grams of carbon into the atmosphere!

This way of working isn’t just better socially and environmentally, though. It’s better from a financial perspective as well. Some people refer to this as the Triple Bottom Line, or people, planet, and profit. As a business, we save money by having a much smaller real estate footprint than we used to have. And we can scale up quickly, without having to rent more space, order more desks and chairs, or pay for more electricity to keep a big office lit and heated.

If you’re interested in going remote at your company, our guide Zero to Anywhere can help you get started! Or call us at 800-700-8888 to find out more about what we can do to help your business provide great customer service around the clock, without adding a single new employee!

Meet some of our virtual receptionists

Today, we have hundreds of virtual receptionists on our teams. They live and work in states from Oregon to Texas to North Carolina, and several more. We’ve even expanded into the United Kingdom!

Want to meet a few of our team members? Betty, Eli, and Michelle work from their home offices. Along with the rest of our teams, they help provide great customer service to the customers of our more than 6,000 clients.

Work from home jobs have their own special challenges. One way we prepare and support our team members to succeed in their virtual call center jobs is by providing mentors like Everlyn. She helps the receptionists on her team stay on top of their QA scores, handle any difficult situations that might arise, and generally stay connected to the company and their teammates.

We’re hiring!

Are you looking for customer service jobs in Texas? In Florida? In North Carolina? We might be looking for you!

Our work from home customer service representative jobs let our team members enjoy more family time, more time for hobbies and other activities, and more money in their pockets. That’s all because when you work remotely, you don’t have to commute!

The average American commutes 51 minutes a day. For some, the daily commute is much longer. How would you like to get that time back, to do with as you choose?

If you think you have the customer service skills to succeed in one of our virtual call center jobs, visit our jobs page and see if we’re hiring in your area! We’re looking forward to hearing from you and placing you on one of our teams.