More employees work from home than ever before, and the trend isn’t going away anytime soon.
According to the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce Report, nearly 4 million U.S. employees work from home at least half the time.
There’s so much more flexibility that comes with working from home. When you work remotely, you can skip long commutes, wear gym clothes all day, and spend more time with your family.
Plus, you can get more done at home. A Stanford University study found that remote workers were 13% more productive than office workers. People who worked from home logged more hours and were more effective during those hours.
If you want to work from home, customer service is the number five remote work job category, earning about $16.23 per hour in 2018. If you want to work from home doing something you enjoy, look for remote chat jobs.
What Does an Online Chat Agent Do?
Online chat agents provide customer support via text-based chat discussions.
Successful live chat agents should enjoy a fast-paced environment with little downtime in between. They should be able to multitask since they’ll often have multiple conversations going on at once.
Online customer service jobs require that you be able to communicate professionally using proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Some chat agent jobs do require specific knowledge of the business you’re supporting and the chat platform. As you’re researching online chat jobs, look for companies that provide training and don’t require previous experience.
All you physically need to be an online chat agent is a reliable internet connection, a computer, and possibly a phone and headset depending on the position. You’ll also find it easier to concentrate in an area that isn’t noisy.
Online chat jobs aren’t exactly the same as being a virtual assistant. VAs can support a wide range of activities, but a VA might also do customer support like answering emails and fulfilling orders.
As a virtual assistant, you might also make appointments, order supplies, or manage social media accounts. An online chat agent’s primary responsibility is to provide customer support.
There are some jobs that may require you to be a phone-based customer service agent. If you prefer talking to people instead of typing, these jobs might be a more suitable fit for you.
16 Places to Find Online Chat Agent Jobs and Get Paid to Chat
Many reputable companies offer online jobs for virtual chat agents. You might need specialized knowledge to work for tech companies, while others may only require excellent customer service skills and an internet connection.
1. Accolade Support
Accolade Support hires customer service agents that work as independent contractors. This means they don’t get paid benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, or a 401(k) plan.
Instead, they have the flexibility to choose which hours they want to work. It’s not clear what the pay is or how many hours are required per week.
Agents must have:
- An American accent
- Excellent customer service, written, and oral communication skills
- Attention to detail
- Technical support skills
Here are the technical requirements:
- A telephone with a headset
- A PC with Windows 7 to 10 (Macs aren’t eligible)
- Computer needs to be hard wired to the internet
Apple At Home Advisors answer questions and provide online chat support to Apple customers. Apple provides an iMac and headset to its at-home advisors. You’ll need internet access and a quiet place to work. However, the company will reimburse part of your internet costs.
To succeed in this job, it helps to have some experience with Apple products like iPhones and iPads, but it’s not required. Apple provides training on the technical aspects of the latest Apple products and on the Apple approach to customer service.
The Apple At Home Advisor program also offers paid time off, product discounts, and free career development resources. Apple offers part-time and full-time At Home Advisor roles. You’ll learn more about the pay and benefits during the interview process.
Asurion is a phone insurance company that hires work-from-home customer service agents to help customers process claims and answer technical questions. Employees make $13.50 an hour starting out.
The job requires:
- A high school diploma or GED
- Ability to work nights, weekends, and holidays
- Six months of experience in customer service
- Ability to pass a background check or drug test
You also need to have a quiet working background and high-speed internet. Asurion will provide the rest of the equipment. There are also bilingual customer support positions, but the pay isn’t listed.
Amazon employs remote workers as Customer Service Associates. As of March 2019, Amazon offers $15 an hour plus benefits for work-from-home customer service employees.
In that role, Customer Service Associates were expected to work about 20 to 29 hours during a typical week, but asked employees to be available up to 60 hours per week based on customer call and chat volume.
Customer service associates at Amazon can expect to communicate with customers in a variety of different ways, via phone, email, and chat. It’s a fast-paced environment that requires a strong customer focus.
Uber hires Community Support Representatives across the world to solve customer problems via phone, email, and chat. To work at Uber, you should be able to show empathy for riders and drivers. Uber is looking for support representatives with excellent written and verbal communication skills.
You should expect to work evening or weekend shifts when support demand is high. Uber prefers to hire support representatives with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Communications, English, or Journalism, but a degree isn’t required.
Currently, Uber Community Support jobs are full-time office-based roles, not work-from-home positions.
Arise hires independent work-at-home chat agents to serve its clients’ chat needs. As a chat agent, you’ll provide real-time support and troubleshooting to customers.
You may work for a variety of companies that hire Arise to supply them with experienced chat agents. Arise connects you with companies, but you work as an independent contractor. This means you have more flexibility in the jobs you expect.
Arise also offers support for new contractors via online videos.
7. Best Buy
Best Buy hires full-time client service and customer support agents to troubleshoot customer issues via phone and chat. Sometimes you may respond to customers via social media platforms or the Best Buy forum.
Customer issues might include technical problems, questions about their local store, or issues with item delivery. Service agents should be comfortable speaking to customers over the phone and via chat. At least one year of customer support experience is ideal.
Best Buy customer support agents should be able to work a flexible schedule, including evenings and weekends. It prefers to hire agents who have experience working with and troubleshooting consumer electronics.
Agents work in an office or retail store, not from home. Pay isn’t mentioned in the job posting, but the average reported pay for Geek Squad employees is around $11-$12 per hour.
Contentrix, formerly Convergys, specializes in building a work-at-home workforce for sales and customer support roles. It’s currently hiring in 35 states for remote customer support roles. To work with Concentrix, you’ll need a computer, secure workspace, and an internet connection. Specific clients may have additional requirements.
Pay starts at $10 an hour for Concentrix workers, and you’ll be paid every two weeks. Concentrix employs both full-time and part-time workers, and you can work a maximum of 40 hours per week. You’ll agree on your schedule when you’re hired.
Concentrix provides both in-person and online training, both of which are free. After training, Concentrix evaluates you to make sure you are ready to work with customers.
OutPLEX, previously Talk2rep, offers outsourcing services for customer support functions including live chat and text support. The company hires US-based work-from-home customer service representatives. With OutPLEX, you’ll resolve customer issues via email or phone.
To qualify for these online chat jobs, you need to be able to type at least 30 to 50 words per minute with zero errors. You can check your typing speed online.
Your computer must be hard wired to the internet and needs to have a Windows operating system (Apple computers aren’t eligible). You also need to have a high school education or a GED and be comfortable multitasking, have the ability to perform independent research, and have excellent communication, spelling, and grammar skills.
10. The Chat Shop
Live Chat Agents represent The Chat Shop customers across the world. The Chat Shop provides training to agents, but you need to be a native English speaker with excellent grammar and typing skills. Currently, it’s only hiring in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas.
You’ll also need to be an organized worker who can multitask and learn new skills. The Chat Shop agents typically work 20 to 40 hours a week from home.
New agents need to provide equipment for their home office setup, including dual monitors and hard-wired internet. The Chat Shop also recommends that you have an external keyboard and mouse if you’ll be using a laptop for work.
SiteStaff provides boutique chat services for businesses. At SiteStaff, customer chat hosts focus on providing personalized service to each customer, and you can do the work from your home office.
To qualify for a Chat Host role at SiteStaff, you should be able to type at least 65 to 75 words per minute. You need a strong grasp of punctuation, grammar, and spelling.
SiteStaff is looking for Chat Hosts with exceptional problem-solving skills. Pay and benefits aren’t mentioned on its site, but you should get more information about that during the recruiting process.
12. Live Person
LivePerson hires Client Partners to manage a portfolio of enterprise customers. A Client Partner with LivePerson will work closely with the customer’s executive team throughout the relationship.
In this role, you would work remotely to drive continuous improvement efforts, become an expert on LivePerson’s offerings, and manage customer contracts.
LivePerson requires at least a Bachelor’s degree and seven or more years of experience in account management. If you have an MBA, that’s a plus. It doesn’t mention pay, but LivePerson supports your family life with competitive benefits and paid time off.
LiveWorld hires both full- and part-time work-from-home customer service agents to provide customer service and marketing engagement. As a LiveWorld agent, you should be both fluent in the language you’re supporting and in English.
Your primary responsibility at LiveWorld will include responding to customers’ social media posts, responding to user content in a social context, and triaging customer questions.
This isn’t a phone-based position. Since you’ll be doing a lot of writing, you should have excellent grammar, punctuation, and spelling skills. You’ll need to commit to working specific blocks of time in a quiet location.
Nights, weekends, and holidays are sometimes required. You should provide reliable internet and phone access and a computer.
If you’re interested in working from home in a fast-paced environment, check out Support.com’s contact center opportunities. Support.com provides tech support services for clients by phone and chat.
Since Support.com is focused on technology, you’ll need to have experience troubleshooting Mac, iOS, Android, or Windows devices.
Perks of working with Support.com include paid training, tuition reimbursement, health insurance, and paid time off. Support.com also provides a content library to help you expand your tech support skills and career.
It’ll also provide a tax-free work-from-home reimbursement. Several reviews online reported that the reimbursement was $0.50 per hour to compensate for internet and equipment use.
15. Fancy Hands
If you want more variety than the typical online chat job, sign up to be a Fancy Hands virtual assistant. As a VA, you could do several different tasks, including online chat jobs. Fancy Hands hires virtual assistants on any schedule, so feel free to choose your own hours.
When you start, each task pays between $3 and $7. Pay may increase as you gain experience and will likely vary based on the task complexity, how quickly you complete the task, and other factors.
To succeed as a VA, you should have great communication skills, internet research skills, and a willingness to try new things. You’ll need to have your own computer and audio headset.
Fancy Hands also hires on-site Customer Support Associates for its NYC office. Customer Support Associates help troubleshoot and manage client issues. This job requires weekend availability.
Freshworks hires Customer Success Managers to work with Software as a Service (SAAS) customers. Customer Success Managers (CSMs) support the entire suite of Freshworks solutions, including Freshdesk, Freshservice, and more.
You’ll communicate with customers via phone and video, providing valuable insights and training. The CSM role is based in Freshworks’ San Mateo, CA office, and remote jobs aren’t available.
Online Chat Jobs Websites to Find Clients
If you’re willing to find your own clients, you can design a schedule that works for you and your personal situation. Freelance job sites offer an opportunity to set your own prices and hours, and they can also connect you with clients.
FlexJobs offers a curated list of remote and flexible jobs. It covers part- and full-time roles for both entry-level and experienced candidates. Flexjobs helps you find remote and flexible job opportunities that you may not see on typical job boards.
Job postings include both freelance and employee roles. FlexJobs also provides extensive resources to help you in your job search. These include job search checklists, resume reviews, and video introductions.
It costs $14.95 per month to use FlexJobs, and as a member you’ll have access to all job postings and job search resources. You can pay for a month at a time if you think your job search will be short.
For job seekers who expect to search for a longer period of time, FlexJobs also offers quarterly and annual rates. If you’re not happy with the service, you can request a refund within 30 days.
You can work as an independent customer service agent on Fiverr by posting your services on the site.
Just sign up, set up your profile, and post your chat agent services to Fiverr’s marketplace. Fiverr lets you connect with customers, negotiate terms, and collect payment.
You’ll receive payment once your client verifies the work. Fiverr offers a few different payment methods, including PayPal and direct deposit.
You can set prices anywhere from $5 to $995. Before creating a listing, search similar gigs to see what other people charge. Make sure to post relevant information about your skills, like language fluency and typing speed.
Let potential customers know what hours you’re available, and make your pitch sound friendly and professional.
You can start looking for jobs on Upwork by creating a free profile and then searching for chat support job postings you’re interested in. Upwork will highlight jobs that might be a good fit and email you when new jobs are posted. Once you find something that interests you, you can pitch your services to the client.
Upwork also streamlines the work process by allowing you to communicate with your client and invoice through the site.
Although you can create a profile for free, Upwork charges 20% of the first $500 billed with a client, 10% of lifelong billings with a client between $500 and $10,000, and 5% on lifetime billings beyond $10,000.
Keep this in mind when you’re researching jobs on Upwork. You’ll also pay $0.15 each time you connect with a potential client.
On Freelancer, you can connect with clients hiring freelancers for almost any type of job. First, create a profile that includes your skills and experience. When you find a job you’re interested in, you can submit a bid to the potential client.
If your bid is accepted, you can complete the work and receive payment. Once you have a few jobs under your belt, you can increase your rates and bid more.
You have to pay to access jobs on Freelancer. The Intro plan, at $0.99 per month, allows you to list 30 skills and submit 15 bids per month.
As you upgrade your membership, you gain access to additional features and can submit additional bids and add more information to your profile. You can also deduct the membership as an expense on your taxes.
New freelancers can make a great impression by presenting a tailored, professional proposal to prospective customers.
Tips to Make More Money as a Chat Operator
Anna Barker, founder of The Logical Dollar, worked for a company that provided customer support agents to insurance companies to help process claims for car accidents. She said operators should be able to write in a positive way so that nothing they say is misinterpreted. This can be difficult to do through text but is crucial for this type of work.
While many text chat operator jobs from home don’t require prior experience, there are some that need someone with a legal, language, or technical background. The good news? Those who do have this experience can often make more.
“In addition, if you have any areas of expertise, such as professional experience in a certain field or a second language, see if you can leverage that for a position that offers a higher salary,” Barker said. “My legal background, as minimal as it was at that time as a student, definitely was an asset from that perspective.”
Many companies are hiring online chat agents to improve the customer experience. Some opportunities are more flexible, allowing chat agents to set their own hours. Other jobs require you to work specific shifts and be on-site.
“Some companies ask their chat operators to be available for night shifts, so that customers can talk to someone at any time, day or night,” Barker said. “That may work for you but, if not, just be sure that you’re aware of the hours for which you’re signing up.”
Successful chat agents enjoy multitasking in a fast-paced environment. Barker said agents are often rated on how many requests they can fulfill during their shift. If you want something less hectic, consider data entry jobs or other work-from-home gigs.