This is the second article in our four-part review series on Arise Virtual Solutions, a company that has been in business since 1997 and utilizes home workers to handle customer contact for their customers. From the Arise website:
Arise customizes and delivers virtual business process outsourcing services, including high quality voice, email, chat and mobile customer service, sales and technical support. Access a network of over 25,000 professionals providing better customer experiences.
In a shorter definition, Arise offers call center services for companies who wish to outsource that function, and all the call center agents with Arise work from home.
I have extensive experience working with Arise for approximately 7 years*. Like all companies, there are pros and cons, and this will be a review based on my own personal experience and observations, and may not necessarily be the experience or opinion of others who have worked or do work with Arise. I am going to focus on what makes Arise different from other call centers, and assume that the average reader will be familiar with the type of work performed at a call centers. Also, for the reader’s clarification, “client” used in the context of this review means a client of Arise, in other words, the company that partners with Arise to receive call center support services.
Part 2 – All About Working
You’ve finished training and are ready to work. One of the first things you’ll do is schedule some hours to work.
Scheduling with Arise is similar to some of the other work at home call centers, with a schedule posted of hours that are available to work, and the agents logging in and selecting the hours they wish to work. These hours are selected in 30-minute intervals, (so if you want to work 2 hours, you would select 4 30-minute intervals.) Most clients schedule at least a few weeks in advance, and you can expect the schedule to be posted at the same time each week. (Although one tip is to keep your eyes on the schedule and your email, because if additional hours are added to the schedule or a similar change is made, that will not be on a regular schedule.) Agents will have a minimum number of hours that they are required to work, and there will likely be a cap as to the maximum number of hours you can work, in order to allow everyone working that client a chance to select hours. Often that cap will be lifted at a later day, so if you wish to work more than the maximum, you may still be able to do so. If you need to change your schedule, it is simply a matter of logging in and un-scheduling yourself where you are scheduled and re-schedule elsewhere, but make sure to read the details completely surrounding how far in advance you can do this without penalty, and other scheduling details.
When you are scheduled to work, you log into your computer and be available for work at the time you scheduled, and begin working. What is important to remember is that you are not alone and on an island without support—there will be a chat room for you to log into and experienced people working in that chat room who are there solely to provide you with support and answer questions. Sometimes announcements are made in this chat room as well, or perhaps information or tips given out, and watching the questions asked by others can also be a good way to learn and improve your skills.
Agents should watch their email regularly for any updates regarding scheduling, training, and occasionally there are meetings to attend for training, coaching, announcements, etc., and feedback will be provided on your calls that will come through email as well. Most agents will have what is called a “performance facilitator” who will be assigned to you, and will be responsible for listening to your calls and providing this feedback, as well as coaching and help with improving your performance, all based on criteria that is established and required by the client. This performance facilitator will also be someone you can reach out to with questions related to your performance.
If you do have a need for tech support for work related issues, Arise offers a tech support department, available 24/7 and you can either log in online for one-on-one assistance from a live technical support person, or you can call 24/7 as well.
Watch for the next article in this series, Pros and Cons for my personal pros and cons list regarding working with Arise.
*Editor’s Note: In the interest of disclosure, I do want to make it clear that while I am not currently working with any client with Arise, I am still affiliated with them, have an existing contract with them, and do work with and recruit agents who are serious about working, and are a good fit for this particularly business model. However, no compensation was provided for this review.