Anyone hiring a live chat agent is faced with a wide variety of sources offering a diverse range of staff and services. The type of site or agency you use to provide customer service agents depends on the type and size of your company, the type of products you offer, and the types of enquiries you expect to receive. With so many agents working remotely, people who wish to hire often have the entire global pool of candidates to choose from.
It is vital to acquire agents who are fully qualified for the job in question, so regardless of how or where they were recruited, an initial test would be most advisable before any employment contract is started. If there is no restriction on geographical location, pay rates start from around $3 per hour for basic tier 1 support service that does not require any skills beyond answering routine questions from customers about everyday problems. Rates for agents with specialist technical knowledge will depend on the exact qualifications required.
Hubstaff is an American agency that connects companies with remote workers and provides proof of work, time-tracking and payroll management. As a recruiting platform it caters solely to remote jobs where candidates are hired as independent contractors. It offers customer support staff at every level, with a wide range of specialist skills. Posting a job on Hubstaff is free. The basic hiring package is free, and provides time tracking, monitoring of activity levels, limited screenshots and reports, and a basic payment system. There are upgraded packages at $7 and $10 per month which provide extras such as 24 hour support and expense tracking.
Upwork has a wide range of customer support agents to choose from all over the world. Hiring somebody is free of charge. The fees are paid by the freelancer: 20% of the first $500 earned from a client, 10% of earnings from $1,000 to $10,000, and 5% of all earnings thereafter. Although the quality of freelancers varies greatly, Upwork does have a good system of rating its members by their work history and reviews by clients. It also has a rigorous membership acceptance system, whereby freelancers must show proof of identity and can only ever open one account on the site. An efficient time tracking system is provided, including screenshots.
With around 800m members, LinkedIn is the largest professional network. Over 30 percent of all employed adults are LinkedIn users. It has various levels of membership for those wishing to hire, including a free version which is sufficient for low level recruitment. It offers a wide range of options for potential employers, using the social media model to optimize networking and connecting companies and potential recruits. It is particularly effective for referral recruiting, i.e. hiring people recommended by current employees. This is shown to be a faster and more effective way of hiring, resulting in less employee turnover. LinkedIn also offers employers the chance to boost their own brand by creating company pages.
Indeed is a global platform which aggregates job listings from thousands of websites, including those of recruiting firms, job boards and company career pages. In terms of numbers, it’s the best site, with over 250 users per month and 10 new jobs added per second. The basic service is free, whereby the advertised job moves down the list as new ones are posted. Starting at around $5 per day (chargeable only when someone engages with the job post), premium job listings are assured better visibility. They also give access to candidates through desktop and mobile devices and notify them using Indeed job alerts. In addition, premium listings match recruiters with the best candidates and allow them to invite them to view the job posts.
Monster is another mega-platform, with 30 résumés uploaded and 8000 job searches carried out every minute. Founded in 1994, it’s one of the longest established agencies connecting employers with job seekers. Fixed-price subscriptions range from $279 (one job post, 50 résumé views) to $749 per month (five job posts, 250 résumé views). For higher numbers of job posts and résumé searches, it’s necessary to contact Monster for customized posting packages. Although users have noted the problems of poor customer service and alerts for expired jobs, the sheer number of potential candidates makes it attractive to recruiters.
This platform was set up in 2007 to cater to the need for a high quality service in connecting employers with remote workers. At first sight, FlexJobs might seem expensive. It charges $399 a month and $2,999 a year. However, all candidates are individually vetted, a rare thing in the world of industrial-scale job listings. Also, membership allows unlimited job posts and résumé searches. Job seekers also pay a fee to join, so there’s a better chance of finding serious and committed people to recruit than elsewhere. Being funded entirely by users’ subscriptions and with all its material vetted, FlexJobs can offer a hiring experience that’s free from ads, spam and scams.
Founded in 1998, guru.com is one of the longest established platforms for hiring freelancers for commissioned work. It claims a global total of 800,000 employers on its site, with over $1m paid invoices to date. Recruitment is free of charge to employers. A handling fee of 2.9% is charged for each invoice. This is refunded if you use eCheck or wire transfer. An effective and transparent system of rating, feedback and transaction history allows easy assessment of potential hires.
The UK-based platform peopleperhour.com is popular among startups and small companies who prefer freelancers to in-house customer service staff. It has a user-friendly system of freelancer profiles allowing prospective recruiters to see their work record, number of jobs done, response time, and ratings on the site. It also offers a money-back guarantee and fraud protection to clients. As with all such sites, the quality and experience of freelancers vary, but the rating and job history help to find the best value for money.
This site has the advantage of specializing in customer service jobs. A job listed on customerservicecrossing.com is instantly posted on over 500 job sites. This interface also allows recruiters to post their jobs on other paid sites such as CareerBuilder, without having to create separate accounts for each site. All payments can be made through CustomerServiceCrossing. Thousands of résumés can be accessed by industry, experience, qualifications and job functions. Multiple user access makes teamwork easy. You can edit your user account to include co-workers and hiring partners, controlling what information is accessible to their user accounts.
ZipRecruiter is a site where the job you post will be sent to over 100 other job boards, including Google, Facebook, CareerJet and Job.com. Over 1.5m businesses and 430m job seekers have used the platform, as of 2018. There is a wide variety of subscription options available, starting at $299 a month. The pricing here is subject to frequent change. It depends on number, duration and frequency of posts, as well as the number of résumé views you wish to have. Pricing also varies by region, with charges depending on the volume of local demand.
Using job websites to best effect
Although the choice of platforms and agencies to hire from is broad and diverse, it won’t guarantee a good match for the job on offer without a proactive attitude on the part of the recruiter. Wherever you find your agents, it is vital to include some kind of test as part of the hiring process. The volume of traffic and spam on hiring platforms is such that you can never be sure of a candidate’s ability to do the job until they are tested in a scenario that exactly matches the job in question. Hiring agents remotely as independent contractors makes this easy. A paid test is well worth the expense. Combining judicious use of the available platforms with rigorous vetting of potential candidates will assure you an efficient and reliable customer service team.