Telemarketing Goes Home

Some argue telemarketing is a tough job. But employees in this phone-calling profession now can get a full day’s work in without ever getting out of bed.

About 20 percent of all customer service call-center agents in the U.S. now take your phone orders, from their home — not from the company's office. This is a growing, cost-saving trend for large companies with call centers. Office Depot Inc. (ODP) closed 10 of 12 call centers this year and replaced nearly 1,000 full-time agents with home-based agents.

Click in the video box above for a complete report by FOX News' Phil Keating.

According to business leaders, customer response shows that this modern business model gets the job done. Tim Houlne, CEO of Working Solutions (search), has been in the business of matching clients to innovative call center platforms for over a dozen years.

"I think that reluctance to allow that lower wage employee to work from the home is gone, and we manage the results, not the people," Houlne said.

Some say this growing “homesourcing” trend – which costs more than the “offshoring” trend of a few years ago – means more profit for U.S. businesses in the long run. Many American customers say they prefer doing business with a made-in-the-USA voice on the other end of the line.

"What that may mean is that a lot of the jobs that would've gone overseas are going to change in nature, and stay in the U.S." said Professor Mike Davis at Southern Methodist University's (search) Cox School of Business.

Researchers predict that, over the next two years, one out of every 10 call centers will shift to virtual call centers — a whole new professional meaning to the term "house calls."