The call centre operator is becoming a but like the old office receptionist in that they are the first point of contact for 21st-century customers or business associates. You may deal with complaints, give out advice or deal with claims.
Who can I work for?
There are now hundreds upon hundreds of call centres in the UK, including the big boys such as Direct Line, First Direct, Barclaycard and TSB. If you are interested in working for a specific company, check their websites as they will have a section dedicated to job opportunities.
Where and when can I work?
In an office with several other call operators, working 40 hours a week in shifts. Unsociable hours will occur with 24-hour helplines.
What can I earn?
Typically £10K-£15K a year. Team leaders and/or supervisors can hope to earn up to £25K and call centre managers can earn more than £30K.
What are the benefits?
Several opportunities to work part-time to fit around family requirements. If you are a night owl, you might be able to get nights-only shifts that will guarantee you more money than you would normally get for anti-social hours.
Are there chances of promotion?
Yes. You could become a call centre supervisor and/or team leader or even a call centre manager, who is charged with taking responsibility for the entire operation.
What will I be responsible for?
- Recording technical faults.
- Providing callers with product advice.
- Receiving and logging customer complaints.
- Remaining calm, responsible and polite in the face of sometimes dissatisfied and/or abusive customers – many of whom might have been hanging on the telephone for lengthy spells through no fault of your own. It is even more important to keep calm because many calls will probably be monitored by management.
- Basic admin duties during periods of low call volumes, so you're never left twiddling your thumbs.
What qualifications do I need?
None usually. But a good set of GCSEs, especially English, can do you no harm. Colleges run a BTEC in Introduction to Contact Centres.
Do I need any experience?
Not really. A customer service history would be beneficial, but in-house training is provided, especially where further specialist qualifications may be needed when working on technical helplines.
What attributes are needed?
Resilience and patience… bags of patience. A friendly, easy-going personality, an easy-to-understand voice as free as possible of tension. Good computer skills. An ability to remain level headed and polite when dealing with abusive callers. An ordered mind. Plenty of stamina and the ability to work and concentrate for long periods.