Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elaine McGarrigle from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Elaine McGarrigle

Mechanical Engineer

CRH plc

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  Elaine McGarrigle

The most important skill that a person in my position can have is communication.

One needs to be able to communicate effectively with people of all levels in order to do a days work. I think that this is the most important quality, to be able to fit in well with people, everyone from the operators to the senior management, one needs to be able to read them and how best to communicate with them.

An interest in basic engineering and in the heavy machine industry.

It is important to realise that working as a mechanical engineer in Irish Cement does not generally involve sitting at your desk all day. It involves alot of hands on, on-site work so a person needs to be prepared to get their hands dirty.

Another quality that is important is to be willing to learn. Even after a number of years in college, one needs to be eager to learn the ins and outs of a new environment; how cement is made, what equipment is involved, what generally goes wrong and how it is fixed.

Everyone will help and teach you but you need to open your mind and be prepared to take it all in.

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The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Occupation Details

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Call Centre Operator

Job Zone

Education
These occupations usually require a Leaving Certificate or equivalent.

Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a bank teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, retail salespersons and tellers.

€18k > 65
Customer Services Staff - Call Centre
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€18 - 65
Related Information:
Customer Service Representative: 18 - 34
Customer Service Team Leader: 24 - 45
Customer Service Manager: 20 - 65
Data Source(s):
Sigmar / Brightwater / CPL / Robert Walters / Abrivia

Last Updated: February, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Call centre operators may sell goods or services over the phone but can also advise customers about company products, conduct market research or deal with complaints.


Videos & Interviews header image

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The Work header image

Call centre operators use telephones and computers to help the customers of all kinds of organisations. The call centre operator talks to the customer to find out what is wanted and then sorts it out, for example, booking concert tickets or buying insurance.  
 
Some call centre operators work for large companies that have their own customer care centres. This is common in banking and insurance. In such cases, the call centre operator handles calls only about the products of the company they work for.  
 
However, most call centre operators work for call centre companies. These companies handle customer telephone calls for other organisations. The call centre operators are divided into teams, with each one handling the calls for a different client or group of clients.  
 
When telephone calls come through to the centre, the call centre operator has to find out what the callers want by listening to them and asking them questions (sometimes the operator has a set script to work with). If the call centre operator cannot sort out what the caller wants straight away they might have to pass the caller on to a more specialist operator. Some call centres take calls from all over Europe, so they have operators who can speak more than one language.  
 
Some call centre operators work on things like sales projects. In these cases, they have to call the customers and try to interest them in the product or service they are selling.  
 
Many call centres also deal with emails that their clients receive from customers. These may request information or complain about something.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Deliver prepared sales talks, reading from scripts that describe products or services, to persuade potential customers to purchase a product or service or to make a donation.

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Contact businesses or private individuals by telephone to solicit sales for goods or services, or to request donations for charitable causes.

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Explain products or services and prices, and answer questions from customers.

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Obtain customer information such as name, address, and payment method, and enter orders into computers.

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Record names, addresses, purchases, and reactions of prospects contacted.

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Adjust sales scripts to better target the needs and interests of specific individuals.

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Obtain names and telephone numbers of potential customers from sources such as telephone directories, magazine reply cards, and lists purchased from other organizations.

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Answer telephone calls from potential customers who have been solicited through advertisements.

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Telephone or write letters to respond to correspondence from customers or to follow up initial sales contacts.

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Maintain records of contacts, accounts, and orders.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Selling or Influencing Others: Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

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Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

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Communicating with Persons Outside Organization: Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others: Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

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Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

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Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Sales and Marketing: Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

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English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

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Telecommunications: Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.

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Communications and Media: Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

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Persuasion: Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

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Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

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Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

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Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

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Negotiation: Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

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Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

To be a call centre operator you'll need to be able to listen to people and to speak clearly - in other words, you should have a good telephone manner. You'll also need to be patient and clear thinking, as some people may not be exactly sure of what they want and others may be angry when they call.  
 
Every telephone caller is a customer and so it is vital that you are focussed on customer care and finding solutions. If you want to work in sales it will be useful to have an outgoing personality and not be put off by rejection.  
 
Most operators will need basic computer skills, for example, to find, input or manage customers' details on a database. Depending on where you work, you may also need some word processing or spreadsheet skills.  
 
You should be able to develop knowledge about the information, products or services provided by the organisation you work for. You should also know who to pass calls onto if you cannot resolve the customer's enquiry or complaint.  
 
You should be a good listener and have clear speech so that you can be easily understood.  
The work environment is generally a brightly lit office with a computer.


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Call Centre Operator - from: N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Sales, Retail & Purchasing

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