In Summary - Call Centre Operator
The Work - Call Centre Operator
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.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- 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.
- Contact businesses or private individuals by telephone to solicit sales for goods or services, or to request donations for charitable causes.
- Explain products or services and prices, and answer questions from customers.
- Obtain customer information such as name, address, and payment method, and enter orders into computers.
- Record names, addresses, purchases, and reactions of prospects contacted.
- Adjust sales scripts to better target the needs and interests of specific individuals.
- Obtain names and telephone numbers of potential customers from sources such as telephone directories, magazine reply cards, and lists purchased from other organizations.
- Answer telephone calls from potential customers who have been solicited through advertisements.
- Telephone or write letters to respond to correspondence from customers or to follow up initial sales contacts.
- Maintain records of contacts, accounts, and orders.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Selling or Influencing Others Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- 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.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Interests - Call Centre Operator
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
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.
Entry Requirements - Call Centre Operator
Pay & Salary - Call Centre Operator
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 18k - 65k
Customer Service Representative: 18 - 34
Customer Service Team Leader: 24 - 45
Customer Service Manager: 20 - 65
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.
Labour Market Updates - Call Centre Operator
Shortages in this occupation relate to those employed in call centres and are specific to those with language skills. There is evidence of churn in this occupation, with over 8,000 recent job hires in 2017.
National Skills Bulletin 2018