Call Centre & Customer Service
Call Centre Operator
Call centre operators answer customer enquiries about products and services or promote an organisation's goods and services.
Senior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does a Call Centre Operator do?
Call centre operators, also called contact centre operators, answer customer enquiries about products and services (called inbound) or promote an organisation's goods and services through various channels, including telephone, SMS and email (outbound).
As a call centre operator, you could work in a wide range of sectors, and your duties would depend on where you work. For example:
- mail order companies – dealing with customer orders, credit and debit card payments, enquiries and complaints
- financial institutions – advising about products and services, telesales and market research
- IT helplines – support for customers to try and help them fix computer problems
- advisory services – offering callers services such as counselling, welfare and benefits advice, legal information or help with careers.
You would usually access and update customers' records on computer databases. With experience, you may gain extra duties such as mentoring new staff, training, call monitoring and quality control.
Key skills and interests
To become a call centre operator, you would need:
- excellent customer care skills
- a clear and friendly telephone voice
- good computer skills
- excellent communication skills
- good teamwork skills and the ability to work unsupervised
- the ability to work quickly and under pressure.
Working hours and conditions
You would often have a choice of full-time or part-time hours. Many companies offer flexible working, sometimes on a shift system. Full-time jobs are normally 35 to 40 hours a week.
You would spend most of your time at a computer wearing a telephone headset. At some call centres you may not have a permanent desk but would take the first available one when you start your shift.
This is a high turnover occupation as people often work in call centres to supplement other income, or for example, while they are studying.
How to become an Call Centre Operator?
Entry Level Education
You can work as a contact centre operator without formal qualifications. You would receive some training on the job. Your employment prospects may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in customer contact.
Some companies may also offer traineeships in this area.
You may need to have qualifications in the relevant field in order to work in a specialist contact centre (in nursing or information technology, for example).
Employment of call centre operators is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Overall employment growth should result from growing industries that specialise in handling customer service. Call centres are increasingly handling more customer service and sales functions, making them a cheaper business option for some sectors than organisations employing the staff themselves.
However, some companies are increasingly using offshore call centres, or online self-service or interactive voice-response systems that enable customers to resolve simple problems, such as updating contact details or reviewing account billing, without speaking to a call centre operator.