By Canadajobs.com Staff
Working in a call centre might seem like an easy job at first glance. It's just about answering phones, right? Wrong. There are many different jobs in call centres. There are Customer Service Reps (CSRs), Technical Service Reps (TSRs), Supervisors, Managers, and Human Resources staff, and many others who work to ensure a call centre, the customer's first line of contact with a company, works as a well-oiled machine.
So what does it take to work in a call centre? Though for this article we'll focus on CSRs, many of these skills are critical in other call centre jobs too.
Ability To Work in a Fast-Paced Environment:
In a call centre, it's all about speed. If you are working in an inbound call centre (meaning call come in to your call centre, as opposed to CSRs making calls) the main focus is how fast can a rep answer a phone. How quickly can they solve a customer's issue? Call times and wait times are how a centre calculates its efficiency, and therefore, it's costs and profits. But call times and wait times aren't just important for the company, they are also important to the customer. That's why it's critical to be able to work under pressure.
Accuracy and Attention to Detail:
The customer is calling you because they have a problem. You must be able to answer their inquiry quickly and correctly so their faith and trust in your company is upheld. It's important to the company you work for that their customers aren't frustrated. These customers are the backbone of your company, and they need to have faith that their call is being handled professionally and correctly and that they will get the same correct answer if they call next time. Accurate consistency is critical. And for that, you need to be the type of person who can learn and retain information.
Ability to Learn New Skills:
Products and services change constantly. And though the basics will remain the same, you need to be on top of new things. The last thing a customer wants to do is be calling you for answers and you don't know what they're talking about. You also have to be willing to learn computer programs or software unique to your call centre. Call centres have a lot of processes and you must be able to learn how those work so you can work more efficiently, and better serve customers.
Learning new skills such as another language can also help your job prospects in a call centre. Many list the ability to speak a second language as an asset.
Ability to Deal with Difficult People:
More often than not, customers will call because they have a problem and they want you to fix it right away. If you cannot show empathy, and support them in their frustrations, they will get increasingly upset. You must be able to deal with difficult people and know how to handle and diffuse them. Consider taking a course on the subject. You'll learn how to improve your listening skills, and learn little tricks as simple as repeating back what you hear from your customer. This helps them feel listened to, understood, and in the end, it helps them feel better. The more ability you have in dealing with difficult people, the better you will feel also.
Though a call centre can be a great 9-5 job, most of them require you to work some shift work. And this or may not fit your schedule. When you decide to apply for a job at a call centre, make sure you know what you are able to do in terms of shift work. If you have dependents, you will need to make alternate care arrangements. Remember too that changing shifts can affect your sleep patterns and your activities outside work hours.
The nature of call centres can also mean that you can be called in at the last minute. You might also be sent home if there is not enough work. If this is a concern for you, ask how often this happens when you are considering a job in a call centre.
Working in a call centre as a CSR can be a satifying job. Often, opportunities to move up to a team leader or scheduler can be had with the work experience you gain starting at the bottom. If you have the right skills and the desire to improve them, a career as a CSR might well be worth investigating.