Working in a Call Center: What You Need to Know

Working in a Call Center: What You Need to Know

Everything You Need to Know About Working in a Call Center

Working in a call center can be both rewarding and challenging. Your role as a call center agent is imperative to the success of the business. The experience a customer has during their interaction with you can determine whether or not they continue to purchase from you. A pleasant experience can turn a single sale into a life-long customer. 

Working in a Call Center What You Need to Know

In this article we look at what working in a call center entails. We consider the pros and cons as well as how you can succeed in your career.

What is a Call Center?

Despite the wide range of communication channels available, the phone is still the most common way in which clients engage with companies to resolve problems. Many customers prefer to make a call and get immediate, personalized assistance rather than waiting for emails or online responses. Having phone support available should be a top priority for most businesses.

Call centers can be run internally by a company. This involves phone support managed by the company itself. The company employs its own full- or part-time call center agents dedicated entirely to phone and online customer support services. 

Alternatively, these functions can be outsourced to external call centers. External call centers may service the clientele of various companies as opposed to being dedicated solely to the calls of one specific business.

Call centers can handle both incoming and outgoing customer calls. They can be proactive or reactive. Call center agents use specific call center software to manage calls and keep track of cases. They also have specific policies in place to distribute inquiries and interact with customers internationally.   

What Does Working in a Call Center Entail?

Call center services include more than answering telephone calls. 

Working in a call center usually entails some, or all of the following:

  1. Assisting customers across communication channels

If you work as an in-house call center agent you may need to handle client interactions via email, live web chats, and social media.

  1. Call forwarding and taking messages

Redirecting phone calls quickly and correctly to the appropriate departments for customer assistance.

  1. Processing orders

Assisting customers with making online purchases, processing returns, upselling, cross-selling, and providing tracking and delivery information.

  1. Handling Complaints

You need to handle complaints tactfully and efficiently to keep customers happy and retain their business.

  1. Technical and Account Support

If you are a specialized agent you can offer technical support and helpdesk services. You will most likely assist customers with account inquiries including payments, account activation, re-activation, cancellation, and upgrades.

Being able to offer support in more than one language improves communication and the ability to connect with customers.

5 Essential Skills for Working in Call Center

As an agent interacting directly with customers, you determine the value of their customer experience. Possessing and developing the following five skills is essential in your success as a call center agent.

  1. Knowledge Retention

Customers do not like repeating themselves. It makes them feel that you are not listening to their concerns. A good customer service agent should interpret customer problems and understand them the first time around.

  1. Flexibility

When something goes wrong, call center agents are usually the first contact point. You need to be proactive, and ready to solve unexpected problems without notice.

  1. Attention to Detail

Paying close attention to customer needs and details improves customer experience. It makes the customer feel valued.

  1. Creativity

Solutions aren’t always clear or addressed in business protocols. You need to be able to come up with solutions and be a natural problem-solver.

  1. Organization

Some situations require continuous follow-ups after the first interaction. Being highly organized to manage open cases efficiently is imperative to your success as a call center agent, especially during times of high volume calls.

The Pros and Cons of Working as a Call Center Agent

Working in a call center can be demanding, but also very rewarding.

Indian girl Working in a call center

Pros of Working in a Call Center

  1. Learning a range of transferable skills

Call centers jobs require a range of skills. Employers know that to excel in customer service only the best will do. Call center agents are often trained in various areas including product training, customer service, program, and computer skills. Regardless of what your next career step entails, call center skills development will count in your favor.

  1. Communication skills

Call center agents develop excellent communication skills including a range of communication styles, listening skills, and asking the right questions to get to the root of the problem. Good communication skills are invaluable in any workplace, and in life.

  1. Benefits and compensation

For a job that offers you the option of working from home and doesn’t require a formal degree, call center agents can earn a good income.

  1. Promotions

Call centers are known for quick promotions. If you are good at what you do, you are likely to be promoted faster than in most other jobs.

Cons of Working in a Call Center

  1. Unpredictable hours

Working for a call center that services a global customer base means you might have to be available evenings and weekends to accommodate different time zones. The hours can be long with continuous customer interaction.

  1. High turnover

Most call centers experience a high employee turnover. This requires you to be open to change and be flexible when working in a fast-changing environment.

  1. Sedentary environment

Many call centers work on eight or nine-hour shifts where you will spend most of your time on the phone. This may depend on the company policy, state laws, and location.

Working in a call center duties

As with all jobs, call center agent careers involve ups and downs. Understanding your responsibilities and realizing the impact you have on the business overall success in keeping customers happy can lead to great fulfillment.

Quick Summary

As a customer-facing employee, your role as a call center customer service agent is imperative to the success of the business. You represent the brand and are the first point of call to many customers.

Your responsibilities as a call center agent may include:

  • Assisting Customers Across Communication Channels
  • Call Forwarding and Taking Messages
  • Processing Orders
  • Handling Complaints
  • Technical and Account Support

Skills essential to your success as a call center agent are:

  • Knowledge Retention
  • Flexibility
  • Attention to Detail
  • Creativity
  • Organization

The role that call center agents play in the success of a business is often overlooked. The interaction customers have with you may determine their view of the business as well as whether they will continue purchasing from you in the long-run.

Other Resources:

CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.

To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:

How to Succeed in a Customer Facing Role
Effective Strategies for Managing Escalations in Customer Service
How to Succeed at Internal Customer Service
Customer Service Tools: Finding the Best Customer Database Software for Your Team

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