Been there, done that too…! So before you think about waiting for that graduate scheme, taking that job down the local pub or working for minimum wage in a shop, you may want to consider work in a call centre. Every person will have their own idea of what working in a call centre is like, whether they have worked in one or not. Of course, most of those opinions will be based on horror stories passed on from friends of friends; tall tales of disgruntled customers and unachievable selling targets. So, what is it actually like to work in a contact centre, stripped of all the exaggeration and rumour?
What it really comes down to is communication. Talking to people from every economic background and walk of life. Brendan, who works in a council housing department in Norwich, feels that his job is all about helping people. People start phone calls angry and frustrated, and finish them calm and happy. What many people forget when thinking about contact centres is that all the job boils down to is two people talking to each other on the phone.
Thanks to the great support network in the call centre I work in, I was able to stay on the phone to her and organise for a social worker to pay her a visit that afternoon. Freya, a student from Exeter, works on the Dell helpdesk and sees her shifts as a day filled with technical and organisational challenges. Freya believes that it is this that keeps most of her colleagues happy in their jobs.
Whilst working in her role, Freya has developed skills in communication, problem solving, organisation, and customer facing, all of which are vital to higher-paid jobs. So, it seems that although the majority may consider call centre workers to be shells of people slowly being worn down by torrents of verbal abuse, they do, in fact, like their jobs. Of course, not every day can be perfect, and some people may not fully appreciate the help they are being given.
That is the price of communicating with people. But, for every hostile caller there will be many more that are grateful. Far from being solely target driven, the employees I have spoken to find that the goals they are given are a great way to help them push themselves to do better and, unlike other jobs, personal improvement in a contact centre gets rewarded with generous benefits.
Next time a contact centre worker expresses to you how good their day was, maybe you should believe them.
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After all, their roles are varied and challenging, and they actually get to directly help people. How many of us can say that about our jobs? Every contact centre is different, as if you work for a charity handling inbound calls, life is going to be very much different from that of an outbound telesales agent. Here are some of the things that you will need to know. Each of these six components has a direct link to the others, meaning that if one fails it has a direct impact on the other five, significantly damaging the company behind the contact centre. For more information of these fundamentals, visit our page: Key Components of a Call Centre Operation.
When it comes to queue time, call resolution and agent behaviour, every contact centre has its own set of targets to improve the customer experience. This highlights how money is restricted in the industry and is causing contact centres to make the most out of limited staff numbers. This equates to a strong focus on productivity. The central element of any customer service call is rapport, as this will help to sell, when working for a telesales company, and build the customer experience, if otherwise.
In addition to this, agents should expect there to be a focus on empathy, as this is what will help to establish a connection with the person you are talking to. Customer service interview questions will mostly resolve around the same topics, in order to test communication, listening and motivational skills. So, potential agents should expect to be working alongside people of the same ilk, usually extroverts, who are good at controlling a conversation. After all, this is the kind of person that the interview process will be designed to find.
Great post! I was just bemoaning the fact that the blogosphere and twitterverse is overpopulated with angry and disgruntled CSRs who rant, while my experience is that most CSRs are pros who actually enjoy what they do. Reading this makes me slightly happier, knowing there are people that do enjoy working in a call centre. But coming from a small call centre 3 staff….. It kinda sucks! I think these articles were written by managers of call centres. This work model does not work for anyone. Call centres do not encourage thinking.
Call centres are ruled by absurd measures that do relate to good client care. Natasha, Just one comment. The articals were written from interviews with staff, not as a PR exercise by any centre. Starting out on the phones, and, am now on the forecasting and planning and reporting side. Where I am currently we have an average length of service of over seven years. Interesting articles and comments. Right now our focus is on engaging more with the customer and providing a quality service. This was done to give them as long as they need to deal with each customer enquiry in order to increase customer satisfaction and eliminate needless repeat contacts.
I walk at a call centre, we call for charities, to fund raise for them. I love the hours too because I start at 3 and finish at so it means I can sleep in. It takes a special kind of person to enjoy the work of a typical call center. You have to enjoy being treated like a child, abused, belittled, managed like a robot, and always counseled as to what you are doing wrong versus what you are doing right.
I have worked in call centers off and on for years and I am now ready to put it all behind me. What is described in these stories is the exception rather than the norm. You are groomed and trained to accept settling for less. The pay and benefits can be good, but the stress can be damaging to your health and your relationships. The motivational activities at many call centers remind me of being in elementary school.
People are rewarded with little tokens of fake appreciation. Call centers are famous for encouraging kudos among its employees. If you get a kudos, you should feel special. You are just another cog in the wheel, expected to not complain and enjoy your restroom breaks being micromanaged. Some call centers give more flexibility, but many do not because of contractual obligations to satisfy service levels and meet metrics-related goals.
The nice caller exists but more often than not, you get a frustrated, demanding, entitled caller. There is room for advancement and growth, but like many places of business, it often depends more on who you know and who is kissing whose behind rather than the skills you can bring to a position. You can get promoted after years and years of being on the phones, but by then you are just another call center drone. You will have to work hard, be focused and up to date on company policies, special offers and more.
Though if you are looking for work, with no or few qualifications and the best you can get is a minimum wage job? I did this just fine. Call-centres seem to hate their reputation of having a high staff turn-over but does this not tell them something about their working environments? My experience involved inbound calls and basically repeating myself anywhere between times a day while constantly being reminded of my targets. This you might think is acceptable as we all work in jobs with certain pressures and I agree, however my targets were actually detrimental to the experience of the customer calling me.
Call-handling time for example — they wanted me to only have the customer on the phone for a certain time. But when the customer is calling me and wants to talk through their query, concern or sale why should I be punished for how long that call takes? However I was punished for not meeting the wrap target even though I was actually doing one of the most important parts of my job?
This was simply because I was not available to take a call which I was then under pressure to finish asap. The complete madness of the working environment I was in seems funny now but at the time all I wanted to do was to throw my headset down and walk out. I hope now I have put call-centre work behind me for good. I mean how many people have had experiences like me where they work for a delivery service or an isp as outsourced call centre work where you are only allowed to put genuine and backed by the companies own Data tickets in for reimbursement and the company rejects then without reason.
If you work for an ethical company that gives you the discretion to return peoples money when its being taken in error then yes it might be satisfying. But that is like saying living in an autocratic dictatorship would be better that a modern democracy if the leader was both extremely competent and well-meaning. Its obvious. They are given randomized shift patterns. Most people getting fed into contact centre work are working in high turnover centres. If you find your way into the system as your first job with little or no experience you will be taking the place of someone that quit or was fired because of angry and completely correct in most cases customers getting to them or not taking voluntary overtime..
It all depends where you work and who you are working for…. One place i worked even had you go and tell your leader if you had to use the bathroom and god forbid you spent more than 4 minutes doing that…. These types of call centres are great and offer good work life balance and good incetives to do well.
After reading these posts, I have come to the conclusion that it solely depends on the type of call center that one works in that will determine how much you enjoy your job. Is it my dream job? Does it pay the bills and help me provide for my family? We also are a small call center, so I can see how working for a larger corporation could be more restricting on lunch break, restroom breaks, etc. Overall, I feel that working here has helped me deal with difficult people and difficult situations.
Due to this experience, I really do feel like I now can handle stressful situations with ease. Saying all this, after this job comes to a close, would I like to work in a call center again? Probably not. I only say this because it is mentally draining and at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is get back on a phone, even with a friend. I work in a call center and call to different medical facilities to gain medical records for patients we are representing.
If you have the right attitude, you can get far in the company. I was brought on through a temp agency without any degree and was able to apply permanently to a job after I met so many hours and proved I could do a good job. So far for me, it has been rewarding in a personal and financial way. Watch the account you work for. If you fail a survey, even though you could not do more due to policy, too bad for you. You had to suck it up and take the hit.
The Insanity of Mind While Hunting for a New Job – The Ascent
Customers are free to fail you on surveys for insane reasons, some of us had failed surveys even after we fixed the customer issue!! We had to have an 8 minute call time average or less, or we were eventually let go. Then you blew adherence if you took your break late due to a long call. Check what account you are working for, some have been known to enforce unrealistic goals, not noticing that you may have failed due to reasons not all in your control. Oh, and I forgot to mention, they are now writing people up for not getting enough upgrades.. Whatever happened to just letting us resolve the customer problem without there being a penalty, and oh, they wanted FCR—first call resolution too.
How do you get that to happen in 8 minutes? Many times you have to help them with something else, after you do the required script asking them if there was anything more.. Thing were better for the working folks back then, and it is what it is. I am going for a call centre job tomrrow it is small center what I can tell. I am working in call center, so i am asking one thing , I am completing Tybsc after that i am working in call center , so my filed is Software , so change my profession.
I just started working for a company called Fiserv. I am an inbound call associate for the Bank of America department. My job specialization is in the bill pay department, and I love my job so far. Just like everyone else has been saying, they do expect service standards, such as average handle time, first call resolution, etc. But they have put my through five weeks of training, and I am almost finished with that. They truly care about their employees and definitely are there to help when we are having trouble.
Pay wise, its great. As an entry level employee, I am making almost double minimum wage. I worked in a call centre, ringing up people trying to get donations for various UK-based charities. I am working in a call center for almost 2 years. It is the mist dreadful and self destructing job anyone can undertake. I understand some environments have incentives and fun and enjoyable activities, but fat the end of the day you are still answering phone calls from people who are complaining, shouting, and generally rude.
Unless you have no life, and this is your only chance to work in an office environment, then you might be a manager or team leader in as little as 2 years or some times more. My coworkers are great but the work sucks. Trying to get people to give to charity, and getting outright hostility to the extent that I wonder why these charities even bother?
Some of the managers are OK but the rest are not, and the level of incompetence in the upper strata is hysterically bad. Working for a typical call center is horrible and very demeaning. The lawless ones have that messed up call ID you see on your phone. They yell at you, they trick you etc.
They are they horrible kind. The real ones are respectful, nice, and kind and listen to you.
At work, they are monitoried constantly by their boss and the client. They have strict rules and regulations. They can get fired for many reasons like not getting sales quota. The minutes used when they use the bathroom are recorded. They are discouraged from using the bathroom and sometimes get in trouble for it. The minutes they use are recorded when they go for break they have to use a computer to record this.
On top of this they have to deal with the disgusting and horrible way they are treated. These people are made fun of and mocked and threathened and hurt constantly on the job by the person on the other end of the phone. At the time it is true it was a regulation where I worked.
Sad for another human being to do this in front of his kids huh? Imagine you take pride in your work and do a good job but you are held back because of the ways other people treat you? What would you do if your were not sure if you would have a job the next day because of the way people treat you on the job?
Lets not forget other types of phone workers like charity workers and survey workers. Chairity workers are just trying to do a good deed in life. Survey workers just try to get opinions to make prooducts and services better.
Another thing to think about is this….. I went to a garage and the people treated me badly. So now I treat every garage worker in the world badly. Does that make sense? Maybe similar to a stereotype. A phone is a device that is you use to make and receive calls. You call someone to install it for these reasons.
- Job Opportunities | UCF Office of Research & Commercialization;
- AgDevCo - Careers;
- Les délires dun Romantique. (French Edition)?
- Misery Bay (Alex McKnight Book 8).
Yet people get upset when they are called. You can turn the ringer down, even turn it off. When I eat or sleep I turn the ringer button off, it takes 2 seconds. I have call ID so I see who has called and can call them back. Voice mail and answering machines allow others to leave messages. So there is no need for anger or fear or rage at all. People take phone jobs for different reasons. Some are retired and need extra income. Some people are sick. Some people are unemployed and want the dignity of at least having a job vs no job while they look.
Some are students. Many reasons. Remember we all have loved ones. We have grandparents, kids, neices, sisters, brothers, fathers mothers. These are the kinds of people who take these phone jobs. How would you like it if you someone threathened your loved one, your grandfather for example? Imagine if your parents were made fun of and degraded. How would you feel and what would you do? When you make fun of a phone worker you are hurting these kind of people. I am just about to start in a call centre.
I think that it must be easier to deal with just a voice that is being insulting rather than colleagues doing it to you face to face…At least on the phone you can say thank you and hang up. I completely agree with this article. I have been with a fantasic company for almost 6 years. And yes, we have pool tables, a huge selection of big screen TVs with all different types of gaming systems.
We have old school arcade games in the break room etc. So that is just an extra perk. Yes, the job itself can be taxing at times, but I work in an office where if I need to make a choice to help my customer, I have the freedom to do so, in the way I see fit. I have hard targets, and they can be hard to maintain, but I see them as goals. There is plenty of help if you are having a hard time hitting one. I can take control of what I make for money, and have made excellent lasting friendships. Maybe where I work is different, in fact I know it is.
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This is the 3rd call center I have worked at. However the ones I was at before, were not hell on earth. I admit, when I started here, no way would I have believed I would still be with the company because I were certainly destined for bigger and brighter things. But, things change. In the end, it is money that makes my world run. And I have found something I am very good at, and have the satisfaction of knowing when a customer is off the phone with me, I know I have made their lives easier.
I like your example of Gabrielle. Plus the technical knowledge she is able to gain, and the opportunity to practice her language is invaluable. What about night shifts dear? Call centers give you conrinuous nightshifts for months. There are no human rights to sleep or relax between calls. Revenge of western corporates on hapless youngsters.
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