Your Guide to Becoming a Call Center Representative

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Companies employ a call center for a variety of reasons. Some businesses outsource their customer service division to free up their staff members, so they can focus on improving productivity rather than fielding calls. Others hire call center vendors to generate leads and sales — both of which can help a growing business flourish while its full-time workers are busy with the day-to-day operations.

If you like talking to people and helping solve their problems, a job as a call center representative may be right up your alley.

Why Work at a Call Center?

Some call center companies accept applicants with no work experience, so long as they have the skills and qualities needed to succeed as a customer service representative. Photo by Axle Adamos on Unsplash

Although being a call center agent can be demanding and stressful, the job comes with multiple benefits.

Here are some reasons to consider a customer service role for your first job (or next job if you plan to shift careers):

Minimal to Zero Work Experience Required

If you’re fresh out of college or have just left your job and need a new source of income, call centers are a fantastic place to work. Some companies don’t require you to have relevant work experience. If you can handle your responsibilities well and are a team player, you’ll thrive in this environment and be eligible for a promotion sooner than you think.

No Take-Home Work

Some professions, such as accountants and teachers, may require you to bring home work at the end of a shift.

This isn’t the case with a call center company that gives you a defined schedule. Once you’ve successfully logged out of the system, you’re done for the day. You can then devote your free time to other important matters, such as taking self-improvement courses.

Solid Compensation Package

Some professions provide a set salary and no additional incentives. This isn’t the case with many call centers. These companies offer good base pay, performance bonuses and additional employee benefits, such as profit sharing and health insurance. If the company requires its agents to work the graveyard shift or during the holidays, employees will enjoy earning extra pay on top of their salary.

Awesome Perks

Many call center businesses have big companies as their clients. Given this, they often treat their customer service representatives well by providing exciting office perks, such as free coffee and snacks, game or entertainment rooms, an in-house fitness center and a meditation area.

Never a Dull Day

A report from HR Dive revealed that boredom is a top reason for leaving the company. A customer service role is one of the best jobs out there, as this role is never boring. Working as a call center agent is no different. You’ll never know the next person calling on the phone, making every conversation unique.

Opportunities for Skills Development

Many call center companies train new customer care representatives as part of their employee onboarding process. This is an excellent opportunity to improve your communication, active listening and conceptual skills. All of these are transferable skills that you can apply to any job down the road.

Opportunities for Career Advancement

The role of a customer care representative is not a dead-end job. If you work hard to improve your skills and serve your customers, you could get a raise or a well-deserved promotion.

Here are some career paths that a call center professional can pursue:

Quality Assurance Manager

The primary job responsibility of a quality assurance manager is to make sure that call center agents deliver the best possible customer experience and follow a set of quality standards. These standards can include problem solving, tone, call greetings and empathy.

Depending on the structure of the call center company, these managers may be responsible for working with team leads, leading calibration sessions, assessing the performance of customer service representatives and iterating on quality standards.

Product Support Specialist

The company considers these specialists as subject matter experts on a product provided by a business. Individuals working in this role know the ins and outs of a particular item for sale. As a result, they can serve as an educational resource person on product functionality, troubleshoot problems and answer the more complicated questions of customers.

Customer Implementation Manager

Implementation management might be a job for call center professionals interested in the business-to-business (B2B) technology space.

Just like a product support specialist, a customer implementation manager will serve as a subject matter expert on a company’s specific product. Rather than troubleshoot problems, however, the manager will help customers adopt and implement the company product in their organization.

The Job Responsibilities of a Call Center Representative

A call center agent provides accurate and satisfactory answers to customer inquiries and concerns. Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

The job of a call center agent isn’t as simple as picking up the phone and talking to people. A customer service representative carries out tasks that provide customers with the assistance and information they need.

Some of the specific responsibilities that come with this role are the following:

  • Offer satisfactory and accurate answers to customer concerns and queries over the phone
  • Assist the company with training new employees and inform them about the organization’s customer management policies
  • Defuse irate customers by offering the necessary support and assistance
  • Call customers or clients to inform them about a company’s new policies, products or services
  • Review client or customer accounts, providing details and updates about warranties, shipping, billing and other account items
  • Walk the customers through a technical troubleshooting process

Tips on Successfully Getting a Job at a Call Center

One of the common interview questions asked by call center companies is, “How do you define quality customer service?” Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

As an aspiring customer service representative, you will be working in a challenging environment. You’ll also be competing with other ambitious individuals who want the same call center job.

If you want to set yourself apart from the pack and increase your chances of getting hired, take note of these tips:

Practice Patience

Customer care agents face tough circumstances every working day. When a customer throws a problem scenario in front of you, you’ll need to be patient, calm and in control. Managing these tough situations confidently under pressure will help you land that call center job.

Have the Right Set of Skills

Employers look for certain call center skills when hiring candidates.

A few abilities that a customer service agent job candidate should exhibit are the following:

Effective Communication

Excellent communication isn’t just limited to talking clearly to the caller. It also involves listening to the customer’s concerns, digesting and restating the information and conveying a solution effectively and quickly. Effective communication can positively impact the quality of service you’re offering to the customer.

Organizational Skills

Call center agents have to work in a dynamic and fast-paced environment. The right job candidate, therefore, must have great organizational skills.

Customer service representatives should be able to juggle multiple tasks at once, including attending to the caller’s needs, taking notes using the company software, updating the customer account and checking the knowledge base. Staying organized will help employees minimize errors in their process, allow them to address customer concerns more effectively and complete after call work efficiently.

Knowledge Retention

The goal of a call center agent is to deliver high-quality support to customers. Agents can achieve this by learning and memorizing vital information about a company and its products or services. By the time they’re on the production floor, they should know the ins and outs of all the business products and fully understand the brand’s philosophy.

Ace the Call Center Job Interview

Impactful responses in your job interview will help you land that customer service representative job you want. Before your interview, make sure that you have the answers to common interview questions.

A few questions that you should anticipate in the interview process are the following:

What do you think a call center company is like?

The key to answering this question is to stay positive. Rather than tell the interviewer that the job entails taking calls all day, you should describe a call center as an environment of stellar customer service with agents who are extremely helpful, courteous, cheerful and flexible.

What is quality customer service?

Your response should exhibit your experience with putting the needs of customers first, resolving conflict quickly and treating them with respect. If you don’t have customer service experience, don’t fret. You can respond to this question in terms of how you’d like a call center agent to treat you when you ring the service hotline.

Where do you see yourself in three or five years?

This question is a way for call center companies to determine if they see the job as a mere stepping stone. A company won’t hire you if you have plans to move on quickly — or worse, have no career plans at all). So tell the interviewer of your plans to growing with the company and getting promoted to higher positions, such as a product support specialist and a quality assurance manager.

The role of a call center agent may not be everyone’s dream job, but the benefits are hard to pass up. When you hear about an opening for customer service representatives in your area, don’t close the door on this opportunity just yet. If you’re changing careers or aren’t sure where to go next, give this job a shot.

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