Call centre operators, also known as contact centre operators, normally work in the customer services department of an organisation maintaining regular or continual contact with customers by telephone, email, SMS messaging, fax and post, either to sell goods or services, or provide information and advice. Much of the work includes accessing and updating customers' records via a computer database.
Organisations employing operators include mail order companies, financial companies, IT helplines and advisory services.
Depending on the company, the work may involve dealing with customer orders for goods, credit and debit card payments, dealing with enquiries and complaints, or giving advice about products and services. The role may include telesales to generate leads, direct selling or conducting market research for clients.
Some call centre operators may have additional duties, such as mentoring, training, call monitoring and quality control.
Call centre operators work full- and part-time, with more and more companies offering flexible working patterns. Full-time posts are normally 35 to 40 hours a week. Some companies operate shift systems.
Operators work with a computer terminal and use a telephone headset to keep hands free to input information into the computer.
The job is normally based in an open-plan office, with the operator seated within a team on a bank of sectioned-off desks. In some call centres, operators have no permanent desk but work at the first available computer (hot-desking).
As a call centre operator, you should:
Opportunities are excellent, as there are currently around 10,500 call centres in the UK employing over 800,000 people. This number is rising due to the rapid growth of telecommunications technology.
With experience and training it may be possible to progress to supervisory roles, then into management. Other prospects include working in human resources, resource planning, marketing and training.
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