How to Survive Working at a Call Center
Call Center Job
You may be working at a call center or thinking of getting a job at one. Why, there are many call centers around the nation and it's easy to get employed, without any education! Big call centers hire all the time. So how to survive at that job and what to expect? Read the hub.
The reason call centers exist is because there are customers who have a question, a problem. So you deal with problems and your job is to resolve them in a timely manner utilizing resources and your own analysis of the situation. That's all. This understanding will make it easier for you to approach the call center specifics. So expect people to complain, not understand the simplest things and sometimes be very angry at you. If you have patience, discipline and naturally good spirit, you will succeed.
Below I compiled the pro et contra of working at a call center.
1. It's an easy job. You just answer the phone in a nice tone and use a simple computer program. It's all about how quickly you navigate between screens and departments to get the information needed. Anyone off the street can do it, no education required.
2. You sit in a cubicle in a nice warm building (a lot of call centers are located in skysrapers with breathtaking vistas). And you have your own little space. So unlike other no-experience jobs like McDonalds and Wal-Mart, you don't have be on your feet moving boring boxes and moping the floor.
3. You can work overtime if you want: more money in your pocket. And sometimes you would get VTO (voluntary time-off) that occurs when call volume is too low and you are asked if you want to go home. Most workers die to hear that magical abbreviation, mind you.
4. When you're done with calls, your working day is over, there's nothing else left to do. Go straight to wherever you need! That means you have a lot of time on your hands outside your work. Combine it with your college, or write a book in leisure time. I, myself, went to stores, bars, movies and the beach. An evening shift meant I could come to work at 2 pm! A lot of college kids work at call centers. But if you're retired and want extra money, it's also a good option.
5. It's not all just taking calls. There are trainings, team meetings, joint lunches and - most importantly - new friendships. With 200-600 people working together, you surely would get a bunch of great friends.
6. You have a unique chance to talk to thousands of your compatriots and help them. Different characters, voices, tempers, situations... It also builds up your character. You can a write a book out of it, on a par with 'Coffee, Tea, or Me?', why not.
7. Although you have to vigorously follow the rules and policies, keep it as a game, a game of characters and you are the winner when you'll find a resolution that will leave both your customer and your company happy! There's a different approach summarized by the following quote: "You really work for your manager first and foremost, not for your customer..." I think there's some truth to it and in the end the results should be the same.
1. You deal with approximately ten thousand people per year over the phone. That's quite a number, isn't it? Because people call with questions, they might be already frustrated and they will be a challenge. Some cutomers will ruin your day. So the main theme of this passage is this: this job is very stressful. On the other hand it depends on your own character. If you have a good patience and a genuine desire to help, you should not be overstressed.
2. If you are a customer service representative at a call center, you are the last piece of the machinery, that is, you'll feel all the pressure from everybody, customers, supervisors, high management, HR. Some supervisors may be a pain in the ass; they would constantly monitor what you are doing and won't hesitate to fire you. But there are also devil-may-care supervisors who could be really fun to be around. One tip: don't argue with your supervisor. It's easier to get you fired, than anyone in the management. If it's a matter of opinion, keep it to yourself. If it's an ethic issue, address it to HR. Again, if you perofrm your work diligently, you should not worry.
3. And yet more stress: besides handling customers' issues, you also have to meet various goals, set by the management, that dilligently monitores your stats on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Some goals seem so unrealistic that you feel hopeless. You have to resolve a customer's call within a certain time period (from 6 to 10 minutes); you are not allowed to transfer customers to different departments without a solid reason; you are not allowed to put customers on hold, etc. For all these failures you get penalized and have a stressful talk with your supervisor.
4. As with any place with a great number of employees, you may be a subject of rumors and slander. You would be judged by others how you talk on the phone with customers, how you dress, how you smell, what you eat at the break room, who you hang out with... You may be fooling around in company of your new friends but you'll never know who also may hear your jokes. Be careful what you say, especially when it comes to your or someone else's personal life.
5. Last but not the least: the pay. Of course, it's not high! But not a minimum wage either that you get at retail stores and fast food places. Call centers invest a lot of money and time to train people, so despite the high turnover, they try to be competitive and keep their employees.
If you have any questions about how call centers work, ask me.