Becoming a Call Centre Operator
Call centre operators sometimes get a bad rap. People wrongly associate them with overseas scam calls and that’s certainly not the same thing. Call centre operators don’t always just make outbound sales calls, they also take inbound calls to help customers too!
When doing this job, Call centre operators must have a broad knowledge of a company or organisation’s products, services, policies and systems. They are often answering calls more than cold calling and their job is really all about helping the customers.
If you’ve ever called to ask a question of a company or to make a compliant, it would be a call centre operator who answered that call and sat on the phone with you working to fix the issue.
With all the misinformation about call centre operators, it’s easy to be confused about their role in a company.
What does a call centre operator do?
A call centre operator can be responsible for inbound and outbound calls and one on one communication with customers. This means that they answer phone calls, chats and emails, provide information about products or services, troubleshoot issues and handle complaints.
They may also transfer customers to different departments, train junior staff and generate interest in products or services.
They often also create and send out invoices, receipts, product or service information packs, or digital products and update customer databases with all relevant information.
Inbound vs Outbound
When looking through the different call centre operator roles advertised out there, you may notice they generally specify if you are going to be working in inbound or outbound. This basically means are you answering the calls or making them.
Inbound call centre operators will also likely call people back when they have made enquiries or if they have been working with a customer to solve an issue with their service.
Outbound call centre operators will call out to customers and potential customers. They usually work in sales or telemarketing and they will also need to know the products or services inside out to do their job.
Where do they work?
Call centre operators work in all industries because they are essentially the customer service department. So they are required in every industry for different companies. You could work in the government or in higher education. Just about every industry has a need for call centre operators.
Because the demand for call centre operators exists in all industries there is plenty of working going and it’s one of those careers where once you’re qualified there is always a job going somewhere that you can do. This makes it a safe choice for those wanting a career that is future proof.
How much does a call centre operator make?
Call centre operators earn between $40,000 and $60,000 with the median wage being $55,000. There is potential to earn more working casually with a base rate of $28.41 per hour but some of the top companies can pay up to $40 per hour.
And that’s a pretty good pay cheque for a job that usually only requires a Certificate III qualification.
What can you do next?
As far as career progression goes there are a multitude of options for someone who has worked as a call centre operator. The direct path up would be to become a call centre team leader and then call centre manager but the sky is the limit. You could transition to managing sales, customer service management or communications.
What Skills do you need?
Being a call centre operator is not for everyone. You have to like talking to people, solving problems and you have to have the gift of the gab. Here are a few core skills that will help you to excel in a role like this.
A call centre operator makes their bread and butter communicating with people. So it goes without saying you have to have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
You’ll need to be able to communicate clearly, find the pain points and issues the customer is having and solve those issues for them.
As a call centre operator there will be a lot of competing priorities and you will probably end up speaking to 30 or 50 people in a day. Excellent organisation is key to keeping everything sorted.
Filing all the communication you send out and receive and remembering to add notes customers profiles and follow up on their questions is an important aspect of this role.
Creative Problem Solving
Every customer or client will have a specific set of needs or provisions that they have to work to. We are all individuals and no service or combination of products is exactly right.
But customers respond well being treated as individuals. They want their experience to be customised to their needs and that is why it is important to listen and employ some creative problem solving to give them the best service you can.
A call centre operator often has incoming calls, chats going off, emails coming in, notes to enter and follow ups to do as well as general administration. To succeed in a role such as this you will need to have excellent multi-tasking skills.
You will have to know when to pick up and put down different tasks and how to fit an unusual amount of work into your day.
How do you become a call centre operator?
There are no formal qualifications to become a call centre operator however, to really excel in this role you’ll want to study the Certificate III in Customer Engagement. This course is delivered online through self-paced, trainer supported study and it takes six to twelve months to complete.
In the course you’ll learn how to:
- Use multiple information systems
- Develop product and service knowledge for customer engagement
- Process customer complaints
- Write documents for work
- Deliver and monitor a service to customers
And depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for government funding to cover some of the cost of this course. The government funding is called Certificate 3 Guarantee funding and you may qualify if:
- You are a Queensland resident
- You are 15 years or older
- You are no longer at school (with the exception of school students in Year 10, 11 and 12 undertaking VET in School VETiS program)
- You are an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident (includes humanitarian entrant), temporary resident with the necessary visa and work permits on the pathway to permanent residency, or a New Zealand citizen; and
- You do not hold, and are not enrolled in, a Certificate III or higher-level qualification, not including qualifications completed at school and foundation skills training.
You can learn more about this funding here.
If you’re interested in finding out more about an exciting career in customer engagement as a call centre operator, have a chat with one of our friendly course advisers.