6 Common Questions Job Seekers Have About Working in a Call Center
September 21st, 2017 Written by: Molly Masterson
There’s no denying that being a call center agent is an important job. As the customer’s first point of contact for questions and problems, call center agents have the daunting task of being the voice of the company. And while receiving positive customer feedback and serving customers will make your day, there are sides to life in a call center that prove it isn’t for everyone.
To thrive in an inbound or outbound call center takes a specific kind of person with a unique set of skills, including patience, adaptability, great listening skills, and more. It’s a tough environment that doesn’t have much down time with hundreds of phone calls being answered or dialed each day. But considering that call center representative jobs are in high demand and expected to grow 39% between 2014 and 2024, it’s a position that could make a great career move.
Here at Masterson Staffing Solutions, we have over 50 years of experience in helping job seekers find the right job for them. To help you decide if working in a call center is right for you, we’ve answered six burning questions you probably have about working in a call center.
1. What Does an Inbound Call Center Agent Do?
First and foremost, inbound call center agents answer customer calls coming into a company. As an agent, you might represent retailers, insurance providers, or a utility company. Because you are the first point of contact for customers, the most important responsibility of inbound agents is handling customer inquiries and complaints. Happy, disappointed, and angry customers will cross your path, but it’s your job as an agent to hear their concerns and do your best to put them at ease.
Additional responsibilities of inbound call center agents might include:
- Provide information about the company’s products and services
- Troubleshoot and resolve product issues and concerns
- Develop and document the customer relationship in the company’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
2. What Does an Outbound Call Center Agent Do?
Outbound call center agents are responsible for making calls to customers or prospects on behalf of the business. This can include making calls for telemarketing, sales, fundraising, or even surveys. And because most of these calls are cold, outbound call center agents tend to spend more time on the phone than inbound agents.
Beyond making calls to customers, outbound call center agent duties may include:
- Maintain in-depth knowledge of company products and services
- Pitch or recommend new products and services to customers
- Schedule sales appointments
3. Do You Need to Have Previous Experience to Work in a Call Center?
With any job, previous experience in a similar industry is definitely preferred. But many of the skills and experiences you’ve had in other types of jobs and sectors, as well as your ability to learn new things, can make you a great fit.
For example, having any former customer service or sales experience is a huge benefit. This includes positions as a sales associate, customer service representative, and even waiters or waitresses. Responsibilities in these industries often include similar duties to call center agents like cold calling, building a rapport with clients, and multitasking.
Other sought-after qualifications or skills are:
- Ability to prioritize tasks
- Positive and professional attitude
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
If you have any of the valuable experiences or skills listed above, make sure you mention them in your answers to these common call center job interview questions.
4. Is Working in a Call Center Hard or Stressful?
Call centers are the frontline of customer interaction, creating a naturally stressful environment. You may either be bombarded with inquiries and complaints in taking inbound calls, or often be faced with rejection when placing outbound calls. But anyone who says their job isn’t stressful or hard at times is lying—every job has its moments. And while call centers receive the brunt of angry and upset customers, they are rewarded every time they turn a sad customer into a happy one. So even though working in a call center is both hard and stressful, it is also very rewarding.
5. Are There Opportunities for Professional Growth at a Call Center?
Absolutely. Many of today’s CEO’s and other C-level executives got their start in a call center. For example, Andrea Ayers started her career as a call center trainer and became the CEO of Convergys, the world leader in customer experience outsourcing. The fact of the matter is, call center agents need to flex and learn hard, in-demand skills to provide a stellar customer experience, making them ideal candidates to move up in the company.
Following the entry level position of a call center agent, there are several positions you can be promoted to. For example, you might be promoted to lead agent where you have the added responsibility of assisting or training your team members. And once you have demonstrated your leadership skills as a lead agent, you might move on to become a supervisor and eventually, manage the whole call center.
6. What’s it Really Like to Work in a Call Center?
In reality, working in a call center is like any other service or sales job. The primary difference being that all of your customer interactions happen on the phone, either through dialing or answering calls each day. And because there is a distinct routine to working as a call center agent, it’s important for you to focus on each customer interaction to avoid getting bogged down in the monotony.
Call center life is hard work, but the hardest things in life are usually the most rewarding. Take it from a former call center agent, Paul Rivera, now co-founder and CEO of Kalibrr, “You don’t want an easy job. Easy means you don’t get better, you don’t acquire skills, and you’ll never reach your full earning potential.”
While it’s tough work, you will learn coveted skills and gain valuable experiences as a call center agent that can propel your career forward.
Think Working in a Call Center Is Right for You?
If you’re ready to start looking for work in an inbound or outbound call center, find a job near you that’s the perfect fit for your skills and expertise.