Call centre agents work in a call centre, answering incoming phone calls and keeping records of calls and callers. In some organisations they may 'cold call' (make the phone calls to prospective customers), calling numbers from a list.
You could be using the phone to:
give advice on topics such as financial products and services, legal issues and benefits
help fix technical problems
help bank customers with enquiries about balances, bill payments and transfer of money
take bookings and payments for goods and services
deal with enquiries and complaints
ask customers for their details and log them using a computer.
If cold calling you might be trying to persuade people to:
donate to charity
buy a product or service, such as insurance or home improvements
answer questions for a survey.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries begin at around £17,000 a year. With experience this could rise to around £21,000 a year. You may earn more through shift allowances and bonuses. If you are selling something, your pay might depend partly on commission.
You sit with other call centre agents in an open plan office.
You face a computer monitor and keyboard.
You wear a telephone headset to keep your hands free.
You might work shifts, perhaps covering 24 hours a day, or 7 days a week.
You might get little time between the calls to update the records.
Your breaks away from your desk (for food, toilet) might be strictly monitored.
Calls may be recorded or monitored to make sure that customer service standards are met.
Part time work is common.
You do not usually need formal qualifications.
Previous experience of dealing with the public is useful.
You need keyboard skills and a good telephone manner.
Job interviews normally include telephone and keyboard tests.
A few jobs demand fluency in a second language or specialised technical knowledge.
There are still plenty of vacancies in jobcentres throughout Scotland. Jobs are in financial services, telecoms, utilities and the public sector. Not all require previous call centre experience.