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Call Center Agent

Education and Training: High school diploma
Average Salary: $14.50 per hour
Job Outlook: Good

Call center agents are the link between customers and the products or services they have purchased, and they must respond quickly to customer inquiries and be able to resolve any issues efficiently. The majority of customer inquiries will be simple questions, or could be requests such as changing contact details with the company, or requesting information on a product which has been ordered. Such questions should be quick and easy to deal with, although some may be more complicated and will require additional research or help from a supervisor or specialist within the organization. It is all part of a call center agents job to decide who would be best to answer a customer’s queries.

Some of the customer inquiries may be complaints, and the company will have strict policies in place regarding the way complaints are dealt with. It will be down to the call center agent to suggest solutions to the customer’s problem, and in some cases they may be required to authorize returns of products and may be able to reimburse the customer.

Call center agents are also required to sell the products and services of their employer, and must be able to identify products which are best suited to customer’s particular needs.

It is quite a stressful job, and does involve spending the majority of the day on the phone. A lot of call centers also keep statistics on their employees to make sure they are working efficiently, and calls are frequently recorded to make sure the service standards are maintained.

Education and Training Requirements

Most employers will require a high school diploma at the very least, but will provide on-the-job training. However there are some call centers who require their workforce to be more highly skilled, and they will demand that they have an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Getting the Job

If you wish to become a call center agent it’s essential that you have a pleasant speaking voice which can be easily understood. You also need to have good typing skills and to be familiar with using computers. It is also essential to have good interpersonal skills as you will be working as part of a team. Call center agents need to be friendly and courteous, and must be able to deal with difficult customers calmly and politely.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The job and employment prospects for call center agents are good, and this industry is expected to keep on growing. It’s an easy way to gain entry into a company or industry, and good call center agents can frequently move on to more supervisory roles or management positions. They may also be able to move into other areas such as product development, as many gain good knowledge about products and services offered by their employer. Some employers are beginning to hire telecommuters who are able to provide services from their own home, although this is still quite rare.

Working Conditions and Environment

Although the working environment is relatively pleasant and clean, it can often be quite noisy and stressful, as call center agents frequently have to meet targets. The job can also sometimes seem repetitive, and the long hours spent staring at a computer screen can cause eye strain, headaches, and backache. A lot of call center agents work shifts and may need to work evenings, nights, and weekends.

Salary and Benefits

Call center agents tend to be paid on an hourly basis, with the average hourly wage being $14.50; however some earn less than $10 while others will earn more than $24 an hour. Wages vary according to experience and the size of the organization.

Benefits are likely to include health insurance, pension contributions, and bonuses. Employees may also be offered discounts on products and services offered.

Where to Go for More Information

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Postal Square Building
2 Massachusetts Ave.
NE Washington, DC 20212-0001
(202) 691-5200

International Customer Service Association
1110 South Ave.,Ste. 50
Staten Island, NY 10314
(347) 273-1303

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