A call center is a physical place where customer and other telephone calls are handled by an organization, usually with some amount of computer automation. A call center is a business that handles another business’ customer phone calls.
So how does a call center business work? Let’s take malls for example. Security guards in malls do not work directly for the mall. These security guards work for an employment agency which provides security guards to businesses. This means that instead of hiring and training security guards, mall owners would rather subcontract the security of their mall to an employment agency. The mall owners would want to leave this vital work to a different company simply because the mall owner would like to save money on training security guards and would rather just leave this part of running their business to an employment agency. This is the same reason why big businesses like Microsoft, IBM, and HSBC hire call centers to handle their customer phone calls. So big businesses hire call centers to handle their customer phone calls for them and call centers hire call center agents to take these calls.
Nowadays, every company has a customer service hotline. If you have a complaint on the kind of internet speed that you’re receiving, you will be contacting your internet service provider. When there is a discrepancy on your credit card statement, you will no doubt be calling your bank. The people who answer you when you make these phone calls will most probably not be in the respective corporate office, but they will be located in a call center office. These employees will be dedicated only to answering phone calls from customers. They will be answering phone calls on headsets and will be seated in workstations with a computer in front of them.
When a call comes in, their phones will beep and they have to greet the caller with the standard greeting in call centers which is: thank you for calling _________, my name is___________, how may I help you today (or something like that). This is what your job is going to be like as a call center agent/ phone receiver. You will be seated in front of a computer all day long. At the beep of your phone, you will be answering the phone call that just came in. After the phone call, you will be doing some documentation on what transpired during the phone conversation for other people to see (if in case the customer calls back in reference to the same issue).
Advantages of working as a Call Center Agent
Competitive compensation. Call center agents are one of the highest earning employees in the country. They rival those that work in multinational companies. For a fresh grad’s first job, he or she can earn around 15,000 easily even without experience. That range of stable income is hard to beat even for established companies.
Great benefits. Call center companies offer a whole range of benefits from health cards, gift certificates, and cash incentives. If you perform well, you get additional cash incentives. Annual increases are also given based on your performance.
Career growth. Promotions happen at a faster rate in call centers compared to other companies. You can easily be promoted as a team leader then onto a supervisor if you perform well. Your efforts are easily recognized, measured, and quantified either with a promotion or an incentive.
Unlimited coffee/drinks. There’s an unlimited supply of coffee for call center agents. These help agents fight sleepiness while on the job.
Open for students. Students who need support for their tuition fees need not worry anymore because call center companies embrace them with open arms. Most companies require a minimum of two years in college before hiring students. Some can opt for a part-time post while others can go full time if their schedule permits.
Not discriminating. Age and college degree don’t matter in the call center world. This is a great thing because you are not discriminated even if you don’t have a diploma or you’re not young enough. Call center agents are gauged based on their performance and not on these things.
Camaraderie. Call center agents are probably one of the happiest employees in the country. They evidently enjoy the camaraderie and team chemistry within the organization. A lot of employees stay in the industry because of their colleagues.
Great experience. Being a call center agent is a combination of rich experiences from trainings to work ethic and team work, all of these things are valuable to any employee. These experiences make call center agents efficient workers who love what they do and get paid for it.
Low Work Volume. If you are a teacher, chances are after a hectic day at work, you still bring home work such as papers to grade and lesson plans to prepare. This never happens in a call center. During certain occasions, however, when you don’t get to end your shift at the usual time you end it because of a long call, you can almost always declare it as overtime and get paid accordingly. In some calls centers, an excess of one minute to your normal working schedule can be declared as over time already. In others, fifteen minutes is the minimum.
Dress Code. Dress codes in call centers are very informal. If you encounter a call center agent on a Monday, he/she would probably be wearing jeans, a shirt, and rubber shoes. You probably wouldn’t even know that this person just came from work or is about to go to work. A few call centers though would require its employees to wear buttoned shirts and slacks but not business/corporate attires.