Considering a call centre career? Here’s what you need to know

Mark Chana
3 min readJul 13, 2020

Working in a call centre today offers the potential for a long-term career in an innovative sector. Here’s what a call centre career looks like in 2020.

Call centres today offer a wide range of functions from taking calls covering everything from enquiries and complaints to sales queries to performing all kinds of other duties.

Call centres evolve to fulfil changing customer demands

Today’s customers want flexibility and they want brands to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A seamless customer experience across multiple channels is now essential for a call centre to remain successful. This is why call centre agents must be able to represent all kinds of brands to extremely high levels.

World-leading contact centres such as CCI South Africa know that their success depends on the quality of their agents. And this is why the best call centres offer agents cohesive career opportunities through training and development. And while no two contact centres work in the same way, as an agent starting out, you should expect the chance to develop your skills and learn how to further your career.

What does a good call centre agent look like?

We expect a lot from our agents, and in return offer career development. A skilled agent is professionally trained and able to multitask while maintaining exemplary levels of communication with all kinds of customers. To do this well, call centre agents must start out with the basic sense of wanting to do their best for a customer. As contact centre leaders, we can teach all the technology and skills but the drive to serve customers is often innate in the best agents.

8 qualities that make a successful call centre agent career

1. A drive to solve problems for customers

Customers still want the personal touch in many cases. While a growing number choose to interact with social media and webchats, the majority still want the assurance of speaking with an agent. Regardless of whether the agent is in-house or working across multiple partners in dedicated contact centres, the same enthusiasm for creating the ideal customer experience is a prerequisite.

2. Ability to multi-task and work across different clients

The most successful customer service agents thrive in a fast-paced environment. Contact centres buzz with energy but should never be overly stressed. Working to a fast pace while retaining control is part of what makes a great agent.

3. Willing to switch tasks and work flexibly

As a call centre agent, you will come across unpredictable customer roadblocks that force you to change your approach. It’s important to be flexible and expect the unexpected, while always continuing to perform core duties.

4. High level of organisation

Customers may get in touch for different reasons, but all want a quick resolution. This means agents must be very organised and quick thinking. Agents routinely face up to 50 calls or contacts from customers every day, and it’s not always possible to resolve them immediately. Keeping meticulous records is essential to manage ongoing customer issues.

5. Forward thinking and proactive

Agents must balance the customer’s demands with the business they’re representing so a proactive, problem-solving mindset is a must.

6. Empathy with the customer

One of the most important aspects of a successful call centre agent is their ability to put the customer first. Customers recognise the difference between a quick fix and an agent that is helping in a wider way, and this leads to customer loyalty.

7. Information retention

Customers don’t want to repeat their problems. They expect solutions and consider going through their issue multiple times unnecessary. Customer service agents must quickly grasp the issue after the first contact, rather than constantly ask for more information.

8. Creative problem solving

Sometimes a solution to a customer problem isn’t obvious, and it is up to the agent to come up with an alternative answer.

Is a career as a call centre agent for you?

A call centre career is usually demanding, but it’s also extremely rewarding. If you want to continually learn new skills and discover how good you are at dealing with the unexpected, then a call centre career could be for you.

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Mark Chana
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I’m Mark Chana, Group COO of CCI Global and former Managing Director of CCI South Africa — www.markchana.com/mark-chana