I Worked In a Call Center

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I was a desperate student. I needed money. I looked at the campus community job board and saw two options; One – be a nude model for art classes, two – work in telemarketing jobs at the university's alumni call center. I chose the latter of the two, and I am so glad that I did. It was one of the best jobs I've ever had.

While there are call center jobs popping up around the world, I didn’t have to travel to India. I just walked across campus to the basement of the University’s Alumni Center. There I worked in a low key, low stress environment with fellow university students. My experience was not based on pressure sales, we were employed to give information about the campus and the university to alumni and then solicit monetary funding, only if the alumnus felt like they would like to contribute to the alumni center. Many other call center professionals, however, are more than just information providers. They may offer help and assistance in selected areas, or use their communication skills to make sales transactions.

What do Call Center Professionals do?

A Call Center Professional may work in outbound or inbound calls. In an inbound environment, a Call Center Professional takes calls and delivers information pertinent to the call and the company or project they work for. In an outbound environment, a Call Center Professional makes calls that may be for information, solicitation or support for the company or project they work for.

Call Center Professionals may need to do a number of things, including; answering phones, responding to customer requests, placing orders, selling products, providing information, up-selling products and services, transferring calls, resolve customer issues, follow up on customer’s inquiries and complete call logs and reports.

While working at the University’s Call Center I performed outbound calls for two reasons. One was to talk to University Alumni about their experience at the school and to tell them about new things happening on campus. The second reason was to solicit support for the University through monetary donations. I was lucky, because being a student at the University, I already had something in common with the people I was calling. So I didn’t get too many angry people or people hanging up on me. I had a good experience.

What Specializations and Education are needed to be a Call Center Professional?

In most situations there is no education or prerequisite needed to work in a Call Center. A High School diploma, or the equivalent thereof, should be sufficient. A job at a Call Center requires basic reading, writing and math skills. Call Center Professionals may need to be computer literate and be willing to learn new computer applications. Call center professionals need to be able to communicate and speak well. They need to be professional in verbal and written communications. Not only do they need to be able to speak well, they also need to be able to listen well so that they may quickly and accurately identify and resolve customer’s inquiries and problems. A Call Center Professional needs to have an outgoing and fun personality. Sometimes the job may be stressful, as Call Center Professionals may have to deal with angry or upset customers. A Call Center Professional needs to be able to keep a cool head and be able to manage any situation that may arise. Call Center Professionals need to be able to control their voice and control their tone to deliver a professional presentation over the telephone. There may be times when a Call Center Professional is required to do many things, so it helps to be a multi-tasker. Any experience in an office type job would be a plus. Speaking a second language may also give potential Call Center employees a leg up in the industry. A job at a Call Center is ideal for students working their way through college or as a second job.

For me, I walked into my Call Center job with absolutely no experience and only a high school diploma. My earnings were the equivalent of my experience and education, though, as explained below.

Who do Call Center Professionals work for?

In many situations a Call Center Professional works for a company who out sources work from other companies. In other cases, businesses have call centers specifically set up in house for their own needs. This was the case when I worked for the University’s on campus Call Center. For whatever Call Center an employee works for, they must be able to project a professional image of the company or the project they are assigned to through their phone interactions.

What Programs and Equipment might a Call Center Professional use?

Call centers, of course, utilize telephone and communication devices. Call Center Professionals may have headsets and may be required to use the computer. Don’t rule out the pen and paper! A Call Center Professional may also be required to do some writing, filing and paperwork.

What Environment do Call Center Professionals work in?

Working conditions are usually that of an office space. Workers may have their own cubicle and desk space, it just depends on the environment the business sets up.

What is the Potential Pay for a Call Center Professional?

Full time Call Center Professionals can potentially earn $22,000 - $32,000 a year.

In my experience, I did not make this much money. One reason is because I was a student and I was working partially to earn my scholarship. Two, because I didn’t have much education or experience, I started at $7 an hour and left that job at $9 an hour. The third reason I didn’t equal a yearly amount in the ten-thousands is because I was only working part time so that I could still attend school and hold a job at the same time.

How do I Get a Job as a Call Center Professional?

There are call centers everywhere, even overseas. Potential Call Center employees should look in newspaper and online classified ads. Call Centers are always looking for new people, as there is a high turnover rate of employees.
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