what is a call center representative?

Call center representatives work directly with customers. As a call center representative, you provide information about products or services, and you assist customers with resolving any complaints they may have. In addition, you calculate charges, process payments and issue refunds. Your work helps customers maintain positive views of your company.

In most cases, you work over the phone, and you use a computer to access information about customers' accounts. Some call center jobs also allow you to interact with customers via live chat, social media or email. You'll need to keep detailed records of all of your interactions with customers.

If you work in the retail industry, you'll take orders, handle returns and provide customers with product details. For example, you might answer customers' questions about sizing, color choices or materials. The information you provide could generate sales.

If you're employed in telecommunications, utilities or other service industries, you'll help customers with resolving service outages and scheduling service calls. You'll provide information about the different service packages that are available, and you'll assist customers with updating account information.

Would working as a call center representative suit your customer service skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a call center representative role.

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average call center representative salary

Would you like to know what a call center representative earns? Where the highest salaries are paid for a call center representative? Then check out this call center representative salary page and find out all about the salary of a call center representative in the USA.


types of call center representatives

Call center representatives are vital parts of almost every industry. Although most call center representatives work in retail, many call center jobs are available in other fields. You can work at call centers that handle business support services, wholesale trade, insurance and technical services.

There are different expectations for each role, and you'll need training for each position. For example, if you're working as a call center representative for an insurance agency, you should have a deep knowledge of different types of insurance policies. You may need to help customers with questions about coverage options.


working as a call center representative

Call center representatives usually work in fast-paced environments. In this field, you'll handle a high volume of calls in an efficient manner. You'll work with a diverse group of colleagues from different backgrounds and generations.


call center representative skills and education

You'll need to have a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification to become a call center representative. Some representatives may have undergraduate degrees in communications, business, social science or related fields.

Your employer will provide on-the-job training when you start working at the call center. In general, training tends to last for two to four weeks. During your training program, you'll find out about the products or services that the call center handles. You'll learn how to use the center's computer and phone systems, and you'll practice working with the required software.

If you're employed at a call center that deals with financial matters or insurance, you may need to have a state license. In most cases, you'll have to pass an exam to earn your license. For example, to work as a call center representative in financial services, your employer could require you to pass qualification exams from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Training programs for call center representatives in finance or insurance could last for several months. During this time, you'll learn about the complex regulations in your respective field. Since regulations often evolve, you may want to consider taking continuing education courses to familiarize yourself with the latest revisions.

The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research offers the Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR) designation for call center representatives in the insurance field. Earning this qualification could advance your career.

skills and competencies

When you work at a call center, you'll be responsible for assisting customers with different personalities and needs. You'll need to handle lots of calls at one time, and you will have regular performance evaluations. To thrive and advance in this demanding field, it's helpful to have the following skills and personal qualities:

  • patience to deal with dissatisfied customers
  • listening skills to accurately understand and assist customers
  • communication skills to explain products, services and solutions in effective ways
  • problem-solving skills to provide appropriate resolutions to concerns and complaints
  • interpersonal skills to allow for positive interactions with customers

With the tight deadlines of this role, you'll need to know how to manage your time effectively. You should be able to set priorities and juggle multiple tasks. Compassion, empathy and respect for others will help you adapt to the diverse needs of your customers.

woman working at a computer
woman working at a computer

FAQs about working as a call center representative

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about call center representatives.

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