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Call center agents play an important role in providing sales, marketing and customer service support to customers in all types of businesses. Working in brick-and-mortar locations or virtually, you may handle inbound or outbound calls as employees or as contractors on a full- or part-time basis. Your primary objective will depend on your role and could include executing customer services requests, providing customer support or sales.
Call center agent salaries are largely based on experience and performance. You can expect a starting pay rate of $12–$13 per hour. Your compensation could be higher if you are working on a special project or providing customer service in an area that requires specialized skills or knowledge. With five years of industry experience, you can expect to make up to $16 per hour or more.
Being multilingual is a huge asset that can immediately boost your earning potential. Call center agents may also have the opportunity to receive performance bonuses for meeting metrics and performance goals.
Call center agents usually work a set full- or part-time schedule that may include evening or weekend hours. Those working in physical locations often work from cubicles to assure some degree of sound-proofing, while at-home workers need a quiet space, broadband internet service, landline phone service, a computer that meets specific technical requirements, a printer and fax.
Call center agents spend the bulk of their day on the phone/internet interacting with customers. Often following scripts provided by the employer, the call center worker may take orders, sell a product, conduct a survey, solve problems, provide technical support or answer questions for customers.
A call center worker usually reports to a supervisor, but may have little contact with an actual person as work and reporting is often done online or via email. Some of the common tasks you can be expected to complete include:
Other tasks are commonly determined by the nature of your job and the goals of your organization.
Depending on their needs, companies either have an in-house call center or contract with third-party call centers. Call center employment ebbs and flows with the local and even the world economy, as some positions hire internationally.
The internet has also changed how call centers operate. Some companies allow employees to work remotely from home, and many have virtual employees in many geographic locations across the U.S. No longer do you necessarily need to reside in the same city as your employer, as long as you meet the technical requirements for the position and can execute your job effectively from a remote location.
Call centers are required by all types of businesses in all industries and are located in most cities across the U.S., providing ample opportunity for careers in this area, regardless of where you live.
Whether you are providing customer service, selling or other tasks, there are a number of important skills that call center agents need to possess to be successful:
Education and training requirements vary by company, but most companies require a high school diploma or equivalency. More technical positions may require specific industry knowledge or certifications acquired through formal education or experience.
Most companies want workers who are dependable, self-motivated, computer literate, able to follow directions and who have basic math, writing and phone skills. For some jobs, fluency in other languages is either required or a plus.
Some companies will accept applicants with good phone and people skills, but others require sales or customer service experience. Extensive training and regular in-house training are common. Training and certification with specific products, processes and practices is also an asset that will make you a desirable candidate.
Within a particular company, call center agents may be promoted to supervisory positions or to similar, better paying jobs in other companies. The communication, time management, planning and sales skills learned in this type of job may transfer to other fields and are commonly a launching point for careers in communications, customer service and other related fields.
If you show the desire to grow and a willingness to move up, you may be afforded the opportunity to enter management training programs, be offered additional training and opportunities to move to other areas within the organization.
Ready to start looking for call center agent jobs? Contact Randstad USA today to get started.