Call centre representatives 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 centre workers 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.
The average call centre salary is largely based on experience and performance. You can expect to a starting salary between $25,000 to $30,000 per year. Your salary can be higher if you are working on a special project or providing customer service in an area that requires specialized skills or knowledge such a insurance or financial services. With 5 years of industry experience, you can expect to make up to $50,000 annually.
Being multilingual is a huge asset that can immediately boost your earning potential. Often bilingual call centre representatives will make a premium rate, with English/French speaking individuals given preference. Call centre representatives may also have the opportunity to receive performance bonuses for meeting metrics and performance goals.
Call centre representatives spend the bulk of their day on the phone or internet interacting with customers. Often you will be required to follow scripts provided by the employer, take direction for supervisors, sell a product, conduct a survey, solve problems, provide technical support, or answer questions for customers. Call centre representatives usually report 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:
Depending on their needs, companies either have an in-house call centre or contract with third party call centres. Call centre employment ebbs and flows with the local and even the world economy, as some positions hire internationally. Even though using offshore or international workers impact call centre jobs in Canada, many Canadian companies are still expanding their in-house call centre staff.
The internet has also changed how call centres operate. Some companies allow employees to work remotely from home, and many have virtual employees in many geographic locations across Canada. You no longer 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.
Whether you are providing customer service, selling, or other tasks, there are a number of important skills that call centre representatives need to possess to be successful:
Education and training requirements vary by company, but most companies require a high school diploma. 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. In-house training is often provided, as well.
Within a particular company, call centre representatives 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.