Have you ever considered working in a call center and thought, “Well, maybe that’s not for me?”
Maybe you’ve heard some things about the nature of the jobs at a call center and how much they tend to pay. To be clear, there are some stigmas associated with working in a call center. You might think that it involves listening to angry customer complaints for minimal pay and few career prospects. That narrow view of a call center job may have been true in the past, but these days it doesn’t exactly tell the whole story.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, many companies were offshoring their call center functions. This trend began to reverse over the past couple of decades for several reasons, according to Area Development. Workers in countries like India and the Philippines where many offshored call centers were located started pushing for higher wages just as the Great Recession was making American labor more affordable. At the same time, merger and acquisition activity created significant redundancies in corporate real estate assets, forcing companies to consolidate customer service operations closer to home. Also, American consumers began to complain about customer service representatives with thick foreign accents that made interactions frustrating.
As a result of all these developments, the American call center industry is currently thriving. For people working in call centers, the current state of the industry translates into several big advantages.
1) Demand for Call Center Professionals is Rising
Unlike establishing a large manufacturing facility, opening a call center requires minimal capital expenditures. Furthermore, municipalities around the United States have been incentivizing job creation in an effort to attract labor-intensive operations. As a result, call centers have been opening around the country with regularity. Last year, 102 call centers either opened or expanded in the United States, compared to 45 in Latin America and 27 across Latin America, according to data from Statista. Many of these centers have been opening across the Midwest and the South, creating new opportunities in these areas.
Given this expansion of operations, it’s no surprise that there’s an increased demand for call center professionals. According to the latest projections from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be nearly 390,000 job openings each year for customer service representatives, a category that includes call center positions.
2) Flexibility to Work from Home
One of the positives to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic has been increased opportunities for people to work from home, including people working in traditional call center roles. This translates into a number of smaller benefits.
With gasoline prices often fluctuating based on the latest headlines, remote customer service representatives don’t have to worry about paying for or dealing with a commute. Eliminating commute times and being at home when children get off the school bus also means having a healthier work-life balance. Spouses can better coordinate care of their child(ren), especially if both are working from home.
Being a remote worker can have small but useful benefits as well, such as being able to change over laundry or run a dishwasher. Rather than paying for a takeout lunch, remote workers can save money by making lunch at home.
Those looking to work a call center job from home should know that it will require some adjustments. Since the job entails working with valuable customers, remote workers should have a dedicated space with a good internet connection that is free from loud noise and distractions. Because they don’t have direct supervision, remote employees should be highly self-motivated, organized, and punctual. They should also understand that remote work can cause some people to feel isolated and limited in their ability to make connections with their colleagues. If you can handle some unique but not overly burdensome challenges, then the ability to work from home is a major advantage of having a call center position.
3) Improved Communication Skills
The nature of a call center position means having many conversations with customers throughout each workday. If you are not a “people person”, working in a call center will help you embrace your inner extrovert.
These conversations are typically structured, with the call center employee responsible for going over a specific list of tasks and topics. This type of professional communication does require skills and working a call center job allows people to improve key communication abilities:
- Listening Capacity-Call center representatives must pay attention to customers to provide effective sales and service. Over time, call center agents begin to realize that careful listening can prevent a lot of frustrating back and forth.
- Empathy-When an agent can quickly identify with a caller, they can address their concerns even when the customer isn’t able to clearly explain their primary need or issue. A good call center agent can empathize with frustrated customers and take their negativity in stride and work toward a solution.
- Quick Problem-Solving Abilities-When people call a customer service representative, they are typically looking for a solution to a multi-step problem. On top of that, call center agents are expected to address customer issues within a set timeframe. As they get more experienced, these professionals become better able to quickly solve problems, keeping customers satisfied.
- Organization-Expectations related to process and efficiency force call center agents to be highly organized, and this is a skill that people in these positions can carry forward into more advanced positions.
4) Career Growth Opportunities
Having a high percentage of younger workers in the industry, the typical call center has a high degree of turnover. For those who are able to thrive in this environment, high turnover translates into high levels of opportunity.
Call centers are not filled with only entry-level jobs that have no room for advancement. With operations in the US expanding, so too are opportunities in call center management. Call centers also tend to promote from within. People who start working at a call center as customer service representatives can move into leadership roles after just a few years of strong performance.
The key is to remain focused and motivated. To be fair, the job of a customer service representative can become monotonous, even frustrating at times. If you can maintain focus, do a good job and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction, your performance metrics will help advocate for your advancement; first to a team leader position and then on to middle management.
5) Entry-Level Jobs Available
Opportunity in a call center doesn’t start after you land the job. Open entry-level positions are often available, and many do not have a long list of prerequisites. If you have held some part-time jobs in the past for a couple of years or more, that background alone should make you a good candidate for an entry-level call center position. While part-time jobs like bartending or working in retail are great ways to make a living, working in a call center offers more opportunities for professional growth.
Entry-level call center positions also pay fairly well compared to similar career opportunities. According to Indeed, the average entry-level call center job pays nearly $17 per hour. By comparison, the average retail sales representative makes about $14.50 per hour.
There are also many different kinds of entry-level call center jobs, some of which pay more than others. Those with some college education are able to take on more complex entry-level roles and be paid accordingly. Some call center roles include performance incentives that can significantly boost overall pay. Many people working these jobs also have the opportunity to earn expanded overtime and holiday pay.
Start Your Job Search for a Call Center Professional with Top Notch
Serving the call center, construction, manufacturing, and aircraft industries, Top Notch Personnel is a top staffing and recruiting agency in the greater Wichita area. Not all call center jobs are created equal, and you shouldn’t have to settle for a position that you can merely tolerate. Our company will go above and beyond to help you find the right call center employer and position. We not only want to help you meet your short-term personal and professional needs but also help you achieve your long-term career objectives.
Our company was created to connect ambitious job seekers with local companies in need of top talent. We are focused on providing the highest level of customer service to both job seekers and our corporate clients by prioritizing timeliness and labor market expertise.
Call centers in particular have come to trust Top Notch Personnel. As the premier call center staffing and temp agency in Wichita, our company is a trusted resource for the industry. Whether it’s a job seeker looking for an opportunity, or a call center trying to find the best-fit talent, we provide speed, fit, integrity, and superior service. Through consistent performance, we have become the talent agency of choice for both job seekers and call centers.