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Call centre operator Contact centre operator, call centre assistant

Call centre operators answer enquiries from customers by telephone, email, web chat, text and post.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,500 to £28,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, although you should have a good general standard of literacy, numeracy and IT skills. Job interviews often include practical telephone and keyboard tests.

Some jobs may require more specialised knowledge, for example an IT support helpline or an advice service. For these you may need to have suitable qualifications, or be willing to be trained.

Many colleges offer introductory courses in call centre techniques, which may help when looking for work.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent customer care and communication skills
  • a clear and friendly telephone voice
  • the ability to follow instructions
  • good IT skills with accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to work under pressure and meet targets

Some jobs may require selling or foreign language skills.

3. What you'll do

You could work in a wide range of sectors, like finance, mail order, product promotion, IT, local government, legal, advisory and recruitment services.

Depending on your role, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • answering calls, emails and web chat enquiries from customers
  • making telesales and market research calls to new and existing customers
  • dealing with customer orders, card payments, enquiries and complaints
  • advising about products and services
  • supporting customers to fix computer problems
  • offering counselling, welfare and benefits advice, legal information or help with careers
  • updating customers' records on computer databases

With experience, you may get extra responsibilities, like training, call monitoring and quality control.

4. Salary

Starter: £13,500 to £16,000

Experienced: £16,000 to £19,000

Highly Experienced: £19,000 to £28,000

You may also receive bonuses and commission payments, depending on your role.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Many companies offer full-time or part-time hours, or flexible working, sometimes on a shift system. Full-time jobs are usually 35 to 40 hours a week.

You'll spend most of your time at a computer wearing a telephone headset.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and training, you could progress to team leader and management level.

You could also move into human resources, resource planning, marketing and training.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017