Everything You Need To Be Successful In A Call Center Job

By Bryan Gardiner

Call center. The word has a stigma of its own. As consumers, we associate it with long hold times, constantly asking to speak with a supervisor, and usually experiencing pure frustration.

As a recruiter, I’ve had my fair share of experiences trying to find people who want to work in a sometimes unforgiving industry. What I’ve found is that some of the best call center representatives I recruit are friendly, personable, and have an extreme passion for their job. There are times, however, when someone working in a call center is not able to perform (which is usually their own doing).

So, here’s a list of everything you’ll ever need to be successful in a call center position:

1. Be present.

The first key to being successful in a call center is attendance. Punctuality is especially important in a call center environment.

Have you ever been on hold for 15 minutes or more when calling into a customer support line? Most likely, your answer is yes. Me too. You get that annoying message saying “due to higher than normal call volume, your estimated hold time is a billion minutes”.

Speaking with a call center manager at one of Corporate Brokers’ client companies, I discovered being on hold isn’t always due to high call volume. It’s because someone was late to their shift or didn’t show up at all. Bottom line is, a call center can’t control the calls coming in, but they can forecast expected call volume based on past metrics. This is how they build their schedules.

When a representative misses a shift, it usually means anywhere from 80–200 inbound calls are no longer accounted for and must be spread out among the other workers. This equals longer hold times. Even being one minute late to a shift has this type of impact. Tardiness and attendance issues are scarcely tolerated in the call center environment.

2. Have a stellar attitude.

The second key to success in a call center is attitude. What I mean by this is how you interact with other members of the team, your supervisors or managers, and customers. In a customer-service oriented role, it might seem obvious that an employee has to be friendly and have a good attitude, but not all of them do. According to another of our call center client managers, any employee with an attitude issue never lasts long.

In my experience, the successful call center employee is extremely friendly to the customer. I know customers can be unbelievably rude sometimes, but the best call center reps kill them with kindness and always find a solution to the issue.

Having a good attitude impacts your ability to be a team player.

Having a good attitude impacts your ability to be a team player. Call center reps have to work well with others and can’t let their personal stress interfere with their work.

There’s also a lot of training for new employees, and with that comes a lot of constructive criticism. My advice? Be receptive and always try to take it with a smile.

3. Top performance.

The final key to being successful in a call center is performance. As this is a staple at any job, the real question is: how is a call center representative’s performance measured?

Many factors go into performance measurement and can sometimes be specific to the call center and industry. One manager I often work with says he’s seen call time and problem resolution as the two main metrics every organization uses. So, it’s important to be efficient on the phone with customers and identify what exactly needs to be resolved.

Never feel like you can’t ask for help from other team members. It’s the only way you’ll learn, improve, and ensure your success.

The call center environment isn’t for everyone and there are a select group of people who are the right match for the job. If you’re looking into a position as a call center rep, be sure you’re working on the skills listed above (and, of course, call me up with your resume ready!).

Thanks for tuning in to Paper Trail! If you’re looking to break into the customer service industry, I’m your guy. Just hop on over to the Corporate Brokers website and apply here!

Bryan Gardiner is a recruiter at Corporate Brokers specializing in call center and non-technical positions. Outside work, he can be found sailing, jamming to some live tunes, or in the stands at Penn State football games. Check him out on LinkedIn!