The call centre is often considered the noisiest room in the office—filled with voices, typing, and dial tones. A decade ago, these jobs were typically outsourced to job seekers on the other side of the world; however, many North American companies are bringing those opportunities back locally today. According to an article published in The Globe and Mail in 2012, high turnover rates and decreased customer satisfaction has driven big-name companies to re-evaluate their overseas call centre jobs.
With blooming opportunity for customer service enthusiasts back here in Canada, we seek advice from call centre professionals to learn more about telecommunications etiquette.
Learn to listen
Call centres provide different services, whether it’s designed to sell or to resolve a client issue. Regardless, it’s important to listen to your client on the other end of the line. “Essentially what we want to do is instead of listening to respond, we want to listen to understand our customer,” says Dannielle Chaput, loyalty and retention representative at Telus’s call centre department. “A lot of it is listening to the customers, what their intent is of the phone call, and trying to come up with a solution that works with the customer and also works for the provider.”
In a sales environment, stellar call centre agents are able to seek the next best call, says Grant Thomas, manager of professional services at Voices.com, an online business connecting companies with voice talents. “We have a vast database of existing clients and new client sign-ups, so it’s really about managing your time and making sure that the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t feel pressured to use our service at any given time, but is appreciated for finding our service.”
The prep work
As with any other profession, call centre jobs take practice. At Telus, Chaput assures that new hires won’t be thrown directly into the call centre. “They go into class for three months and learn all about the systems and the processes that we go through,” she says, adding that after completing the program, the new hires are mentored by experienced staff.
“When the agents come onto the floor, they get to sit with a more experienced agent who sits and listens to the calls with them,” she says. Additionally, they also go through a coaching process where they are fully supported by these agents. “I find that the training is very extensive and they’re pretty much setting you up for success with the types of training programs we have.”
For new grads entering a call centre environment for the first time, the job description could often be intimidating. “Don’t be afraid to speak in a real way on a one-to-one level,” says Thomas. “Don’t be afraid, there is a certain trial-by-fire that’s required especially for a new person coming in expecting to get into sales,” adding that mistakes are expected and “effective environments are the ones that can push to make someone comfortable enough to keep at it.”
Photo: Wavebreak Media/THINKSTOCK