If you ask a random person about what he/ she thinks are the advantages and disadvantages of working in a call center, the answer is likely going to be in the extreme negative.
But as an outsider, have you ever wondered about the benefits other than its high salary? If you're thinking about working in this industry but first want to know what you'll be getting into, here's a full explanation of the pros and cons of working in a call center.
You need to lie.
It may not be the dirty lies that politicians and lawyers tell, but lies nonetheless. You have to lie about the supervisor being in a meeting to prevent a supervisor call, lie about your location so the customer on the other line thinks you're from the same country.
And when you lie, it has to be good. You say you're in Toronto? How's the weather in Toronto right now? What time is it? I'm currently driving along Oak Avenue, which intersection should I turn? Who do you think will win the hockey next month?
You know, those lies.
The shifting schedule and night shift sucks.
Imagine working from 9 PM to 6 AM, only to go back to the office at 1 PM on the same day. It's every call center agent's nightmare. If you can, choose a company that doesn't change schedule that much often.
If you hate night shifts, which you have every reason to, make sure to apply for a dayshift account. I've known a few agents though who prefer night shifts over dayshifts. If that's the case with you, consider yourself lucky for having one less problem.
Expect to get yelled at. A lot.
Dealing with different customer personalities means you'll get yelled at from time to time. It is basically on your job description. So if getting yelled at is not something you can handle, a non-voice account is your only choice. Heck, it even made me cry once.
The quotas and metrics are almost impossible.
As if the bad hours and workload aren't unbearable yet, you're expected to meet high standard metrics and quotas. If you're in sales, you gotta reach the minimum sales quota, otherwise, prepare for a long sit down talk with your team leader.
If you're in inbound customer service, your multitasking ability has to be exceptional. While calming down an irate customer, you're also checking 5-10 computer applications to figure out what caused the customer's distress. Then, you'll have to deliver the bad news as if it's the best news ever. And then empathize. And then suggest an alternative resolution.
All of these while making sure that the average handling time doesn't exceed 5 minutes, hold time should be no more than 2 minutes, and no rest between calls until the queue permits (which usually means never).
And oh, pray that the customer doesn't fill out a customer satisfaction survey and give you the dreaded 1 star.
You'll gain an extra chin (if you're not careful).
When you're under a lot of stress, you're susceptible to bad health habits. Most agents smoke to temporarily relieve their stress. Others have mastered the art of looking sober while drunk. Others, well, they just eat—a lot. So if your self-discipline is already weak to begin with, expect it to totally crumble once you're a call center agent. Although it doesn't have to happen if you make it a point to take care of your health.
Great compensation and incentives.
This probably depends on where you live. But in the Philippines, call center agents receive higher salary and better health insurance and benefits than most professions, even more than entry level nurses, policemen, and private teachers. Despite this though, some believe call center agents should receive an even higher pay for the demanding nature of the job.
You'll learn phenomenal skills you can use anywhere in life.
Reading people's tone, sounding confident even if you're actually not, convincing customers to buy, being able to put yourself together under extreme pressure, adapting to constant changes in the process—all these skills are super useful even if you're not in the call center. So if you want to gain practical skills like these, call center will be your excellent training ground.
It's the perfect place to develop a top notch communication skill.
In the call center industry, you have to wow, persuade, negotiate with, cajole, pacify, and intrigue your customers. And all these you have to do using your voice and your words. Do this with your 60-70 customers per day, and I bet your communication skills will improve dramatically.
Career wise, you become a stronger person.
Should you decide to try venture to another career and leave the call center, you'll come out strong and ready. This job teaches a diverse sets of skill useful in just about any field. International or local account, you'll also see a general view of how businesses work, how they make their customers happy, and how they earn in the process. These experiences are valuable. You may not consider it so for now, but they'll come in handy in just about any career you want to pursue after.
A piece of advice:
Create your own criteria. Decide about the ugly things you're willing to put up with in exchange for the skills and benefits you wanna gain. If you're still unsure, and you probably are, I suppose there's only one way to find out. It might suit you, it might not. Either way, you'll gain a deeper understanding of what it is you want to do in life. Goodluck!
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