So what is it really like working in a call centre? It’s hell and you need to be a placid person to be cut out for call centre work. What personality traits will you adopt when working in a call centre?
• Process orientated
Calm- You need to be calm to work in a call centre, you need to not let what customers say get to you. Eradicate all passion you have for the people you are serving and role you are doing. Crying is not acceptable in call centres and you will be around numb people. Your colleagues are your biggest critics even more so than managers, you will need to adopt their numb exteriors to fit in. Passionate workers will be labelled livewires by management. Business comes before everything.
Organised- You will need to be organised to work in a call centre. Even the way you speak to the customer will be organised. Its such an unnatural way of conversing, it will feel strange and you will have to talk in circles for the quality team to mark your call correctly. If you can’t make a friendly request turn into a precise sectional piece of conversation with an opening middle and a close don’t even bother with applying for a job in a call centre. The way of speaking and confirming you have actioned a customer request is so unnatural you begin speaking in circles on your days off.
Automatic- You will start having automatic habits when you work in a call centre. You start saying “bear with me” and “Is there anything else I can help you with” and “How can I help you today”. There’s been so many times I’ve asked a customer if there is anything else I can do for them 3 times in a row because it’s an automated habit I have been taught and can’t shake off.
Routine-orientated – You will need to be Routine-orientated to survive in a call centre. Down to the routine style of conversation, opening middle and closing, routine style of navigating your computer and routine breaks. Most call centres only allow 15 minutes for personal use throughout the day. This is for toilet, water break and just stretching legs. These 15minutes are heaven when there are constant call cues, most call centres are run understaffed and under resourced so you will always be speaking to someone on the phone you will have to hold yourself for upwards of 30 minutes.
In retail environments you can ask customers to be patient for five minutes while you run to loo, you don’t have the same luxury on the telephone. If you need longer than 15 minutes due to stomach upset, you have to justify this to management, more than once & you will be put on a performance plan and request medical evidence because their stat bastards have dictated 15 minutes. Its very embarrassing to notify your manager when it just takes longer than 15 to shit. You will only be penalised for straying from routine and never praised when you aid it.
Flexible- You need to be flexible to work in a call centre. Taking the routine orientation into account you also need to be able to adjust your shift pattern at a moments notice sometimes never working the same shift two days in a row. Its not unheard of that you will have to change your whole sleeping pattern mid-week. An example shift pattern can be found below.
Monday-12-8 Off Wednesday 9-7 Thursday 8- 2 Friday 12-8 Saturday 9-5 Off. Your days off are used to flip your sleeping schedule 180.
Process- orientated- If you are happy saying no because the process doesn’t allow it you will be fine. If you think the person you are advising is deserving of some special treatment because the process indirectly causes them harm and you don’t like it you shouldn’t work in a call centre. Some security processes can be a hindrance to people with disabilities and even mentioning they should be changed will get the managers asking themselves “who in the hell do you think you are”. You’re only trying to help but to them it looks as if you are trying to come in and disturb a large corporation with ideas above your station.
If you don’t give a flying fuck about what a customer says to you negatively, can Russell Crowe in beautiful mind your stats, can block a phrase said 500 times from becoming a perm part of your vocabulary, can wee and shit when you’re told to, have no life outside of work and can say no to a disabled women who cannot come into a store to sort out her business you are a perfect employee for a call centre worker. Good luck getting out of one when it’s made its dirty pigeonholed mark on your CV.