From customer service to the sale of services and products to market and opinion research by telephone, a call center agent has many busy tasks. Here, you can find out everything you need to know about the diverse job profile, which is increasingly being carried out in the home office and by career changers.
What Is A Call Center Agent?
A call center agent is someone who is in direct contact with customers. They often work for external clients and have customer service, sales, or market research as their primary tasks. Mail-order companies, banks, insurance companies, mobile phone providers, and travel service providers are mainly among the clients of call center agents.
What Does A Call Center Agent Do?
Depending on the area of responsibility, call center agents act passively or actively for a company.
Call Center Agent: Outbound Approach
An active call center agent also referred to as an outbound call center agent, calls potential customers on his initiative.
Call Center Agent: Inbound Approach
Passive call center agents, also called inbound call center agents, accept calls from potential customers.
Call Center Agent: Activities
Telephone customer service is the main task of call center agents. Even though most of the work time is spent on the telephone, the activities of the job description are varied and include, among other things, the first contact with potential customers, the enthusiasm for a company and the resulting stronger customer loyalty, as well as the sale of products or services from almost all industries. The most important activities include, among others:
- Telephone acquisition (customer acquisition and customer loyalty)
- Customer recovery
- Sales (products or services)
- Conducting market and opinion research
- Customer service (acceptance of orders, reservations, and complaints)
- Management (answering questions and accepting complaints)
The motto “The customer is king” also applies. A call center agent also has the task of processing a high number of telephone customer conversations in the shortest possible time.
So-called conversation guidelines or conversation instructions must be provided for different areas to be strictly adhered to. Customer needs must be identified, information must be available quickly, and suitable and satisfactory solutions must be delivered promptly.
How Much Do You Earn As A Call Center Agent?
As a call center agent, working people in the industry can expect to earn an average of 2,100 euros gross per month. A starting call center agent receives a salary of around 2,000 euros per month. The longer the job is carried out, the higher the salary of a call center agent. Depending on professional experience and specialist knowledge, the gross salary can be 2,800 euros or more per month.
Low-earners in the industry often go home with a gross income of around 1,500 euros or less per month. Criteria such as industry, company location, and size of the company also determine the salary of call center agents. There are also special features for outbound call center agents, who often work on a commission basis. The more sales and contracts you enter into your account, the higher the fee.
Call Center Agent: Requirements
Especially in the case of expensive products or errors on the part of a company, various emotional reactions such as anger, frustration, or disappointment sometimes arise during a telephone conversation with customers. In these cases, specific soft skills are among the most essential requirements of a call center agent:
- sympathetic voice
- Communication skills
- professional tone
- high resilience and “thick skin.”
- a quick way of working
- brief understanding of new topics
- High customer orientation
- strong powers of persuasion and enthusiasm.
- Good time management
Call center agents not only always have the phone in their hands but also receive customer data and insert it into special programs. The most important hard skills of call center agents include the following:
- Experience in (telephone) customer service
- Knowledge of working with computer programs
- Understandable foreign language skills
- Familiarity with CRM systems (customer relationship management)
- Further training and qualification as a call center agent
Call Center Agent: Training
Call center agents generally do not have to have any special training or further education because telephone contact with customers follows a defined guideline. There is often a fixed pattern for formulating and answering questions, as well as for conducting conversations so that even unskilled people can pursue the profession. All it takes is a little practice.
Anyone who wants to train as a call center agent or complete further training can only do so through private training providers. However, the Vocational Training Act does not recognize training as a call center agent, which means there is no uniform regulation for the learning content. Many companies, therefore, offer internal seminars for prospective call center agents.
Alternatively, intensive training takes place after passing an aptitude test or customer service training within the company. This training includes, among other things, helpful tips on how to properly deal with customers on the telephone. However, the following applies: Despite the unnecessary training and further education, previous work in telephone marketing can increase the chances of being hired for a job as a call center agent.
Conclusion: A Versatile Field Of Activity With Job Opportunities For Career Changers
Call center agents have the “wire to the customers.” The activities in telephone marketing range from the first contact with potential customers to accepting orders and complaints to the sale of goods and services. Training or further education as a call center agent is often optional in the requirements profile. Soft skills such as a friendly tone, good listening skills, and a quick way of working are essential prerequisites for this.
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