Many people dismiss working as a contact centre agent. It’s never been seen as an aspirational career choice. But a combination of the changing workplace and increased appreciation of the work/life balance that this type of work offers, is revising perceptions.

Here are 9 reasons to reassess working in a contact centre:

1. Your skills are needed and transferable 

Being a good contact centre agent is hard. The skills required to be successful are typically honed over a period of time. Learning how to deal with difficult customers, turn a negative into a positive, resilience, sell or upsell a product all require specialist skills that not everyone possesses. The good news is those skills are in demand.

2. A good work/life balance is possible 

Most contact centres have a range of different shifts to cover peak periods that customers attempt to contact them. These are forecasted carefully for each day of the year and allows for seasonal variances like holidays, weather, sporting events etc.

Centres then create rosters to meet that demand. The good centres allow people to swap shifts with others, work part time or casual etc. as long as those roster periods are filled.

Whilst each centre is different, most are willing to hold on to their good people and will be happy to provide some flexibility as long as it still suits business requirements.

3. It can be very satisfying 

There is a wide range of contact centres from the centres that take orders, general enquiries, help desks, providing Q &A responses to customers, logging calls, or escalating complex queries or complaints, through to life critical centres.

Each one of them can provide an enormous amount of satisfaction for the agent - from literally saving someone’s life, turning an angry customer into a happy one or helping to sell a product you know will benefit a customer.  Working in a contact centre can therefore be a rewarding experience.

4. The work can actually be very rewarding  

Good contact centres are typically at the forefront of engagement initiatives. This means that senior leaders within the business right down to team leaders are committed to ensuring that people enjoy coming to work. They make sure there is always something going on.

5. You will be looked after

Walk into any contact centre and there is normally lots of food! From centres that provide free breakfasts through to lots of snacks to keep everyone firing there is always food around.

6. You will be part of a great team

Because you are all ‘in it together’, sharing similar shift times, quick friendships can be built up. Contact centres also place great value on building teams and when people in centres are surveyed about "what is the best part of your job?" typically the top answer is always "my team/friends". Many centres also have a wide range of people working in them from young to old all with a rich variety of backgrounds and life experience.

7. Job variety  

Contact centre work normally requires time on the phone. But more than ever, the the role is diversifying across a range of different channels. Customers now want to engage across a range of channels including for example live chat, emails and social media channels and these functions are typically all handled in the call centre. For larger centres they have dedicated roles focusing on each channel and for smaller centres a centre may manage multiple channels.

8. Human skills are still much valued in a tech world. 

With technology continuing to evolve, the ability for customers to 'self-serve’ is continuing to increase. But there are many times when customers do need to talk to someone if they have specific questions that can’t be answered on a website.

It means that when the calls do come through, they are becoming increasingly complex requiring a real person (!) to sort out the issue. An agent in full flight is impressive: multi-tasking, they can deal with several computer systems, processes, policies at the same time as having a helpful conversation with a customer.

9. Common sense, empathy and calmness are qualities contact centres want You are dealing with the general public – a wide range of people indeed.  Usually they are reasonable folks seeking help but it’s fair to say they can also be sometimes angry and impatient particularly if they have been kept waiting and/or have a complaint about customer service.  Most callers are people, with more interesting things to do than talk to a contact centre. If you are the kind of person that can find some compassion in these situations and are understanding that you are talking to humans who could have all kinds of trouble going on at their end of the phone and are using you as a punch bag, you will do well in a contact centre.

Contrary to popular belief contact centres are changing, and for the better.  The industry is valuing its people more and providing better conditions and environments.

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