Retail

Call centre operator

Call centre operators answer enquiries from customers by telephone, email, web chat, text and post.

Annual Salary

£13,500 to £28,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

6%
Future employment

There will be 6% more Call centre operator jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You could work in a wide range of sectors, like finance, mail order, product promotion, IT, local government, legal, advisory and recruitment services.

Depending on your role, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • answering calls, emails and web chat enquiries from customers
  • making telesales and market research calls to new and existing customers
  • dealing with customer orders, card payments, enquiries and complaints
  • advising about products and services
  • supporting customers to fix computer problems
  • offering counselling, welfare and benefits advice, legal information or help with careers
  • updating customers' records on computer databases

With experience, you may get extra responsibilities, like training, call monitoring and quality control.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

College

You can start by doing a course like:

  • Level 1 Certificate for Introduction to Customer Service
  • Level 2 Certificate in Contact Centre Operations

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through a customer service practitioner or contact centre operations intermediate apprenticeship.

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

Direct application

There are no set requirements for applying directly for jobs, though employers may ask for some GCSEs. Basic computer skills and admin experience can be useful.

If the job requires more specialised knowledge, for example on an IT support helpline or an advice service, you'll usually need a relevant qualification.

Further Information

Employers look for people with personal qualities like confidence and a good telephone manner. Job interviews often include practical telephone and keyboard tests.

Temporary work can be a useful way to get started in this career and can lead to permanent jobs.

£13,500 to £28,000

Starter salary: £13,500 to £16,000

Experienced salary: £16,000 to £19,000

You may also receive bonuses and commission payments, depending on your role.

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

Many companies offer full-time or part-time hours, or flexible working, sometimes on a shift system. Full-time jobs are usually 35 to 40 hours a week.

You'll spend most of your time at a computer wearing a telephone headset.

With experience and training, you could progress to team leader and management level.

You could also move into human resources, resource planning, marketing and training.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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