Although working in a call centre can sometimes be the greatest job in the world, it can also be stressful and a downright miserable place to be. Some days, presenting a sales pitch on the phone seems almost too easy and the orders come pouring in. But on others, you struggle and lose confidence when people shout at you then hang up the phone. And when your line manager starts putting you under pressure to make more sales, you wonder why you’re doing the job in the first place.
So how do you cope with working in a call centre? Here are 8 great tips to help you, provided by tech expert Mike James – working together with Selectabase:
1. Be helpful and polite at all times, no matter what
Being polite and helpful is especially important if you’re working in a call centre. Many people have a dislike and distrust of call centre workers, so you have to work even harder to win them over. Be courteous, friendly and helpful at all times, even when customers are rude to you. Resist the urge to get angry back at them.
2. For goodness sake, learn the phonetic alphabet
You’ll have more confidence in this job if you make sure you know the phonetic alphabet backwards. ‘Is that F for Foxtrot or S for Sierra?’ should slip off your tongue without you having to think too hard about it. What you don’t want to be saying is ‘So is that S for socks or F for fox?’ Sounds too similar and isn’t professional. ‘So that’s Smith – Sierra Mike India Tango Hotel?’ Yes, spot on!
3. Know your scripts
Learn how to answer your calls so it doesn’t sound like you’re reading a script. In a friendly voice, try to make all the terms and conditions and product features (that you are actually reading) sound like you’re just talking naturally. Your caller is much more likely to listen to you and remember what you’ve said. It takes a little practice, but in the end you’ll become more professional and a lot more confident.
4. Keep a notebook
It’s a good idea to record amusing and stand-out moments that occur on your shifts. Customers can be very funny at times without knowing it. Some will make your day by praising and thanking you for the way you’ve handled their call. Keeping a record of these calls and looking back at them can help you deal with a bad day or shift and make you feel good all over again.
5. Keep motivated with incentives
Incentives, or rewards, are designed to motivate and make you work just that little bit harder. Let’s face it, any job’s a lot more fun if you know you could win a cash prize or a gift voucher, or even a bottle of champagne. What’s more, working in a call centre helps you develop new skills which you won’t have learnt at school or even at uni. And you get to meet and make friends with people from all walks of life.
6. Keep calm and carry on
You need to be able to handle the pressure that builds up in a call centre … especially if you have 20 or 30 customers waiting to speak to someone for what seems like hours but is only a few minutes. Don’t get flustered, even when your manager is breathing down your neck, frowning and furiously pointing at the call-waiting numbers and times. Take a deep breath and calmly deal with every customer as quickly and politely as you can. The more you’re able to handle the pressure, the more equipped you’ll be to do a good job.
7. Patience is a virtue
You have an elderly customer on the line who’s taking forever to find their debit card. Finally, she has it in her hand but because she is using the wrong reading glasses, she can’t see the numbers on the card clearly. Then, as you’re about to process the transaction, she suddenly realises it’s the wrong card and the whole process starts again. Aargh! Now if you can manage this kind of call with patience, empathy (you’ll be old too one day) and just a few silent deep breaths, then you’re doing your job like a real professional.
8. Develop your communication skills
It may sound obvious, but in a call centre environment you need to have good communication skills. After all, you’ll be dealing with hundreds of different people each day – some rude, some angry, some who love to talk, some who have an accent you struggle to understand, and some who are impatient and just want to end the call. You’ll also need to be able to communicate well in writing, when you pass on messages or customer complaints to colleagues.