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Advancing in your contact center career

If the idea of working in a contact/call center gives you the willies, you’re behind the times: call center jobs and even careers can be highly rewarding, both financially and emotionally.

Call centers today, in other words, are not your grandparents’ call centers.

Call centers have evolved into high-technology “contact centers.”

A bit of history:

Call centers came about after the telephone became a primary form of communication. Customers had problems and issues that needed solving and companies soon started offering customer service help via the phone.

The internet arrived in the 1990s and social media in the early 2000s, allowing companies to provide new customer interaction channels via websites, social media platforms, email, and more.

Call centers/customer service centers soon evolved into “contact centers,” allowing customers to engage with businesses in ways beyond the phone: email, text, chat, etc.

Known as “omnichannel” customer communication, contact centers now hinge on businesses’ need to satisfy their customers’ expectations where the customers want those expectations satisfied, such as via the phone, via a text message or “live chat” online or on the phone.

Omnichannel customer service no longer means customers need to hold on to the phone for minutes or even hours: their questions and concerns can be addressed in real-time via the help of technology as it helps live agents come online much more quickly and/or live chat/text.

In short, customer service/call centers have morphed into contact centers that:

  • Have moved from the traditional call center to a cloud-based yet-in-real-time contact center experience that allows them to interact with AI agents and/or live agents, as needed. Many customers first interact with AI agents and can easily move to live contact agents, depending on their needs and concerns.
  • Back in the day, any agent next in line on the phone “tree” answered customers’ questions. Now customers can easily be routed to “skills-based” agents if their issues require higher-level help and/or depending on the type of issue the customer is having.
  • Many contact center agents now work remotely, often from their homes, on company-provided contact technology.
  • Contact agents are much more proactive, rather than reactive, now that AI and technology and their own training help them anticipate customer needs.

Why you should consider working in a contact center

Jobs are plentiful and new contact centers open all the time: there now are more than 36,000 call center businesses in the U.S., an increase of 5.7 percent from 2021.

Pay rates are rising: the average hourly wage for an agent in the U.S. is $16.70/hour, up from an average of $14.66 in 2019.

If you’ve worked n retail, contact center positions tend to pay more per hour.

You definitely will expand your communication skills. You’ll be thoroughly trained in listening/questioning skills, actively listening to your customers, and defusing conflict. And far better than you would in any book or classroom.

You’ll develop excellent customer services skills, which will serve you well in any career, no matter what it might be.

You’ll master the art of problem-solving and you’ll soon find yourself becoming exceptionally creative in solving customers’ problems to their satisfaction (which is very satisfying for you).

The types of advanced contact center positions you could move into include:

  • Live chat agent (You answer questions via the “chatbot” function; you are typing answers to customer questions.)
  • Agent training specialist
  • Agent training manager
  • Contact center management trainee
  • Contact center team leader
  • Contact center agent manager
  • Contact center operations manager
  • Contact center director
  • Contact center vice president
  • And so on…

Director and vice president positions require college degrees (often master’s degrees) but team managers and supervisors, trainers, and even lead trainers to do not.

Let’s say you’ve decided to make a career in today’s contact centers; here’s how to advance within it:

  • Don’t be shy about asking your supervisor for more responsibility.
  • If you find that your colleagues tend to ask you questions about how to handle tough customers and/or technology issues, consider talking to your supervisor about moving into an agent training position.
  • Pay close attention during staff meetings. Take notes. Offer suggestions. If you think you have a great suggestion to improve something, write it out and approach your manager with your solution.
  • Learn all you can about the contact center industry. It’s easy to do via the internet.
  • Develop collegial relationships with your co-workers: you may become their supervisor someday.
  • Show initiative in all aspects of your position. And especially do so when a higher position opens for which you believe you’re qualified: reach out to your supervisor/manager about your interest in being promoted.

Our contact center clients need you!

If you’re looking for work that allows you to work from home (at least a few days a week, if not all the time), that pays well and offers a lot of room for career growth, take a look at our current contact center openings and apply to those that interest you.

Do you have some questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

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