10 Negatives of Working in a Call Center and 5 Positives.
I have worked in a 24/7 technical call center for about 10 years. Below are 10 negatives and 5 positives of both the technical and customer service type of call center.
1. Negatively looked upon.
There are several different types of call centers, for example, the ones that are very technical and the customer service ones where a customer calls in and complains. The technical ones require several years of education or experience while the customer service ones require outstanding phone etiquette and patience. Whichever one you are in you may always be looked down upon because many see call center work as easy work. They will say that it is just answering phones even by people in a different department in the same building. Ones in call center work it may be difficult to find a job outside of call center work, even in the same company.
2. Emotionally draining.
For someone to work in a call center one needs strong emotions, an employee needs high emotional intelligence. Especially in the customer service type of call center where employees get complaints and at times gets yelled at. A customer service job can change the person and that does not matter if itís in a call center or someone working at a local electronics store in the product return and exchange position. Over time the employee will become less emotional because the employee needs to withhold negative emotions such as anger. It is nice though if the call center has mostly nice customers that work for the same company. If the customer is not an employee of the company then they are more likely to get aggressive and use such methods as beeping devices to make ones ears hurt. Although itís easier to deal with someone over the phone then in person, a phone call can always be disconnected.
3. Repetitive work.
In any type of call center the work will eventually become repetitive. The technical type of call center may take more time to get repetitive than a customer service type. That is true for most professions, but some things are just too repetitive in a call center. For example, answering the phone the same way every day for several years. Eventually an employee sitting at home may use a personal cell phone and pick up the phone the same way one does at work ďThank you for calling (enter company name) help desk, how can I help you todayĒ.
4. Micromanagement is taken to extremes.
A call center agent will be tracked and monitored at all times. There are all types of software that is used to track, record, and take screen shots or videos of the call center employee at all times. A call center agent will meet with a team leader every two weeks or more to go over these stats and every meeting the employee will hear negativity. No matter how good one is at the job there is always some negativity that the employee will hear. Many managers and team leaders enjoy giving this negativity, they see it as a way to motivate the employee or they see themselves as doing a great job.
5. Management does not recognize outstanding performance.
A call center employee or Call Center SME (Subject Matter Expert) are usually the only people that know how to do the job. A technical call center employee may fix a complicated issue that no one in the department can fix but because the employee did not ask the customer or technician on the other line if they would like to be provided a ticket number or if they would like to take a survey they will get penalized. What matters most to the department is how many calls you take a day, at times it seems that phone etiquette is more important than actually fixing the problem. That is because most managers and team leaders have never done the job. Ones in a while a call center employee will get promoted to a management position, but most get hired from outside the organization. Promoting a good call center employee is expensive because a new call center employee will need to be hired and trained. Classroom and on the job training at times takes months, certain call center work is not easy.
6. Ear pain / Ear problems.
In every job an employee will experience some type of strain. It can be back pain from working construction or ear pain from working in a call center. Most office workers will experience eye pain or carpal tunnel but with call center work in addition to what most office workers go through a call center employee will experience ear pain. Ear pain can get very annoying at times, a call center employee should not share a headset with another employee to avoid ear infections. A call center headset should be cleaned every so often with alcohol swaps to prevent ear infections. Call center work can lead to ear problems such as tinnitus and headaches.
7. Working from home.
Many companies will offer their employees an option to work from home. Call center employees can work from home also but will experience more technical problems then non call center employees. A call center employee will need to understand how to work with special call center software that allows them to make and receive phone calls at home. This at times can cause many problems and stress in troubleshooting the problems. At times because of this software the employee loses time (sometimes hours) in trying to get the software to connect or the software will just disconnect, needs to come in to the office, and then needs to make up the time in the office.
8. Working holidays or not typical office hours.
Depending on the type of call center an employee may need to work holidays or hours where most employees are not in the office, many call centers have 24/7 support. Managers and team leaders enjoy having holidays off but call center employees are required to work a certain number of holidays a year. Managers and team leader can also work faster to get work done and leave a little early but call center employees need to work their full time, if there is work or not. The office may be empty other then call center employees which may make the work look depressive at times.
9. Getting a call right before signing off.
At times a call center employee will not mind staying late to do some overtime, but there are times when one needs to go. There are times when one needs to leave work at the scheduled time but a call comes in just a few seconds before signing out. And now instead of going home one is stuck 2 more hours trying to fix something that could have been done by someone else. If itís not busy then it can be easy to pass it off, although most employees do not like to take things over, while if itís busy then your shift has just been extended.
10. Outage and transfer calls.
Outage calls and calls that come in to the wrong call queue can tire anyone out. A call center employee will several times a day get a customer that came into the wrong call queue and they have to be transferred. Transferring a couple calls a day is not a big problem. But there are times when, for example, there is an outage. Outage in the system where all calls go into the wrong call queue. Or a system outage that the customer uses where all the call center employee does is tell every customer that it will be soon fixed. Taking such calls for several hours a day can tire someone out from repetition. These are easy repetitive mentally draining issues just because they are so repetitive and easy. Fortunately in a technical call center such repetitive issues occur infrequently.
All the above 10 points will result in more stress then for an employee who works in a position where there are no phone calls.
5 Positives of Working in a Call Center
1. There are shift bids.
Shift bids are only a positive for the employee that has been with the company for several years. Shift bids are mostly done by seniority, which is why some have not experience sitting in traffic for several years. Time is saved as well as gas saved. There are always a few employees who get a shift they donít want, for example, working both Saturdays and Sundays, and/or overnights.
2. At times you might have some free time.
Sometimes it can be very slow where a call center employee can read a book or talk with coworkers.
Overtime is offered when it gets very busy, which is a benefit if cash is needed.
4. Switching shifts.
Since everyone works different shifts in a 24/7 call center, employees can switch shifts. This is great when someone needs a certain day or time off.
5. Get to talk to people all over.
A call center employee may have a chance to talk to people all over the country and sometimes internationally. A call center employee will be able to identify different forms of speech from different parts of the country, different slangs. Will travel to different states and be able to identify the conversations that they had with people in those areas.