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Phone work offers flexibility

DRAKE International call centre specialist Connie Dattilo said the industry was increasingly becoming 24-hours a day, seven days a week in nature, and most call centres offered a number of flexible employment opportunities to both the part-time and full-time worker.

“Call centre work is attractive to mothers and university students preferring to work part-time. However many agents are looking at their role as a career path move into the industry.

“The beauty of call centre work is that anyone, of any age, can do it. Whether they are are young or old, people who enjoy working in a customer-focused team environment are well suited. A good mix makes the best team,” she said.

“Call centre work may require customer servicing, telemarketing, complaint handling and even debt collection so agents need to possess excellent interpersonal skills. Business to business transactions are usually straightforward but agents dealing with domestic clients need to have strong negotiation skills.

“Of course, dealing with disgruntled clients can be stressful, so the ability to manage difficult situations is also necessary.

“Being telephone based, and with telecommuting being more widespread, call centres also open up employment opportunities for handicapped people.”

Ms Dattilo said while automation in call centre operations is becoming more prevalent, “it should only be used to achieve ‘Best in Practice’ standards”.

“Advanced technology and highly trained staff work well in tandem but the human voice can never be replaced...it’s just a matter of at which point in the conversation it comes in.

“Remember, you never get a second chance at creating a good first impression.”

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