The Reality of Working in a Call Centre
SERCO, the international service company has recently announced that 450 new jobs would become available with the company’s offices in Cardiff. The company opened it operations in Cardiff in 2011.
At the time SERCO has announced the creation of 600 new jobs, but in reality 400 employees were hired. This year, the company aims to have a total of 850 employees working in its Cardiff operations.
According to the company, the new jobs are a result of expansion for its existing portfolio of well-known clients, as well as a major new contract being signed with a new company.
SERCO provides services in different areas including sales, technical support and customer service to a variety of companies that do business in the UK. Some of its clients in 2011 include very.co.uk, Littlewoods and the UK based Shop Direct Group.
The company has already started recruiting for the new jobs, all of which are permanent positions with the company’s call centres. A large chunk of the jobs will be sales and customer service related with some management roles also becoming available. About 30,000 people in Wales currently work in call centres.
So what is working in call centres actually like?
Call centres are basically centres where large volumes of customer queries or customer support requirement can be dealt with. It may also be a centralised location from which telesales operations can take place.
Companies like SERCO can afford to offer cost effective services because of the large volume of work they deal with. Instead of investing in in-house customer service operations, many businesses and organisations outsource their service related work to companies like SERCO, which often proves to be a more economical alternative for them.
- Call centres usually deal with customer queries and support, providing technical support to customers, making sales or telemarketing, offering information and guidance about existing products etc.
- Depending on the type of work involved, workers could have specific performance targets to meet as part of the job.
- Call centres usually have a workstation for every worker with a computer at each work station. Employees can access relevant information about customers on the company’s database, depending on the type of service they are providing.
- Call centre workers usually deal directly with customers over the phone, so some essential skills and qualities needed for the job are good communication skills, good telephone manner, good personal management skills and a high level of self-confidence.
- Since the work usually involves dealing with a computer, workers also need to have a certain level of IT skills.
- Basic pay for call centre jobs usually within sales or customer service can be around £12,000 with an hourly rate of just above minimum wage.
- Management positions can draw around £18 – £25,000 per year, but specific salaries will obviously depend on the role and the company.
According to certain industry surveys, SERCO has had the record of paying its employees around 5% lower than the average market pay rate within the service industry.