“You work in the call center, right?”

I looked at the random aunty in surprise. This was during the period that I was hiding my new job from others and I was tired of lying. But at the same time I couldn’t face people if they found out I had left the call center and their reaction was relief.

“Um yeah, sorta. The company has a call center but I work in a different department.”

Ha! There. That wasn’t a lie. I actually wasn’t sure if my new job had a call center but they had a Customer Care team. That’s almost the same thing.

But the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. I was tired of people looking down at the call center. Sure, no one dreams of being a call center agent. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s perks.

Below, I’m debunking some myths about working in a call center:

Myth #1: Working in a call center is a Low Status Job

Okay, I feel like I have to address this one immediately. Personally I have encountered this in my community so I don’t know if everyone feels this way or if I am just surrounded by really small-minded people. NO job is a low status job. Not wanting to work because you think a job is “beneath you” is actually quite embarrassing…for you!

No one is above or below anyone else. (Except beetroot. Beetroot is beneath me because it is awful and idc how awful my iron issues are. I will NOT go back to that life. Just let me faint).

Myth #2: Working in a call center is a low-paying job

My next favourite myth. Firstly I have seen some incredibly high salaries come out of the call center. Secondly if you’re thinking the Sales Agents go home with no idea of how they’re going to pay their bills, you’re wrong. Several agents take home over R20k or R30k. I have seen people leave Customer Care (with it’s stable fixed income) to go back to the Sales floor because it offers better earning opportunities. And no to mention the amazing incentives like paid holidays, tickets for events and even appliances. (Can you tell I’m jealous? I shouldn’t be punished just because I have no skills as a Salesperson).

Myth #3: It’s a dead-end job with no opportunities for career growth

Career opportunities for a call center range from your typical upward growth such as team leader, manager or supervisor. But there’s also other departments that you can move into depending on the size of the organisation.

I know agents who started in Sales and moved to Training, Human Resources and even Marketing (this was a win I took personally. Go, girl! Internal promotions make me so happy). What’s more many call centers are big on offering training to develop their staff.

Myth #4: Customers are always shouting at Agents

Okay this isn’t completely untrue. But like any job, you deal with a range of people. Some are angry and always shouting, Some are actually really nice. Call can be complaints, general queries or just someone who wants to know what products are available. The great thing about being an agent is any call- whether bad or good- has to end at some point. You just keep going on. The call center is an excellent place to learn perseverance.

Myth #5: Call center work is easy, and anyone can do it

I mean technically yes. But in actual fact, not everyone can do it. And not everyone can do it well. Calling people to sell them a product seems easy. But you need sales skills which not everyone has. Trainers are fond of saying “it’s just a skill. You’ll learn it.” In my experience, it is a skill that not everyone has. Besides that you need patience if you’re going to be dealing with any angry customers and it is a huge help to be able to multi-task.

Myth #6: All you do is phone people

Call centers have a multitude of roles. From Customer Care to Recruitment, Business Development and Client Services. There are tons of different departments with different responsibilities. Typically this is the part where people’s eyes glaze over as I try to explain how a call center works but just trust me on this, tons of departments (which then means tons of opportunity).

What are your thoughts on call centers? I’d love to know below!

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