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Call or contact centre operator

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Summary of occupation

Call or contact centre operators respond to telephone or email enquiries and complaints about the goods and services that an organisation offers. They take incoming calls and messages, assist customers with their specific inquiries, and provide callers with appropriate information or advice. They may also forward calls on to the most appropriate or relevant department of an  organisation, follow up calls by letter, fax or email, ring customers to promote products or services, and also conduct phone surveys with customers.

ANZSCO description: Answers customer telephone, Internet and email inquiries about goods and services, and promotes goods and services.
Alternative names: Customer Service Representative, Helpline Operator, Senior Customer Service Representative, Telesales Representative
Specialisations:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Call centre operators need:

  • a pleasant and friendly phone manner
  • good communication skills
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • computer literacy and data entry skills
  • the ability to retain knowledge about their organisation's products and services
  • to be discrete and sensitive when dealing with confidential customer information.
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Working conditions

Call or contact centre operators work indoors, usually sitting down for extended periods of time. They work at desks, often using hands-free telephone headsets whilst working on computers. They spend a significant amount of their working day talking to customers over the phone. They need to be particularly familiar with the products and services that their organisation sells or deals with as they are often required to pass this information on to their customers.

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Salary details

On average, call or contact centre operators can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. 

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Tools and technologies

Call or contact centre operators usually work with computers and hands-free telephone headsets. Although most work in offices, often with other operators, some may work from home. They should be familiar with word processing and spreadsheet computer programs, and other means for undertaking data entry. They usually work in large organisations surrounded by many other employees.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

It is possible to work as a call or contact centre operator without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

​You may improve your employment prospects if you complete a traineeship in customer contact. The traineeship takes between 12 and 18 months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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