If you’ve worked in Warehouse Operative jobs for a while you might be starting to think about your future and possibly how to change careers. Here we explore how a change to a Call Centre Advisor job could be your first step into a new profession.
In our post Future of Work - Top 10 Job Roles of the Future we looked at which job sectors are set to grow over the next few years. Distinctly human skills such as listening, understanding and empathy cannot be replaced by a machine, making jobs that requires these skills future proof. A position in Customer Service as a Call Centre Advisor fits this profile perfectly. Whether or not you see this as a permanent career change, being a Call Centre Advisor can be a way to get into a new sector, start learning about the business and then work your way up.
What are the basic requirements for a Call Centre Advisor?
- Good communication skills
Do you like talking to people? Are you a good listener? Are you patient? Do you like helping people? If your answer is yes to all of these then working as a Call Centre Advisor could be a great career move for you.
We spoke to Stuart, who worked in a call centre environment and he told us,
“Communication skills are the most important thing and the ability to read between the lines. It’s also about the listening as well as talking and making sure that you actively listen, that’s the key.
Some people will require you to be extremely patient, others may be chatty and friendly and then there will be those who are unhappy, frustrated or even angry. You need to adapt to whoever is on the other end of the line and treat each caller as an individual. Never expect the next person to be like the last”.
- Basic computer skills and multi-tasking ability
As a Call Centre Advisor, you need basic computer skills for data entry, emailing and reporting. In many cases you will need to do this while on the phone, but the person the other end of the line doesn’t want long silences whilst listening to you clicking away. So multi-tasking is key, being able to keep talking while typing, still giving attention to detail and accurately recording the necessary information.
- Team player
When you think of a call centre what do you see? A long lines of desks with people in headsets? As a Call Centre Advisor you need to be a good team player, to work alongside your colleagues every day, help each other when needed.
What transferable skills are there for a Warehouse Operative becoming a Call Centre Advisor?
If you have always worked in a warehouse you might think you don’t have the skills for working in a call centre, but many skills that a Warehouse Operative has are transferable to a call centre position, such as:
- Good Team player
- Good communication skills
- Organisational skills
- Basic numeracy and writing skills
- Data entry and computer knowledge
- Ability to work under pressure
As mentioned above being a good team player is important when working in a call centre. As a Warehouse Operative you work as part of a team, communicating with your co-workers and assisting each other to get the job done. This is an important attribute you can take with you when you change jobs.
In a warehouse job you are also responsible for organising your workload, prioritising your tasks to ensure you complete them correctly and on time. As a Call Centre Advisor there will also be certain expectations to meet, so it’s important that you are able to take responsibility for your own work.
A warehouse can be a very busy place and you often have to work under pressure. Coping with pressure and dealing with the resulting frustration, both your own and that of your co-workers, are things you have to learn to handle. If you are proven to be able to deal with people patiently and calmly during stressful situations, this will help immensely with your move into a call centre job.
In a warehouse you need to be physically fit and on your feet for long periods. In a call centre it will be quite the opposite, as you will be sitting for hours. Both can be tiring in their own ways, so having the stamina to make it through your shift is important.
How can you overcome any experience gaps with this job change?
In a warehouse job, you will likely have acquired some basic computer skills, but you may want to improve your computer literacy by getting an IT qualification. Visit your local library or check their online resources as some will offer basic courses, or they will have information about where you can find a suitable class in your area. Local colleges will also have a variety of IT courses to choose from.
Alternatively you might want to think about a specific qualification in customer service or as a Contact Centre Operator. City & Guilds have lots of customer service related courses which will help you gain new skills or adapt your current ones to help you in your career change.
Lots of industries require people to work in call centres and some companies will provide their own complete training program. If you are lucky to find a job like this then the training will cover any gaps you may have from your transition.
As a Warehouse Operative, you may feel that you have not experienced working directly with the public. However, maybe you have to deal with delivery drivers or perhaps you have interactions with suppliers? Every day you talk with and work alongside your co-workers. In each instance, you have to adapt the way you speak and listen to people according to the situation, these are good communication skills to help you in your future career.
How do you get a job as a Call Centre Advisor?
Jobs as Customer Service Advisors in a call centre are available all over the country, in businesses of varying sizes across many different sectors. Perhaps you could try a temporary position to begin with to get a feel for the job and see if this career change is right for you.
When interviewing for a Call Centre Advisor job you need to show that you have good verbal skills and are able to clearly communicate information. It’s possible that as this is a call centre role, the initial interview may take place over the phone, so you need to consider your phone manner. As mentioned earlier, you need to ‘actively listen’ which will help you create a conversation and show that you are fully engaged. If you can convey this in the interview then you are a good way there.
Be prepared with a few examples of situations where you’ve had to deal with different personalities through your warehouse work or even life experiences. Transferable skills don’t always come from your job, sometimes they are from other areas of your life, but you need to be able to explain that when going for the interview.
How do you overcome challenges and progress in your new career as a Call Centre Advisor?
The challenges faced in a call centre can vary depending on the nature of the business you are working for as some sectors may present more difficult situations than others. We asked some Call Centre Advisors their tips for anyone wanting to move into this job role:
“Know the product or service of your Company inside out, do your homework.”
“Remember, you are the face of the business that employs you and are likely the only contact the customer will have with that business.”
“An 8 hour shift on the end of a phone can get really tiring and frustrating but you have to treat every call as important, so smile and be happy – a smile can still be ‘heard’ over the phone.”
“Always say to yourself that you have done your best and it is not personal. Leave the job at work when you finish for the day.”
What are the future career prospects for a Call Centre Advisor?
As you begin your career change to work in a call centre, look for roles in an industry you would like to move into, such as finance or insurance. Starting in a call centre of any business will give you the opportunity to learn how that business works from the ground up.
To be a Customer Service Advisor you will need to know everything about the product or service the company provides. Eventually, if you put in the time and effort you will become the ‘go-to’ person who knows all the answers and then you are ready to start thinking about the next step on your career ladder.
Being a Call Centre Advisor can be the stepping-stone to other careers within that sector, whether it’s moving into administration or secretarial work, or perhaps HR or marketing. The people skills and knowledge you gain in Customer Service will be invaluable as you continue in your new future proof career.