Is a career in a 24 hour call center right for me?
I asked 5 of my friends to give me a description of what they thought an agent in a call center does. A few of them had a basic knowledge, while the other two had absolutely no clue. If you have ever wondered if a position as a virtual receptionist in a 24 hour call center would be right for you, this blog will answer some of the questions you may have.
What a career in a 24 Hour Call Center is like
The first day
I found out quickly when I was handed the task of new hires at A Courteous Communications, the word “test” really freaks some people out. The reason I say this is because the first part of our hiring process is a typing test. When an applicant first comes in and is not aware of the testing, their faces say it all, fear strikes. Each applicant is required to pass a typing test with very little to no errors. The test also requires a speed of at least 35 wpm. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, that doesn’t sound like much, but if you ever have the chance to walk through our 24 hour call center you may think differently. The rapid sounds of clicking keyboards are everywhere. It is actually pretty amazing. The second test is an aptitude test; aptitude tests are given to each applicant as well. It is a short test on memory, comprehension and spelling. It helps us find out if you are up on your telephone lingo.
Once you have completed the two tests, they are reviewed by the employment coordinator. If both tests are passed, the second stage of the employment process is started.
The next step
Step two of the hiring process in our 24 hour call center is by far one of the most important. The employment coordinator and applicant sit down for an interview. During this interview both the coordinator and applicant have the opportunity to ask questions. The main part of this interview is confirming the applicant’s schedule availability. As a 24 hour emergency call center, our employees are required to work nights and weekends. If this does not work for the applicant and their schedule, we are able to decide right away that the call center industry is not a match for them. The cost to train one employee to the basic start level at A Courteous Communications is over 1,000 dollars. This does not include the continuous quality control training throughout each agent’s career. It is one of the most important elements to make sure the applicant is comfortable with our unique schedule before beginning the costly training process.
Once an applicant has passed the two tests, and has confirmed they are comfortable with the schedule, the hiring paperwork is completed by the new employee. This paperwork includes items such as, a W2 Form, schedule time and day off preferences, confidentiality agreement and headset release forms. Upon completion, the applicant is now referred to as an A Courteous Communications employee. Welcome aboard.
Just like the first day of school, the first day of training can make our new employees nervous. Every employee at A Courteous Communications takes this into consideration, and tries to make our new member feel at home. A senior agent is assigned to do complete side-by-side training with our new member for the first 5 days. Before training in the call center begins, our senior agent takes our new member for a full walk-through of the call center. I love this part; most people have never seen the inside of a busy 24 hour call center. They end the tour in the break room, this is where a locker is assigned for personal items, cell phones etc.
Side by side training begins on the first day of the training process. This training is done with a senior agent taking calls and our new employee watching and learning the basic functions of the call center keyboards. If comfortable enough after a few hours of watching, the senior agent will walk our new employee through their first live call.
The days to follow
Just like anything, some pick up on training quicker than others. Once a new agent is able to take their own calls and send the message to the dispatch team on their own, they are assigned to their very own work station. This is normally a very exciting achievement. This process can take anywhere from 3 to 5 days of side-by-side training first.
Now that our confident agent is busy taking calls in their new work station, experience starts to build, and with experience, comes speed. Once the agent is easily taking calls, the level of calls are increased as well as the introduction of priority calls. Becoming a part of the emergency call dispatch team is very desired by every agent. Hard work and reliability helps our agents meet their ever growing goals at A Courteous Communications.