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Has anyone worked in a call centre before?

  1. Sep 2, 2010 #1
    Is it bad?

    That places I'm considering is for big bank call centres. Working at these would allow me to get an insurance and mutual funds selling licence which can lead to possibly better jobs when the market gets better.

    I need a job soon that isn't retail. If I go into retail, I'll be stuck there forever and I rather be stuck in a call centre.

    My move out date is Sept. 30, so I need something soon. I have places to stay for free or dirt cheap but I prefer to have my own place.

    Hence, anyone have any tips on call centres? (Keep in mind, I am not calling people to sell. People call me.)

    Note: Maybe it should be in career guidance! My mistake. Not really guidance... more like... I CAN'T GET A JOB! AHHHH!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2010 #2


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    A few years ago my youngest daughter took a job with a large mutual funds company processing Mutual funds. No selling, no experience necessary, they paid for all of her training,. People sent in applications and she set up their accounts and if they sent money, she'd apply it to their accounts. She hated sitting at a desk all day and quit. This was before she returned to school full time.

    She said they hire all of the time, so perhaps this is something you can get into. Good luck!
  4. Sep 2, 2010 #3
    Not sure what this has to do with a career is physics....but nonetheless. I have had a coupe friends who did incoming call centers, they said it was pretty good. Outgoing calls though, I have never known anyone who managed to work more than a day doing that.

    If you are working with incoming calls and there is good chance for advancement/valuable experience then it doesn't sound like a bad idea.

    But for me a job like that would be the wrong kind of boring, I like the data analysis/report writing kind of boring...since I find it exciting.
  5. Sep 2, 2010 #4
    But yeah, I would get way too sick of a job like that which is why I like science. But then again I know lots of people who get along perfectly fine with jobs like that and would die if they had to do science.
  6. Sep 2, 2010 #5
    Sounds like my Master's.

    One of the reasons I'm leaning on it is because you work weekends every now and then. This gives me the chance to do interviews on the weekdays that I will have off. Just the market is really bad now and can't afford to stay unemployed for months.
  7. Sep 2, 2010 #6
    Most of my friends graduating from graduate school in science aren't getting jobs. When you need to make a living, you need to do it and it doesn't matter what you like or don't like.

    Yeah, I rather teach college. I rather work at a finance or accounting firm but I can't wait a year to land such a job. That would give me atleast $30k in lost wages sitting around.

    Well see if I get it. The market is so tough that I can't even get some call centre jobs. The only ones that are guaranteed nowadays are Outbound spots. My buddy did it for 6 months only because he would randomly stay silent when people picked up and they would hang up.
  8. Sep 2, 2010 #7
    Funny, Evo, my youngest daughter worked in a call center too, a whole morning, she did not return for the afternoon. So I guess that work would really need to suit you well.

    Anyway, with the social structures gradually changing and the economical culture behaving rather erratic, it's rather tough to balance future dreams with reality. studying, learning a trade, just working on the floor. I don't think anybody can give sounds advice.
  9. Sep 2, 2010 #8
    I think I had a girl bring a computer in for repair once.. She said she worked at something like one.. It sounded like absolute h*** to me personally.. She said she would work from friday night to sunday morning then sleep all of sunday and go to school on monday.. Not really my thing but I guess if your a people person, like to stay up all night and talk on the phone all the time. Then this is pretty ideal.. sadly I am not a people person and hate talking on the phone ^^'

    Any way best of luck hope you find some greener pastures if this doesn't pan out as the dream job..
  10. Sep 2, 2010 #9
    Oh this is not something I want to do. I don't think anyone here understands.

    The reality is... you need to work. I can't get the jobs I want right now. Sure I would to sit around unemployed for a year like everyone is doing nowadays, but really I don't want to do that.

    I might as well make money. And keep in my mind, I'm not going to school right now. I would not work past 9pm or earlier than 8am.

    All my friends who graduated... only two found jobs in their field out of like 30 that I know. And just about everyone just sat around and accumulated more debt. That's just dumb.
  11. Sep 2, 2010 #10
    Thats crazy, only two? I can't imagine paying all that money for a degree and not even getting to work in the field, and then not doing anything at all just sounds horrid

    Hope you find a job you actually want to do, also not to impose but I am curious to what you actually want to do (not sure if you said it and I missed it.)
  12. Sep 2, 2010 #11
    I have a background in Finance and Accouting, and I have an M.Sc. in Mathematics. My two preferred options is to get a real finance/accounting job or teach mathematics at the college level. Neither of which are available right now.

    This is the reality of a bad economy. Canada's economy is still bad. Don't let the government fool you into thinking it's getting better.
  13. Sep 2, 2010 #12
    I have been there, Norman. I have myself worked in quite a few different call centres. Twice for major banks and once for a mobile phone company, as well as some smaller firms. All-in, I have about 6 years experience - what do you want to know? Feel free to PM me if there is any specific advice you think I might be able to offer.

    For me, call centres were never really as bad as most people make out. Sure, the work is soul-destroying, but at the end of the day the jobs are simple. The customer service part of jobs is easy - you sit there and have a chat with someone for a few minutes at a time, and with your problem solving abilities it'll be a total breeze. Rule #1: be a nice guy.

    The thing that got me with call centre work is similar to what would get me at the bottom line of any big organisation. From your supervisor up, everyone assumes you're incompetent. This is a bit of an old school attitude, and lots of firms are trying to modernize but it's still a huge problem. In some way it's good that everything is spelled out - but it's bad because it means you end up with only a few simple tasks to repeat to the ^10, and when things go wrong there's normally an assumption that you've somehow messed up. Otherwise, you'll find a totally different atmosphere with things like breaks. All of the call centres I've worked in have computer logging systems that record when you're no longer available for calls - the total of that time for the whole day should be 1hr. 30 minutes for lunch, and two 15 minute breaks. In the final call centre job I had if you went 1 minute (yes, 1) over this time you were docked 15 minutes pay - automatically. There's no ifs or buts, no explanations - it's automatic. This part of the culture is what makes the jobs difficult.

    Having said that, for this sort of work the pay has always been reasonable to me and in sales there is *a lot* of money to be made considering the jobs are available without qualification. Once job I had when I was a student, for instance, I worked 16 hours per week, and would pull in £500 basic per month + £400 in bonus. This is somewhere between double and triple what my friends would make with similar hours. Shame that I am awful with money :smile:

    I would try to get used to a particular way of thinking before you go into sales though. It sounds awful, but once you get a conscience you'll start to stammer - and if there's any hint of a falter, you won't get the sale. Pretend the customers aren't people. Yes, it's extremely important that you meet their needs - and only sell when there is a need for the product - but it's important that your mind is free of a worry that you're selling something that is somehow not fit-for-purpose. If they answer your questions, and fit-the-bill based on that, then you're done. Get the sale, and that's that.

    You should also take care with the 'they call me' point - it isn't always what it seems. You might be asked, for instance, to talk to people that thought they were phoning up for something else. You might talk to people that specifically were phoning up for something else and have been passed off to you as an extra. Basically, don't expect that everyone that you speak to actually wants to talk to you.
  14. Sep 2, 2010 #13


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    Gold Member

    Yes, when I was in college I worked in a call center. Like others have said, it's numbing. But when you need a job, you need a job...you gotta do it, the bills have to be paid.

    I sold vinyl siding. It was the mid 1980s, when it was a new product. I ended up doing well, I made lots of sales in the short time I was there. Funny thing is, at the time I had never even seen the product, and really had no idea even what it was! I just read the script and every once in a while someone would say, "Yes, I'm interested in buying vinyl siding." :eek:

    I didn't stay there long. I got a better job...as a cocktail waitress, haha.
  15. Sep 3, 2010 #14
    Good way to put it. Pay the bills. Make a living.

    Then the economy will roll around and pick up. Employers will see I didn't sit around and do nothing!
  16. Sep 3, 2010 #15
    I admire your attitude and perseverance and really hope you end up where you want to be.
  17. Sep 4, 2010 #16
    For sure. I just need to keep working hard.

    I will write the CFA (Financial Analyst) exams too. And probably apply for CGA (Accounting Designation in Canada).

    We will see. I hope I get it.
  18. Sep 6, 2010 #17
    Since you are done with formal education (for now?), is it possible for you to simultaneously work in a call centre and voluntee some of your time to an organization that will allow you to apply your skills? Perhaps that experience will open some doors here and there.
  19. Sep 18, 2010 #18
    I would recommend you to work in a call centre which can provide you a better scope for your future growth. :smile:
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