We have all heard of “call centre jobs” being a popular option among jobseekers fresh out of college, or even school.

It often comes with the image of a person with a headphone sitting at a desk cold-calling all day.

But call centre jobs are more than that. Here are a few FAQs to clear the air about call centre jobs and how you can start a career with them.

What are call centres?

Call centres are an essential component of customer service, sales and research. They may refer to offices which deal with these, specifically through the medium of telephone calls. At these centres, agents or executives reach out or respond to a company’s customer base regarding sales, technical support and other issues.

A common term associated with call centre jobs is BPO, which stands for business process outsourcing. In this context, it refers to call centres which are a third-party service provider hired by a company, either situated in its home country or overseas.

What do call centre employees do?

People working in call centres are mostly customer care or customer service executives. They make or receive phone calls for a number of reasons which include helping customers with technical problems and general enquiries.

They're responsible for tracking open cases, resolving issues, following up on complaints and grievances, providing support with financial transactions, and informing clients and customers about new products and services.

Role Major responsibilities
Call centre/BPO/customer service executive Attending to customer queries, technical support, solving complaints, making sales calls for the company, surveying customer base

Why build a career in a call centre?

A call centre job prepares a person well for a career in the customer service sector and beyond. It teaches good communication skills along with several other technical and soft skills.

Scope of call centre jobs
• The professional skills gained from a call centre job, like negotiation, organisation and multitasking, are very transferable in nature. These give call centre agents an edge throughout their careers, whether they go ahead to pursue senior customer service jobs, sales, marketing or management.
• The nature of call centre jobs can be more flexible than other standard 9-to-5 jobs, which means they are a good entry point for freshers, freelancers, remote workers and people restarting their careers.
• Call centre jobs have great growth opportunities. There are many examples of agents moving up to become team leaders, then supervisors and then managers. Perhaps the most well known success story is that of Andrea Ayers, who started as a customer service representative and went on to become the CEO of Convergys, which was the world’s largest call centre management company.

Demand for call centre jobs
• Call centre jobs are very relevant since all businesses need a solid customer care or support team to keep the links with its customer base intact. The need for 24-hour customer support by certain industries means that some companies hire agents for both day and night shifts.
• Despite automated customer support systems coming up, call centre or customer care executives are in a lot of demand. Automated voice or text support cannot fully replace the experience of speaking to a live agent on the other end, and businesses want to make sure their customers are treated with the respect that a machine cannot provide.
• In India, the BPO sector is always a magnet for call centre employees. With countries like USA outsourcing their operations and setting up bases in “offshore” locations like India, call centre agents are always required to meet their demands.

Pros and cons of a career in call centres

Pros Cons
Does not require any specific education or qualifications Takes time and years of experience before getting a promotion
Flexible hours and opportunity to work alongside studying Long working hours and night shifts
Teaches essential skills like communication and problem-solving The stress of dealing with abusive or difficult customers
Plenty of vacancies and opportunities Risk of losing job to automated or computerised customer support services

Qualification required for call centre jobs

Call centre jobs usually do not require any specific educational qualifications. To be a call centre agent, the minimum required education may be a bachelor’s degree or even a high school certificate.

Degree Field of study
High School Diploma/Bachelors Commerce, Arts, Communication, etc.

Any experience with communications or sales and marketing is an added advantage. Call centres might also look for people with fluency in English or other native languages and familiarity with using computers and the internet.

Courses and certifications for call centre jobs

Any course or certificate in telemarketing, sales or customer service is appropriate for a career in a call centre. There are several courses and modules available online which can be a highlight on your CV. Listed below are some of the popular ones which might be useful before applying for a call centre job.

  1. Website: Udemy
    Course: Mastering Telesales
    Price: INR 8,000
    Format: Online
    Learning duration: Self-paced (Approx. 2 hours)
  2. Website: Udemy
    Course: Fundamentals of Telemarketing
    Price: INR 3,200
    Format: Online
    Learning duration: Self-paced (Approx. 2 hours 49 minutes)
  3. Website: Udemy
    Course: Telephone Sales Training Certification
    Price: INR 7,680
    Format: Online
    Learning duration: Self-paced (Approx. 2 hours)
  4. Website: Oxford Home Study
    Course: Call Centre Training
    Price: £ 310 (Approx. INR 29,000)
    Format: Online/Distance Learning
    Learning duration: Self-paced (Approx. 200 hours)
  5. Website: The Call Center School
    Course: First Class Phone Skills
    Price: $49 (Approx. INR 3,500)
    Format: Online
    Learning duration: Self-paced (Approx. 3 hours 45 minutes)
  6. Website: The Call Center School
    Course: Frontline Fundamentals
    Price: $109 (Approx. INR 7,789)
    Format: Online
    Learning duration: Self-paced (Approx. 8 hours)
  7. Website: Udemy
    Course: Customer Service Soft Skills Fundamentals
    Price: INR 1,280
    Format: Online
    Learning duration: Self-paced (Approx. 1 hour)
  8. Website: LinkedIn
    Course: Phone-Based Customer Service
    Price: INR 1,062
    Format: Online
    Learning duration: Self-paced (Approx. 22 hours)
  9. Website: Coursera
    Course: Customer Engagement Specialist
    Price: INR 5,610
    Format: Online
    Learning duration: Self-paced (Approx. 2 hours)
  10. Website: Alison
    Course: Interacting with Customers
    Price: Free
    Format: Online
    Learning duration: Self-paced (Approx. 2-3 hours)

Call centre jobs in India

In the context of India, both in-bound and outsourced call centres are always in need of new agents. Let us take a look at the current vacancies in call centres and other related fields.

Jobs Naukri Indeed Monster LinkedIn Total
Call centre agent 1.1k 124 74 28k 29k
BPO jobs 79.9k 8.7k 26.1k 45.1k 1.5 lakh
Customer care executive 5.8k 4.6k 9k 8k 27.4k
Customer support executive 3.2k 6.7k 6.6k 30.5k 47k
Customer service representative 3.5k 2.9k 1.7k 1.8k 10k

Job roles in call centres

Role Major responsibilities
Call centre agent/customer service representative Providing customer support, selling products or services, carrying out market research, building databases, etc.
Team leader/supervisor Setting targets, measuring and optimising performance, preparing and updating reports, providing guidance and motivation, etc.
Call centre manager Setting and reviewing goals for the centre, conducting internal reviews, overseeing the smooth functioning of the office, upholding positive work culture and values, etc.
Call centre head/director Dealing with recruitment and hiring, assessing financial matters, developing plans for the centre, presiding over decisions regarding personnel, resources, functions, etc.

Call centre salaries

Salaries at a call centre may vary according to the level of expertise or seniority.

Job Role Average Annual Salary Salary Range (LPA)
Call centre agent/telemarketer/customer service representative 1.8 Lakhs 1.1 to 3.1
Call centre or customer service supervisor 2.9 Lakhs 1.2 to 6.9
Call centre manager 8.5 Lakhs 4.2 to 10
Director of customer service 27 Lakhs 10 to 50 lakhs

Call centre agent skills

Take a look at the essential skills required to work in a call centre.

• Core skills

Skill Details
Language fluency This is important for standing out during your interview, and speaking to your client and understanding them over the phone.
Effective communication Speaking, listening, comprehension and providing feedback are the pillars of good communication. This is an essential skill for call centre agents and people who provide customer support over the phone.
Computer literacy Strong knowledge of basic computer applications and an aptitude for picking up different applications is a must for working in a call centre.
Organisation A call centre agent needs to multitask, transfer or resolve cases, follow up on multiple calls over several days and use available tools efficiently.
Time management Since tickets generated at a call centre need to be resolved as fast as possible, a call centre agent needs to keep an eye on the clock and respect both the customer and the company’s time.
Goal-oriented behaviour A call centre executive needs to focus on resolving as many issues as efficiently as possible, work towards benefiting the company, and achieve milestones as a professional.

• Soft skills
Patience, punctuality, creativity, quick-thinking.

Call centre agent tools

Different call centres may use different tools, but generic names of some common tools used in most call centres or customer care centres are mentioned below.

Job role Tools
Telemarketer/call centre agent/customer support representative Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), Skill Based Routing, predictive calling, call recording, real-time reporting, historical reporting, multimedia integration.

Some popular software used in call centres include Hubspot, Zendesk , Zoho , Bitrix 24, CloudTalk and Talkdesk .

Common career paths for call centre jobs

Here are some common ways that can make your way to start a career with a call centre job.

A. When you have a 10+2 or high school certificate

Career Path 1:
Complete high school in any stream → Gain experience via an internship or traineeship in a call centre → Apply for a regular position in a call centre or BPO.
Career Path 2:
Complete high school in any stream → Complete online course or gain certification → Spend time as an intern or trainee at a call centre → Join as permanent call centre agent or customer support executive

B. When you have a Bachelors degree

Career Path 1:
Complete Bachelors degree in any discipline → Complete short-term course in sales → Apply for job in a call centre.
Career Path 2:
Complete Bachelors degree in any discipline → Join as sales or customer support intern → Apply for a position as customer support or customer care agent in call centre.

Note: The above career paths are just examples of common career paths. There is no fixed career path to start a career in a call centre. The career steps can vary as per the background, aptitude and skills of the individual.

Tips to get a job in a call centre

Here are some useful tips for landing a call centre job.

1. Develop fluency in languages
Call centre and telemarketing jobs rely majorly on how well you can speak to and understand your customers. To excel in such a role, fluency in one or more languages is a must. English is now universally required, but for region-specific jobs, a good command over native Indian languages or foreign languages may be preferred.

2. Build computer literacy
A call centre agent has to use computer-based tools in his/her daily job for taking calls, recording complaints, rerouting tickets, checking and creating databases, etc. Although you may receive training to use a specific set of software or applications, a certain level of comfort and familiarity with using computers is a must before joining a call centre.

3. Build conversational and communication skills
The work of a telemarketer or customer support executive does not end with following a fixed script. In the real world, a customer support executive needs to use wit and charm to make the customer on the other end listen and respond positively. For this, exceptional skills for conversation, listening and speaking, negotiation and professionalism are required.

4. Get work experience in sales
Sales is a good field to gain experience and the essential skills of facing a customer, effective communication, and closing a deal. Even if you are not hired as a telemarketer, these skills will translate well into whatever role you are required to play at your call centre or customer service job.

5. Obtain professional certifications
In case getting work experience is difficult, another way to make yourself a more desirable candidate for a call centre job is to get relevant qualifications. Complete a short-term certificate course or an online module in telemarketing, sales, customer support, etc. It will add value to your CV and convince the company of your capabilities.

Call centre blogs

Here is a list of popular call centre or customer support blogs:

  1. Fonolo
  2. Ozonetel
  3. Hubspot
  4. Call Centre Helper
  5. Destination CRM
  6. International Customer Management Institute
  7. Envision
  8. Service Untitled
  9. Intradiem
  10. MattsenKumar

Call centre books

Here is a list of popular call centre or customer support books:

  1. Challenger Sale: How to Take Control of the Customer Conversation
  2. Call Center Fundamentals
  3. Call Center Optimization
  4. Cold Calling Techniques That Really Work
  5. Sales Secrets of a Telemarketing Queen
  6. I’d Rather Have A Root Canal Than Do Cold Calling!
  7. Uncommon Service: Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business
  8. The Amazement Revolution
  9. Customer Service Training 101
  10. The Million Dollar Rebuttal

Call centre job YouTube videos and channels

Here is a list of popular call centre or customer support videos:

  1. Call Centre Interview for Freshers
  2. BPO Interview Questions
  3. Mock Call Practice: Simple Outbound Call
  4. Practice Call Centre Interview
  5. Mock Call Practice: Handling an Irate Customer
  6. Call Centre Interview Sample
  7. 10 Telemarketing Tips for Beginners
  8. 9 Easy Phone Sales Tips
  9. Customer Service Sample Call
  10. Customer Service Expressions

Call centre job forums

Here is a list of popular call centre or customer support forums:

  1. Call Centre Helper
  2. Call Centers Forum
  3. Call Centers India
  4. Customer Service Manager

Call centre job webinars

Some of the available webinars on call centre and customer support jobs are:

  1. Call Centre Helper
  2. Talkdesk
  3. Customer Contact Week Digital
  4. International Customer Management Institute

Call centre interview questions

When you start applying for jobs the call centre, BPO or customer representative sector, it might be useful to brush up on some basics and prepare well with sample questions and answers.
Customer service interview questions .

BPO interview questions useful.

Top companies to follow

Popular companies

Call centre agents are a necessary part of customer support and sales teams across industries. Hopefully, the guide above will help you find the call centre or customer service job you deserve.
Good luck!

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