People see contact centers as cubicle farms with hundreds of people selling products and services that don’t exist over the phones.
I’m going to tell you something else.
Contact centers are a great way for a person to start his career.
About 2.79 million Americans and US residents, a little more than 2% of the working population, work in contact centers.
The actual number may be higher. Many companies call their contact centers “service centers,” “customer service centers,” or “help desks.”
The average tenure of a contact center agent is three years. A total of 2.79 million agents change their jobs every three years. The industry has 930,000 vacancies each year, which equates to around 77,000 vacancies per month.
If you’re leaving university with student loans to pay off, there’s no shortage of vacancies.
Entering the ground floor
,This is particularly difficult for newcomers to the workforce. Everyone wants previous experience. Contact centers are less likely to be demanding. Joining a contact center affiliated with a particular industry can give you a grounding in that industry.
Customer service companies operate contact centers. They include banks, debt collection agencies, government (both local and national), insurance, health care, information technology, telecommunications, travel and tourism, and utilities. If you want to gain experience in one of these industries, there is a contact center for you to get your feet wet.
Along with industry experience, you will also develop your people skills. This is more than what you get from an MBA course. As a contact center agent, you will deal with up to 100 people per day. You’ll learn how to build rapport with complete strangers, explain things to emotional people, and stay calm under pressure or in the face of insults. Some call it “soft skills”. These “soft skills” will make people want to do business with you, hire you, or marry you!
Contact centers are a technology-heavy environment. You will learn to work with various programs and applications from day one. It improves your technical skills and most importantly, develops your ability to learn how to use technology. Technology changes all the time, but it is always with us.
Contact centers give you the opportunity to work on yourself. Contact center work is monotonous and repetitive. So is unemployment. This is your chance to build your resilience and determination. Most contact centers offer you regular coaching to improve your performance. Responding positively to coaching is a key factor in gaining employment in today’s workforce. Contact center agents learn how to work in teams, where success is not about having good test results, but fulfilling customer requests as quickly and efficiently as possible.
You can learn all this in your first job!
What can contact centers offer for people staying longer than three years?
In the US, the average contact center employs 54 agents. That means there is one manager for every 54 agents and one supervisor for every 8.6 agents on average.
The contact center industry is remarkably “democratic.” Over the past 12 years, I have worked with more than 200 contact centers across three continents. In most cases, managers began their careers as agents.
The industry also needs data analysts, IT professionals, developers, trainers and coaches. Many of them started their career as agents.
A growth industry
,Two factors had a major impact:
The pandemic has forced many companies to abandon face-to-face operations, relying on their contact centers to communicate with customers. Customers are used to doing business online. Now, many customers don’t want to go back to visit the branch physically. Companies are also welcoming the change. Offices and shops are expensive to run relative to the number of customers they serve. Companies are looking to expand their contact center operations as part of their digital transformation strategy.
Law in many Western countries makes it easy to change bank accounts, insurance, telecommunications or utility providers. Customer service is now the competitive battlefield of the 21st century. Contact centers hope to hold that ground and win.
A changing world
The shift to cloud technology will revolutionize the industry, making access to transformative technologies less expensive and more accessible.
Companies are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI)-based chatbots to handle simple interactions. This increases efficiency without increasing headcount and frees humans to handle more challenging interactions.
As automated systems handle simple tasks, human agents handle more complex requests or help customers who have trouble dealing with bots. Human agents need to be better trained in terms of product and service knowledge and emotional intelligence and communication skills.
Supervisors are likely to become more human-centered as automation handles numerical tasks. Supervisors focus on coaching and motivating human agents or helping them solve the most complex customer problems and requests.
The contact center industry has a lot to offer anyone looking for a job, regardless of experience. If you want to talk to industry leaders, please contact me On LinkedIn.
To read more…
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