Call Center Agent Job Description
Call center agents are customer service representatives who specialize in helping customers over the phone. Many industries employ call center agents as their front line of customer service, including the insurance, medical, software, home appliance, and electronics industries. As the name of the job title suggests, these agents work in a call center environment. They spend their shift at a computer and use call answering software to answer calls all day. Some call centers are open 24 hours, so call center agents may have to work overnight and on weekends. It is an entry-level job that can be done in both a part-time and full-time capacity. Junior call center agents may have a senior call center agent as a mentor, and both answer to the shift supervisor. Speed, efficiency, and patience are all key qualities for this position.
Call Center Agent Duties and Responsibilities
Working in a call center is more complex than simply answering phone calls. Call center agents generally perform these common duties and responsibilities:
Verify Customer Information
This is the most important duty performed by call center agents who work in the insurance or medical industries. Incorrect customer information could suspend important benefits and coverage, so they usually start every call by verifying the customer’s information.
Enter Customer Information into Database
Capturing customer information is a crucial part of the call center agent’s job. They have to take down the information of first-time callers and enter it into the center’s master database.
Document Customer Concerns
Call center agents have to keep track of every time they make contact with a customer. This helps the workflow of the call center, as it allows another agent to address the issue if the customer calls again.
Follow Detailed Procedures for Common Questions
Most call center agents have scripts prepared for them that address the most common questions. They must follow the script to provide consistent service while talking in a conversational manner.
Diffuse Angry Customers
Many customers get angry when they have a malfunctioning product or an issue with a service. Call center agents must maintain their cool at all times and use conflict resolution tactics to diffuse the situation.
Call Center Agent Skills and Qualifications
Call center agents need a high level of patience and focus to succeed at this position. The following skills and abilities are what hiring managers value most:
- Mastery of call management software – call center agents use call management software to answer calls, transfer calls, and put customers on hold while they conduct research
- Mastery of customer relationship management software – call center agents use customer relationship management software to keep track of the results of each customer interaction
- Communication skills – call center agents rely on their verbal communication skills to maintain a helpful and professional tone throughout each and every call
- Data entry skills – entering data correctly takes strong focus and a keen attention to detail
- Multitasking skills – call center agents maintain phone conversations with customers while simultaneously using the computer to enter data or search for information
Call Center Agent Tools of the Trade
There are a couple of tools call center agents rely on during the course of their day:
- Hands-free phone headsets
- Call management software (such as Fluentstream, Elastix, and Snapforce)
- Customer relationship management software (such as Salesforce and Hubspot)
Call Center Agent Education and Training
Call center agents need only a high school diploma or equivalent to find employment. All of the techniques and skills they need to succeed come through on-the-job training. There are a few organizations that offer call center agent certification, with the most respected being the Management and Strategy Institute.
Call Center Agent Salary and Outlook
According to Glassdoor, the average annual base pay for call center agents is $30,750. Those at the low end of the spectrum make $23,000, while those at the high end make $42,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects demand for customer service representatives, which includes call center agents, to rise 5 percent through 2026, which is about as fast as average.
Call Center Agent Helpful Resources
Working as a call center agent is a great way to build a career in customer service. Here are some resources to help you in this endeavor:
Professional Association for Customer Engagement – this is the only organization that focuses solely on those who work in contact centers. It puts on a yearly expo and offers smaller regional networking events on a consistent basis
Wake Up Your Call Center: How to Be a Better Call Center Agent – author Rosanne D’Ausilio breaks down the components of a good call center agent in easy-to-understand language
Call Miner – Call Miner is a company that sells speech analytics software and maintains a blog that’s regularly updated with information pertinent to call center agents
Contact Center Agent 101: An Introduction to Your Multi-Channel Call Center Career – Steve Stapp uses his 20-plus years of call center experience to explore the purpose of call centers and cover all the techniques necessary to perform this job effectively
Zendesk – Zendesk offers a slew of products geared towards call center management, including a digital library and a blog that’s updated with articles geared towards both agents and managers
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