Category Archives: Interview Tips

Tips to ruin your call center career

Traditionally call center career is considered to be an easy way to start your professional life even with limited skills. With over 17 years of experience in this field now, I have seen loads of people joining call center and turning it into a dead end job. Achieving this is fairly easy if you don’t want to grow in this industry or are comfortable in a single position. Just follow one or more of these tips and you will most likely ruin your call center career. Be warned that doing the opposite of below recommendations might lead to a promotion or fast career growth.

• Don’t focus on your KPIs – KPI or Key performance indicators are the baseline for measuring efficiency of an individual in call center. Just be oblivious to values like NPS, CSAT, AHT, sales target and you are half way through. The good thing about this advice is that it works for all levels right from telecaller to head of operations.
• Be invisible- You will not need any super powers for this one. Just make sure to have minimum interaction with your manager and seniors. The less they know that you exist lesser will be the chance that you will be recommended for any new assignment or promotion. With large team sizes in call center industry, it is very rare that senior management will recognize more anyone apart from their direct team. People who are more visible because of their good work or participation in various activities tend to stand out and thus have a better chance of faster career progression.
• Refuse any additional work- Make sure to refuse working on any additional assignment or task being given to you. Say that you have to take your dog to a vet or any such excuse. If you are still not able to wriggle out of it then simply do a bad job of it. Taking up additional work apart from your daily work will make you seem to be proactive. Proactive people are generally seen in a good light and thus have more chances of being promoted.
• Never work overtime- Never agree to put in extra hours. Even when you know that your manager needs your help, just give some excuse and get out of there. Management has this habit to identify hard workers from the lot and then give them extra work. Once you have been identified as one of these lot they will try to retain you no matter what thus leading to a successful career.
• Ignorance is Bliss- These are certainly wise words and can go a long way in ensuring a dead end call center career. Simple trick is to keep your knowledge of your company or the product and process you are working on to be very limited. Knowing the processes or product in dept will lead to you being seen as a subject matter expert or SME. Managers generally tend to consult or guide new people to be mentees to such individuals. You know what happens next, first SME and then a team leader and we certainly don’t want that.

Any one or combination of the above tips are a sure shot way of stalling your call center career growth. Doing the opposite will surely boost it!!!

Another article you might find useful
Tips to handle difficult bosses: Easy, practical & fun

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Filed under callcenter operations, Careers, contact center, Customer Service, Interview Tips

Essentials to grow in callcenter career, an interview with Sean Hawkins

The one thing I have been asked most frequently is the secret to grow in callcenter industry. To get an answer to this I got an opportunity to interact with Sean Hawkins. Sean Hawkins is a Customer Experience and Contact Center expert with over 15 years of call center experience. In that time, he’s worked in numerous roles in the public, private and government sectors.

His many years in contact center leadership have provided a solid understanding of the call center environment. Sean has a terrific pulse on incorporating innovation into the contact center. He’s implemented social, outsourcing partners, new technology, and new products, while maintaining an award-winning contact center.

Let’s know Sean a little better and see what advice he has for us to excel in this field.

How did you come to join call center industry?

After discharging from the US Navy, I worked in an auto plant and went to school. After graduation, I had the chance to work for a company in Stockton, CA. as a one man IT department/Support Team. I was under qualified, uncertain of myself and deathly afraid of making mistakes. It was an amazing experience!

It is said that it is difficult to grow in call center field, what has been your experience?

I would disagree. Growth and advancement abound in the contact center. I think leadership has to do a better job of professional development with their staff and helping them create a career path. Lack of growth is generally due to these reasons.

When and how did you get your first promotion?

My first promotion occurred a few months after I started in my first call center back in 2000. I was promoted to a Technical Lead responsible for taking escalations from our Tier 1 team.

What are the 5 essential skills that one must have to make a successful career in call center?

That can vary based on the call center you are in, and what you are supporting. I’d say the most important are a high EQ, an ability to understand data, understand basic metrics, a great work ethic, and love for the job.

What terms/matrices should be known to all successful call center professionals?

Well, there are so many terms and matrices, to try to remember them all could be quite difficult. Furthermore not all are used in any given center. I’d say first learn what is used in your current center. There are some common metrics such as CSAT, Handle Time, Custom Effort, Score, Net Promoter Score, TSF, and ASF that are certainly worth knowing.

Who have been your inspiration/mentors and what key lessons did you learn from them?

I’ve had many in my career from Joyce Nyhaug, Erie Luces, Sarah Stealey-Reed, and John Tedesco. From a personal standpoint, my wife (Yvette Hawkins), parents, grandparents, and in-laws have influenced and inspired me as well.

I’ve learned that effort, determination, aspiration, a thirst for learning, and kindness will take you very far in life.

Tell us a little about Call center weekly

That is a blog I created with Jeremiah Methvin and Brooks Webb. We had a desire to provide a forum for call center agents and managers to share their stories, offer their advise. So often it is the those on the front lines who are responsible for successes, but they rarely have opportunity to receive recognition. The blog was a way to give voice to the front line staff.

What other resources do you recommend for people in the field of contact center?

There are organization such as ICMI, CCNG, HDI that specialize in contact center training. If possible, attend conferences, seminars, and webinars. I’d also take advantage of social media. Connect with people, companies and organizations and begin to engage them.

What advice do you have for call center professionals who feel that they are stuck in a single profile?

I’d encourage them to seek out mentors, ask questions, and find resources to help you. There are so many opportunities available to you

So readers this was Sean sharing some insights into fast tracking your callcenter career. Do let me know if you have any queries. You can write to me at ashish@callcenterdecoded.com or just leave a comment below.

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Filed under Call Center Terms, callcenter operations, Careers, contact center, Customer Service, Interview Tips

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE quitting the job

Getting a job is not difficult but getting a good job is.
Sometimes it becomes difficult to cope with the pressure of job. It may be due to difficult boss or conflict with the colleagues or monetary issues where you are not paid what you were promised or promotional issues. Now let’s see what to do in what circumstances.

Monetary

: When your job is not paying you adequately and you are in need of more finances you can look for other options for increasing your monetary benefits like taking a part time job. If you are not able to spare time to go and work part time you can take online jobs too. Also when in need of finances you can take permission of the organization and work overtime in that organization.

Promotion issues

: You can talk to management regarding it. But it will be good if you don’t act as a cry baby. You can send an email to the management regarding why you feel you deserved promotion more underlining your achievements.

Conflict with the colleagues

: This is very common in the organizations. The best thing you can do is to first talk with that particular person and clarify all the misunderstandings if this doesn’t work then you can talk to the management regarding it.

Conflict with the boss

: You should be calm regarding it and act with an open mind. Things can go worse in other organization you join. So before quitting on this issue you should think carefully regarding all the pros and cons.

Other issues

: These include transfer or family issue where you have to look at someone in your family. You can look for other options in for this but again I would say that you should share your point with the management and look for any other solution before quitting the job.

Most issues resolve themselves if given some time to settle. Having suggested that nothing is more important than your own mental and physical health. Keep in mind quitting the job is not the end of your career and sooner or later you will find a better source of income.

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Most common callcenter interview questions and recommended answers

Here are the top 5 most common callcenter interview questions asked by recruiters

Q.1 Tell me about yourself?


This is a typical question that is asked in every call centre interview. Never start the answer with myself. Always start with “I am XYZ”. You have to speak for 2-3 minutes about your family background, about your qualification and experience, about your hobbies. You have to show your confidence and fluency while speaking.

Q.2 why do you want to join the call centre when you can go for any other job?


You should be prepared for this question as to why exactly you want to join a call centre. You can say that you see a great scope for this growing industry or it is best suited for your skills like team work or interpersonal skills. You have to show your intent regarding it.

Q.3 how would you handle a typical problem?


This will test your skills and knowledge about your field of expertise. You have to answer to the point about the particular issue. Never give lengthy answers unless and until you are asked to do so. Just be brief and to the point.

Q.4 The next question can be to test your skills regarding handling of pressure. The interviewer may give you a question where you have to fulfill a particular deadline e.g. How would you deal with some urgent issue?


You should be calm while answering this question. Never lose your sense while answering this one. It would add to an advantage if you keep a smile on your face. This will show your calm mind.

Q.5 What if some customer irritates you or misbehaves with you? How would you handle him/her?


Answer to this can be that you will first request that person to be polite and then warn him/her regarding his behavior and then you will cancel his call.

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Filed under Call Center Calculations, callcenter operations, Careers, contact center, Customer Service, Interview Tips