There are many misconceptions about the working conditions in call centres. Low-paid temporary employees who are constantly under surveillance… We enlighten you about the myths and realities of this singular environment.
Wages are very low
False. Everything is relative, but the average salary for a call centre employee in Canada is about $16 an hour. This amount can also increase based on sales made by the employee if they have to do prospecting.
There is very close supervision
Sometimes true. “Some call centres are structured to measure performance and eliminate any opportunity for distraction, limiting sites visited by employees and performing quality control by listening to and evaluating several calls each week. But that was not the case in the company where I worked,” indicates Pierre-Alexandre Buisson, who worked for five years in the call centre of a family business.
It’s a temporary job for people without a diploma.
False. Although it is possible to get a job in a call centre without having a diploma, the most varied positions and career paths are found with one. “There are many overqualified and bilingual (or trilingual) immigrants, students, people who are waiting [for another opportunity], etc.,” observes Pierre-Alexandre Buisson.
Anyone can do it
False. Often there is a need to know telephone selling techniques, or to agree to be trained when hired. This type of job also requires certain human qualities that not everyone has, such as patience and the ability to work under stress or with disgruntled customers. “People allow themselves to do more things on the phone than in person,” adds Mr. Buisson. “You have to alternate between nihilism and empathy to avoid tormenting yourself…”
It is not possible to climb the ladder
False. While progress in a call centre is hard to conceive in the collective imagination, this doesn’t mean that mobility within the company is always excluded, if you want to have access to different functions. “You can change positions quickly if you stand out,” emphasizes Mr. Buisson, one of whose current colleagues began in customer service and quickly became responsible for employee scheduling. He also points out that in his former company some of his colleagues moved to technical support or sales.