All About Being A Call Center Agent
You think about working as a call center agent but are not entirely sure whether this is the right job for you or not?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you all you need to know about a call center career in the following chapters.
Not only will I show you how much you can make in a call center, but I will also show you how happy call center agents are with their jobs, what working hours look like and much more.
At the end of this article, you can also have a look at an extensive call center career FAQ section where I answer all possible questions about being a call center agent.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea whether the job as a call center agent is good for you or if you rather want to do something else for a living.
What does a Call Center Agent do?
Call center agents answer customer calls and make sure that customers of the respective company get all the answers they are looking for.
They also handle complaints and issues around services and products and assure a great user experience so that customers stay loyal in the long run.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Call Center Agent
- Handling ingoing and outgoing calls
- Providing support for clients
- Solving problems related to specific products
- Assistance in the setup process of software
- Dealing with complaints of customers
- Making sure that customers get the answers they were calling for
- Assuring great user experience
- Maintaining a high level of trust of customers
- Representing the company they work for in the best possible manner
- Handling of multiple calls at the same time
- Improvement of troubleshooting processes
- Processing orders, applications and other forms
- Identify customers and make sure that they are eligible for getting support
- Routing calls to the right departments
- Documentation of procedures
- Upselling and cross-selling products and services
What a Typical Day of a Call Center Agent looks like?
Call center agents can work either from a big office with many call center agents present in one place or from home, depending on the digital infrastructure of the company they work for.
You will usually start your workday by just having a short look at your e-mails and figuring out whether you have to respond to something important or not.
After you are done with your mails, it is time to get to your actual work. From now on, you will answer customer calls all day long and try finding solutions to all sorts of problems.
You will also have to deal with many complaints and will be confronted with lots of adversity at your workplace.
Consequently, you should have thick skin if you want to stay happy with your call center career in the long run.
After doing this rather unpleasant work for many hours, it will finally be time to go home and to enjoy your leisure until you will continue to work the next day.
Call Center Agent Salary 2021
Call Center Agent salary brackets 2021
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $49,000||> $24.31|
|Top 25 %||$36,000 – $42,000||$17.72 – $20.83|
|Bottom 25 %||$25,000 – $28,000||$12.36 – $13.79|
|Bottom 10 %||$18,000 – $22,000||$8.82 – $10.73|
|Range||$18,000 – $53,000||$8.82 – $26.28|
Call Center Agent salary 2021 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$18,000 – $24,000||$8.82 – $11.81|
|Junior||$23,000 – $28,000||$11.36 – $13.72|
|Professional||$27,000 – $34,000||$13.29 – $16.83|
|Senior Professional||$31,000 – $38,000||$15.33 – $18.85|
|Expert||$35,000 – $42,000||$17.36 – $20.79|
|Top Expert||$41,000 – $53,000||$20.40 – $26.28|
Call Center Agent salary by state 2021 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$37,600||$18.71|
Job Security for Call Center Agents
Call center agents don’t have high job security. Instead, most of them only have short-term contracts and can get fired from one day to the other without prior notice.
Moreover, since there are no formal requirements for becoming a call center agent, almost everyone can do this job and this means that competition will be quite fierce in this industry.
Future Job Prospects of Call Center Agents
You should also not expect great job prospects as a call center agent.
Since many jobs are outsourced to poor Third-World countries and this trend will continue in the future, many jobs in industrialized countries in this field will be lost and wages will likely not increase or even drop due to that.
Working Hours of Call Center Agents
Depending on your shift, you may either work a standard 9 to 5 job as a call center agent or rather work during nighttime.
Overall, call center agents usually work 40 hours a week full-time while some of them only work 20 hours or even less as a part-time job.
Job Satisfaction of Call Center Agents
Many call center agents complain about poor working conditions, low wages and low job satisfaction.
Call center agents have to deal with problems and complaints all day long and this can really get annoying in the long run, especially if you are not compensated for it well.
Promotion Opportunities of Callcenter Agents
There are almost no promotion opportunities for call center agents.
You will just work in the same position for many years or even decades until you may finally get some personnel responsibilities and may make better money.
Career Levels of Call Center Agents
- Call center agent intern
- Junior call center agent
- Senior call center agent
- Senior call center agent with personnel and budget responsibilities
- Manager of a call center
- Manager of multiple call centers
- Owner of a call center business
Fields and Types of Call Center Agents
- Call center agent for tech support
- Call center agent for selling products and services
- Call center agent for loyalty programs
- Call center agent for educational purposes
- Call center agent specialized in e-mail
- Call center agent specialized in calls
- Call center agent specialized in chats
- Call center agent for tech support
- Internal call center agent
- External call center agent
Educational Requirements for Call Center Agents
You don’t need any fancy education for becoming a call center agent.
Instead of getting a college degree, it is much more important that you are motivated and willing to work hard to succeed in the call center industry in the long run.
How to become a Call Center Agent
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a call center agent
- Apply for an internship at local call centers
- Make a good impression as an intern
- Stay in touch with the boss and your call center colleagues
- Finish school with reasonable grades
- Apply for jobs in call centers
- Master the job interview
- Do a good job at trial work
- Sign your labor agreement
- Work hard and climb the ladder in your call center
Character Traits you need for Working as a Call Center Agent
- Willingness to work in a rather uncomfortable environment
- You should not get distracted easily
- Ability to focus on your own issues
- Willingness to help out customers
- Patience to deal with difficult clients
- You should be a good problem solver
- You should be able to process information fast
- Stress resistance helps you stay in your job in the long run
- Inner motivation to improve processes and to provide excellent service
Hard Skills for Being a Call Center Agent
- Knowledge of how to help out customers in the most efficient manner
- Good technical skills
- Good digital skills become increasingly important
- You often need to improvise quite a lot
- Math skills can help if you work in a call center in the financial sector
- Excellent knowledge of the local language
- Knowledge of foreign languages can help as well
- You need to know the stuff you are talking about by heart
- Ability to convince people
- Good selling skills
Soft Skills for Being a Call Center Agent
- Empathy for customers
- Composure in difficult situations
- You need to know how to calm customers down
- You need to know how to handle difficult clients
- Excellent communication skills
- You need to understand what drives people
- Stress resistance is key to succeed in the call center business
- Acceptance of rather exotic working conditions
- Patience is key to solve problems
- Good multitasking skills
Exit Options for Call Center Agents
Since call center agents don’t learn many important hard skills, they often struggle to get out of this industry.
Hence, before you decide for becoming a call center agent, make sure that this is what you really want to do for quite a long time since you might get trapped in this industry for years or even decades.
Call Center Agent – Similar Careers
- Floor manager
- Operations manager
- Help desk specialist
- Site manager
- Working in hardware tech support
- Handling the technical side of call centers
- Call center agent assistant
- Call center manager
- Owner of a call center
Call Center Agent Career FAQs
Is working as a call center agent physically demanding?
Working as a call center agent is not physically demanding.
For most of your workday, you will just sit in a rather comfortable office chair and will not have to work with your hands in a hard physical manner as many other people out there have to do on a daily basis.
Is working as a call center agent mentally demanding?
Working as a call center agent can be mentally demanding.
Depending on the type of work you do and also on your level of responsibility, you may have to coordinate many calls and other things at the same time and you may therefore need good multitasking skills and high mental capacities.
Is it dangerous to work as a call center agent?
It is not dangerous to work in a call center.
You will be able to work indoors for all of your workday and while many other people out there like police officers or firefighters have to work under quite risky conditions, you will be able to work in a safe environment and can even enjoy a nice drink at work.
How long do call center agents stay in their jobs?
Call center agents often stay in their jobs for quite a long time.
However, this is not due to the fact that call center agents really love what they are doing.
Call center agents often don’t learn many skills that are valuable in the job market and just get stuck in this industry for quite a long time.
Is it easy for call center agents to find a new job?
It is relatively easy to find a new job in the call center industry.
However, this also greatly depends on the area you live.
While you will have an easy time finding a new job as a call center agent in big metropolitan regions, it will be harder to find a new job in rural areas where the demand for call center agents will often be quite low.
Is it hard to switch from being a call center agent to another field of work?
It is pretty hard for call center agents to switch to a different field of work since they often just haven’t learned many valuable skills.
Consequently, many call center agents get stuck in this industry for many years or even decades without any prospects of getting out of it anytime soon.
Do call center agents have a high social status?
Call center agents have a pretty low social status.
In fact, many call center agents are belittled and some people even make fun of them.
You will just not do a pretty important job as a call center agent and this is why people will not respect you as much as doctors or other people who can really save lives.
Can you help out your family and friends as a call center agent?
You will not be able to help out your loved ones that much as a call center agent since you will lack important skills that other people who work in the craftsmen or in the financial industry will have to offer to their family and friends and your social standing will therefore be rather low.
Can call center agents work remotely?
Call center agents can often work from home.
However, this also greatly depends on the technical infrastructure of the company you work for and not all call center agents will have this privilege.
However, if you find a job where teleworking is possible, this can really give you more flexibility to manage your private and your professional life at the same time.
Is it easy to find a partner as a call center agent?
Since call center agents often can’t make a living from what they are doing and also have a pretty low social status, they also have a pretty hard time in the dating market compared to doctors or lawyers who often almost have freedom of choice in this regard.
Do call center agents have to work on weekends?
Call center agents often have to work on weekends.
This doesn’t mean that you have to work every weekend.
However, it still means that you will have to be quite flexible to manage your private and your professional life since plans of the company you work for may change without prior notice and you may have to cancel your private plans pretty often.
Do call center agents have to work on holidays?
Most call center agents don’t have to work on holidays.
However, in some rare cases, you may be expected to also work during those times and if you are not willing to work on holidays at all, you should not become a call center agent but rather go for a standard 9 to 5 job with free holidays instead.
Do I have to work at nighttime as a call center agent?
Many call center agents have to work at nighttime on a regular basis.
However, this also greatly depends on the shift you have.
While some call center agents only work during the day, others are solely responsible for night shifts.
Thus, you should also be willing during the evening and at nighttime before you decide for a call center agent career.
Do you have to travel as a call center agent?
There is no need to travel long distances as a call center agent since you will either work from home or just commute to the call center you work for.
Consequently, while many other people who work in demanding office jobs have to travel quite a lot and will be away from home, you can spend enough time with your loved ones at home.
Are call center agent pensions good?
Since call center agents don’t make good money, their pensions are often pretty low.
Moreover, call center agents are also often not able to save and invest enough money and this can lead to serious issues once they get older and want to retire since they often get into financial difficulties by this time.
Are call center agent salaries going up?
Wages of call center agents have barely gone up over the past years.
Instead, the salary of call center agents stayed relatively constant and due to the low barriers to entry and the many people who are willing to work in this field, chances are that the wage level will continue to stay low in the future.
Can you have a positive effect on society as a call center agent?
You will not have a high positive effect on society as a call center agent.
While you will be important to solve problems and to keep our system running, you will still not do work that could greatly positively influence the lives of many people in the long run.
How long does it take to become a call center agent?
Since you will not need any formal education for becoming a call center agent, you can become a call center agent within a pretty short period of time.
All you need to do is applying for as many call center jobs as possible and with a little bit of luck, you can start working within a few months or even weeks.
Is it difficult to become a call center agent?
Becoming a call center agent is not difficult at all.
You don’t need a fancy degree or other sorts of certifications.
All you need are excellent communication skills and motivation to help customers out during difficult situations and you are ready to apply for a job in this field.
Do you need to be smart to work as a call center agent?
You don’t need to have a high IQ for working as a call center agent.
Average intelligence will be enough for working in this field and you should therefore not be afraid that you are not smart enough to succeed in the call center industry.
Do call center agents have a good work-life balance?
Since call center agents often have to work in the nighttime and sometimes also have to work on weekends, most of them are pretty unhappy with their work-life balance.
In fact, many call center agents complain that they can’t really enjoy their leisure since they are just tired and fed up with what they have to do for a living.
Do call center agents have to work many extra hours?
Call center agents usually don’t have to work more than 40 hours per week and their workdays are pretty structured.
Consequently, there is no need to work many extra hours as a call center agent since once your shift is over, you will just finish your workday and go home.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a call center agent?
The more experience you get in this field, the easier it will be for you to work as a call center agent.
Hence, to maximize your chances of getting a job in this field, you may want to work as an intern and stay in touch with your colleagues so that you get a head start compared to other people who don’t have those contacts yet.
Can call center agents work part-time?
Many call center agents also work part-time.
However, to make a living from your call center job, you will often have to work full-time since hourly wages are pretty low and part-time jobs will just not be enough to pay your rent and other basic expenses.
Do call center agents work indoors or outdoors?
Call center agents work indoors all day long.
Consequently, you don’t have to worry about bad weather outdoors and while many other people like construction workers or roofers have to work outdoors on a regular basis, you will be able to work in a rather cozy work environment and don’t have to worry about climatic issues at all.
What does the workplace of a call center agent look like?
If you work in a call center, you will often work in huge office spaces with dozens or even hundreds of people in the same bullpen with you.
Consequently, you should not get distracted easily and should also be willing to work in those exotic work environments where many people speak at the same time.
Do you have to look good for working as a call center agent?
There is no need to look good as a call center agent.
Most of the time, clients who call you will not even see you but will rather talk to you on phone.
Therefore, your looks will not matter for your success as a call center agent at all and you should rather focus on mastering other skills that really matter.
Is a call center agent career beneficial for your private life?
A call center career can be quite problematic for your private life since you will often have to work on weekends and during the nighttime and you will therefore not be able to see your kids that often.
Moreover, you will also not make good money and your spouse may cheat on you or leave you sooner or later.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a call center agent?
You don’t need to get a college degree for a career in a call center.
Instead of looking good on paper, it will be much more important that you have practical skills to succeed in this field in the long run.
Hence, you can start your call center agent career right after getting your high school diploma.
Do you need to be certified to work as a call center agent?
There is also no need to get certificates for working as a call center agent.
Instead, you can start out with your call center career right after finishing high school without having to spend any time and money on additional education.
How much does it cost to become a call center agent?
Since you don’t need fancy education for working as a call center agent, you can also save lots of money on college and you also don’t have to take on student loan debt.
Instead, you can become a call center agent at virtually no cost and can also start making money pretty early in your life.
Is being a call center agent a good career?
Due to the rather exotic working hours and the strange working atmosphere, many call center agents are not happy with their jobs.
Moreover, call center agents also don’t make good money and many of them think about quitting their jobs.
Hence, working in a call center cannot be considered to be a good career.
Is it easy to start your own business as a call center agent?
If you want to start your own business in the call center industry, you would have to get lots of hardware to start with.
In turn, starting your own call center would cost you lots of money and you would have to save up money for many years to finally be able to work self-employed in this field.
Can call center agents teach themselves?
As a call center agent, you can teach all of the things you need to know yourself.
In fact, you will learn most things on the job and the longer you work in this field, the better you will get in supporting people and finding solutions to their problems.
Do call center agents make good money?
Call center agents don’t make good money. Instead, most of them struggle to pay their bills and are not able to afford any luxury.
Hence, if money is really important to you, you should not become a call center agent but rather aspire to a career as an investment banker, lawyer or doctor instead.
Is it ever too late to become a call center agent?
It is never too late to become a call center agent. Since working as a call center agent is not physically demanding, you can do this job for many years or even decades without having o fear serious physical health issues.
Do call center agents have to quit their careers early?
Since you don’t have to stress your body that much as a call center agent and rather work with your brain, many call center agents don’t have to quit their careers early but can work in this field until they will officially retire in their 60s.
What is the most challenging thing about working as a call center agent?
The most challenging part of being a call center agent is that you have to stay focused on your clients’ issues while many other people around you will talk at the same time and may distract you quite a lot.
Can you provide for your family by working as a call center agent?
Providing for your family is pretty difficult as a call center agent.
In fact, since you will not make good money, you will often not even be able to pay your own bills, letting alone the additional costs that come along with kids and a spouse on your side.
Will call center agents suffer from old-age poverty?
Due to the rather low salary of call center agents, many of them will suffer from old-age poverty once they quit their active careers.
Quite often, pensions of call center agents will be rather low and they will also not be able to save and invest enough money for retirement age.
Can call center agents retire early?
Since call center agents don’t make good money from their jobs, most of them will not be able to retire early.
Instead, many call center agents have to work in this field until they are 60, 70 or sometimes even 80 since their pensions will often not be enough to pay their bills if they retired.
Can you get rich as a call center agent?
Due to the low salary you will earn in this industry, it is not possible to get rich as a call center agent.
If you really want to get wealthy or rich, you would need to be the owner of a call center instead of just working as a normal employee in this field
Do call center agents need a second job?
Since call center agents don’t make good money, many of them will need a second job to pay their bills.
This is especially true in expensive regions where rents are quite high and the salary of the average call center agent will just not be enough to cover basic expenses.
Do you get continuous training as a call center agent?
You will get barely any training at all as a call center agent.
Instead, you will learn your craft on the job and it will also be your responsibility to get better at what you are doing over time since you might just get fired otherwise.
Are call center agents organized in unions?
Call center agents are organized under the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA).
While this union aims to improve working conditions in this industry, you will often still have to accept pretty poor wages and rather unpleasant working conditions.
Do you get paid when you are sick as a call center agent?
Most often, there is no sick pay for call center agents.
Hence, if you are the type of person who gets sick quite often, you should work in a different field where sick pay is common so that you don’t get into financial difficulties during the times you are not able to work.
Do call center agents have a high level of responsibility?
Call center agents don’t have a high level of responsibility.
Even if they make mistakes, those mistakes will often only have minor effects on clients and you will therefore just not have the same high level of responsibility compared to doctors whose mistakes can cost lives.
Can call center agents work abroad?
It is possible for call center agents to work abroad.
However, before you move to a different country and plan to work in a call center, make sure that you have excellent knowledge of the local language to avoid language barriers of any sort that could prevent you from getting a job in a foreign country.
Is it stressful to work as a call center agent?
Working as a call center agent can be stressful since you will often have to handle multiple calls at the same time.
Moreover, you will also work with many people in the same office and the high noise level can also lead to lots of emotional stress.
Is it boring to work as a call center agent?
Working in a call center can also be pretty boring.
While it may be interesting during your first days, your initial motivation may fade rather quickly and you may not be motivated to go to your workplace anymore just a few weeks after you have started your call center agent career.
Is being a call center agent hard?
While it is not hard to work in a call center from a physical perspective, it can still be hard from a mental and emotional point of view since your brain will be stressed with so many different impressions and handling all this information properly can be a real challenge.
Is burnout a problem for call center agents?
Due to the high stress level of work and the constant insecurity regarding whether you will get fired or not soon, you may have to worry about your work all day long and may not be able to unplug from work anymore.
Consequently, burnout is a serious problem for call center agents.
Is there a dress code for call center agents?
You don’t need to comply with a dress code at work as a call center agent.
Since nobody will see you anyway, you can just wear what you feel most comfortable with and if you provide great customer support, chances are that nobody will care about your looks.
What kind of call center agents are paid the most?
The more experience you have in this industry and the higher the prices for the services you are responsible for, the higher your salary will typically be.
Hence, make sure to get some expert knowledge in an area that many other people don’t have if you want to make the most money as a call center agent.
What percentage of call center agents are women?
Around 67% of all call center agents are women while 23% are men.
Hence, the call center industry is dominated by women.
However, this doesn’t mean that it is easier for women to find a job in a call center.
It just means that more women than men apply for jobs in this field of work.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a call center agent?
You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a call center agent.
What’s much more important is that you learn how to convince people and how to solve problems in an efficient but yet calm manner so that clients will not lose trust in your plans.
Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a call center agent?
You will usually not be personally liable for mistakes as a normal call center agent.
However, once you are the manager of a call center, things may be different and you may want to get proper insurance so that you are covered in case of emergency.
Do call center agents have a high life expectancy?
Since call center agents often have lots of stress at work and also have to work at nighttime quite often, chances are that many of them will develop serious health issues sooner or later.
Moreover, since call center agents don’t make good money, they may not be able to afford proper medical treatment.
Consequently, call center agents have a rather low life expectancy.
Do call center agents suffer from sleeping problems?
Since call center agents often have to work at nighttime, they will also often suffer from sleeping problems since their natural sleeping rhythm gets destroyed.
In turn, many call center agents are tired on a continuous basis and may not be able to enjoy their leisure as much as other people out there.
What states are best for working as a call center agent?
You should work as a call center agent in a state where living costs are pretty low since you will not make good money from your job and will not be able to afford to live in expensive states and regions.
However, you still need to make sure that the demand for call center agents is high in those regions so that you easily find a job.
Who do call center agents work with?
Call center agents work with many different clients on a daily basis.
While you will have many colleagues around you, you will still not have that much contact with those colleagues since you will just process calls all day long and social interaction with your colleagues at work will therefore be rather limited.
Is working as a call center agent cool?
Working in a call center is not considered cool by most people. In fact, many people out there will belittle you and some of them may even make fun of you since they will not consider working in a call center a real job.
Do you have to be creative as a call center agent?
Being creative also helps to succeed in the call center industry in the long run.
The more creative you are, the easier it will be to solve problems of customers in case standard methods don’t work and you will have to find an alternative solution.
How employable are call center agents?
Since barriers to entry are pretty low and many jobs are also outsourced to foreign countries, call center agents are not that employable anymore.
Consequently, many call center agents fear losing their jobs and will also have to accept pretty low wages.
Are call center agents happy with their jobs?
Most call center agents are not happy with their jobs at all.
In fact, many of them complain about their low salary and the unpleasant working hours and many call center agents also secretly think about quitting their jobs and doing something else for a living.
Is working as a call center agent exciting?
Working in a call center is not that exciting.
Instead, you will do the same work over and over again and over time, this can be really emotionally stressful since you will not see any progress and may just feel stuck in this industry while you just want to do something else.
What are the pros and cons of working as a call center agent?
If you want to know even more about working in a call center, you may also want to have a look at the pros and cons of a call center agent career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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