The call centre industry in South Africa is booming and where previous call centre experience was a requirement for most vacancies, many companies are now employing individuals with retail or hospitality experience. Planning on making a career move? These easy tips should help with the transition.

1. Most roles include some form of multi-tasking, including assisting customers over the phone, capturing or updating details, processing requests and escalating queries as necessary.

2. Computer literacy is important and agents need to capture information quickly and accurately. Proficiency in Microsoft Office goes a long way when dealing with emails and spreadsheets on a day-to-day basis. Many companies use industry specific systems and/or software, these are covered in the training stage.

3. Learn to develop excellent verbal and written communication skills. Call centre consultants need to be friendly, yet professional and firm while representing the brand. When taking inbound calls, remember that it might be the customer’s first interaction with the brand and that resolving queries quickly and efficiently – satisfied customers rarely take their business somewhere else. As for sales agents, remaining friendly and professional after a prospective customer declined your offer might encourage them to contact you in the future.

4. This might not seem important at first, but being punctual is vital. Try to arrive at work a few minutes early to sign in and setup before the lines open as customers are starting to call, this minimises long waiting periods for clients and contributes to excellent services delivery. The same principle applies to both tea and lunch breaks. By arriving on schedule the call centre can function at full capacity.

5. Ensure that you stay updated with the company’s latest product and service offerings as well as policies and procedures. This will enable you to assist customers quickly and efficiently in the customer service department. Sales agents will be able to offer clients their latest products and services, staying ahead of the competition and closing more deals.

6. Separate work and personal life. Being on the phone all day can be very demanding and even intellectually exhausting. At the office you need to focus on your work and perform as well as you can. The same principle applies for after hours, when you’re out of the office take time to deal with personal issues, relax and recharge your batteries to cope with the demands of the job.

7. Take time to learn from your team leader and manager – they have done the job before you and their experience can be to your advantage! Their insight and tricks of the trade can help you close more deals or deal with those difficult customers.

8. Stick it out – the first few weeks after training might seem tough as you adapt to the new environment. This happens to everyone in as they settle in to a new job, no matter which industry.