Top 8 myths about working in a call centre

8 Myths about working in a call centre

Common myths about working in a call centre

Having spent my entire career around headsets there are a lot of myths about working in a call centre.

I’m grateful for all the opportunities that it has afforded me.

From overseas travel, stable income, continuous learning and some life-long friends I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have ‘stumbled’ into a call centre in my early 20’s.

Yet so many people in our community don’t have a positive view of our industry.

So I’m determined to try and bust a few of the common myths about working in a call centre and have pulled together my top 8 myths.

Top 8 Myths About Working in a Call Centre

1. It’s a dead-end job

Contact centres offer numerous opportunities for people that are prepared to work for them.

While that can be typical of most industries, what’s different in the contact centre industry is that opportunities typically come around frequently and we normally provide a lot of support in preparing staff to take the next step.

As well as a career path within contact centres (that many choose to stay in for their whole career), having worked in a contact centre is a sought after skill and contact centres are typically used as an internal resource pool for broader opportunities within an organisation.

There are some very successful people who all got their grounding in contact centres!

2. It’s just full of young people out of school

Contact centres cater to people at all stages of their life, from new job starters where working in a contact centre teaches them a range of professional skills through to mums returning to work,  retirees looking to get back into the workforce for a little extra income and even actors in-between work (a common occurrence!).

The bottom line is contact centres contain an amazingly diverse workforce.

Why? Because age and background is not a barrier to your success.

3. You just get flogged all day and treated like a piece of meat

Contact centres are typically at the forefront of staff management.

With comprehensive Reward and Recognition programs, regular coaching, a strong commitment to training and a focus on a positive culture you would be hard-pressed to find a workplace that invests more in their people.

It’s not necessarily because we think its a nice thing to do (although it is!) but the reality is turnover of staff is expensive and more importantly, good staff are hard to find and we do our dam best to keep them.

Read some of our great articles on how to boost staff engagement in your workplace >

4. The pay is terrible

In Australia, starting salaries are usually between $45k and $65k with no minimum formal qualification requirements.

And that’s just to start with!

With a strong work ethic and a will to learn you can work your way up the corporate ladder where the sky is the limit.

For sales contact centres, the commissions can often see agents earning in excess of $100k a year!

5. You’re on the phones all day

Strangely enough, the job does involve spending a lot of time supporting customers  – I have heard on numerous occasions of new staff commencing in a role only to leave shortly thereafter as they “didn’t realise I would be talking to customers all day”.

For the sanity of my friends in recruitment, I don’t want to suggest that you don’t spend a lot of time on the phones!

However… Contact centre agents today are incredibly talented individuals who can manage conversations across multiple channels including the telephone, live chat, email, Facebook, Twitter etc.

There are now full times roles that don’t involve the telephone at all – working full time on social media support for example.

6. I’d hate to call people at dinner time

Most people in the community sadly associate working in a contact centre with telemarketing – making those annoying calls you receive at dinner time.

Of course, the reality is that contact centres perform an incredibly diverse range of functions that support our community.

Behind most businesses the contact centre forms a critical component of their success – from insurance, banking, retail, telecommunications, energy, entertainment etc through to Lifeline and Crime Stoppers – they all have one thing in common.

A great contact centre full of amazing people is critical to their success.

7. It’s a lonely job

It couldn’t be further from the truth!

If you’ve ever met anyone who works in a call centre when surveyed about the best part about the job the consistent number one answer is “my team”.

Whether it’s through sharing the same experiences, team activities or even sharing the same break times call centre agents typically form very close friendships that survive long after they have left the call centre.

8. It would be boring

Ask most people who work in a call centre at the end of the shift if they were bored at any stage?

There is a constant buzz in the call centre and that’s what attracts many to the industry.

Different customers, different problems, different solutions – no two days are very rarely the same.

And with a number of the ‘easier’ types of calls being handled by self-service (people finding answers on the internet/app etc) the calls coming in to call centres are becoming increasingly complex.


So did I get it right?

What’s your experience been working in the call centre industry?

Recommended reading: The 15 best things about working in a call centre

Discover all the upcoming industry conferences, training courses, networking events and more on the Industry Events Calendar >

About Justin Tippett 74 Articles

Justin is one of the leading authorities on Contact Centres and Customer Experience in Australia and is the founder of CX Central and the recently launched Australian Customer Experience Professionals Association (ACXPA)

There's also a vicious rumour he's the person responsible for all the memes on the Call Centre Legends page now followed by over 20k people ;)

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1 Comment

  1. I ended up leaving my call centre job after 3 months with one of the big 3 banks here in Australia. The reason was not my fellow team members (who were brilliant) or the leaders (who were supportive the entire time) but because of the pressures of that common key performance metric: AHT (Average Handling Time). With us every call had to be under 180 seconds and any call over that, regardless of what the call enquiry was about, was recorded and the pressure of not meeting that target was drilled into us each and every day. It formed part of our day to day life and not meeting this target consistently could even be grounds for being let go of your job. It soon became apparent to me that it was less about helping the customer and more about beating the clock and to hell with spending the time to help the customer. Now I understand that the business doesn’t want agents sitting on the phone all day chatting to customers but even just being a little more flexible would have taken a lot of pressure off us and no doubt I would still be there. I loved the job for the short time I was there but that simple metric was enough for me to wake up every morning with anxiety and forced me and some of my other team to leave after only 3 months (some to other call centres that don’t put as much importance on “beating the clock” but more about actually helping the customer). So if anyone is interested in call centre work, by all means it can be a good career choice BUT be aware of what they expect of you first because this line of work is definitely NOT for everyone.

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