Call CentreA partnership project of Quinte Adult Day SchoolandLiteracy Link Eastern OntarioFunded by the National Literacy Secretariat (HRSDC)andthe East Central Ontario Training Board

Prepare to work at aCall CentreThis program is ideal for anyone planning to work at aCall Centre. The six module curriculum, produced byLiteracy Link Eastern Ontario, provides the Essential Skillstraining required for this growing industry.Modules of study include:1. Introduction to Call Centres What is a Call Centre2. Professionalism Attitude Appearance & Grooming Attendance Working as a Team3. Customer Service What is Customer Service? Good vs. Poor Types of Service Customer Needs The Upset Customer4. Telephone Skills The Art of Listening Telephone Etiquette Telephone Anxiety Opening a Call Logging a Call Closing a Call Call Monitoring5. Computer Skills Basic Hardware Basic Software The Internet Email6. Health & Safety Laws & Legislation Human Rights Health Concerns Ergonomics Workers Compensation178 pagesLBS 2 required Literacy Link Eastern Ontario 2008

AcknowledgementsCall Centre Essential Skills TrainingLiteracy Link Eastern Ontario (LLEO) and Quinte Adult Day School (QADS) thank the staff andlearners who provided feedback to shape this final product.We also acknowledge the experience and support of the people who helped to produce thistraining package. We especially thank the following people for their contributions to the project.Reference GroupCathy BelisleEducation LeadTroy TalbotTechnical Support Analyst/TrainerDebbie ParksHuman Resources Staff AssistantCrystal ThompsonCustomer Service RepresentativeMurray SlackCustomer Service RepresentativeDenise WilliamsOperations ManagerOther AcknowledgementsAndrea StrachanDirector Curriculum Design/Senior ConsultantLCRT ConsultingLinda ConleyExecutive DirectorPrince Edward Learning CentreJulie StuartProgram Coordinator and Project ManagerPORT CARES Literacy PlusLori FarringtonFacilitatorPrince Edward Learning CentreCall Centre Essential Skills TrainingWritten by: Jenn Bishop & Kristin Acker (QADS)Project Manager: Doug Noyes, LLEO NetworkEdited by: John Mark RobertsonLLEO and QADS gratefully acknowledge the National Literacy Secretariat(HRSDC) for funding this Workplace Literacy Special Initiative project. Thegroups also wish to thank the East Central Ontario Training Board for itsfinancial contribution to the project.

Module: Introduction to Call CentresModule 1Introduction to Call CentresUnit 1 – What is a Call CentreSub UnitsIntroductionRecent TrendsOccupationsWorking ConditionsSkill RequirementsQuizWhat have you learned? LLEO 2004, Call Centre Essential Skills Training1-142-345-67-910-1213-14Page 1

Module: Introduction to Call CentresUnit: What is a Call Centre?IntroductionWhat is a Call Centre?Call centres are used by companies and governments to provide customerservice and support by telephone. Call centres can be: in-bound out-bound bothIn-bound centres, or help desks, answer customerquestions and/or give technical support.Out-bound call centres call customers to promoteproducts or services – the traditional telemarketing job.Call centres started out as basic telemarketing centres that used cold-callselling to get you to buy products over the telephone. Now call centres arerapidly becoming transaction centres, places to get service, support andproducts. As a result, customer service has become extremely important.Call centres are based on telecommunications and computer technologies.Some of theses technologies are: automatic call distribution: answer and queue (pronounced “Q”)/holdcalls interactive voice response: prompts (for example “Please push 1 forservice in English) predictive dialers: this automatically dials telephone numbers and, ifthe telephone is answered, the call centre agent is notifiedThese changes, together with reduced telephone rates, make call centres anattractive business option. They allow companies to improve on theircustomer relations. This builds customer loyalty in a cost-effective way. Callcentres save companies and consumers money and time. They helpcustomers who want to phone anytime, day or night, to do business such asbanking transactions. LLEO 2004, Call Centre Essential Skills TrainingPage 2

Module: Introduction to Call CentresUnit: What is a Call Centre?IntroductionLEARNING ACTIVITY #1Match the definition to the term.1. in-bound2. out-bound3. predictive dialers4. cold-call sellinga) calls coming into a call centreb) selling to a stranger over thephonec) calls going out of a call centred) numbers are dialed on phone linesfor a group of agents automaticallyLEARNING ACTIVITY #2Contact a local call centre and find out if they are inbound (only take callsfrom outside) or outbound (they call out to try to sell products). Also, try tofind out what companies or industries they have contracts with. It isprobably best to complete the curriculum first before doing this activity. LLEO 2004, Call Centre Essential Skills TrainingPage 3

Module: Introduction to Call CentresUnit: What is a Call Centre?Recent TrendsRecent TrendsThe number of call centres has increased in the last decade because businesstransactions in North America are increasingly handled by telephone. Astoll-free numbers grow and 24-hour services increase, so does the number ofpeople needed to answer the calls and manage the centres.Call centres can be found servicing almost every industry these days,including insurance companies, financial service institutions, health careinstitutions, the hospitality industry, utility companies, governmentdepartments, telecommunications companies and retailers. Some of thestrongest demand for call centres is coming from banks and long-distanceproviders of loyalty programs such as Air Miles and Canadian Airlines’travel points.Call centres have become very important strategic marketing tools,providing companies with a link to customers, and giving them an advantagein an increasingly competitive economy. To stay competitive these days,companies need to be ready to engage a customer at any time of the day ornight and, in a global economy, anywhere in the world.LEARNING ACTIVITY #31. global economy2. loyalty program3. link4. toll-free LLEO 2004, Call Centre Essential Skills Traininga) Air Miles (keep customers)b) long distance numbers that arefreec) doing business all over the worldd) a connectionPage 4

Module: Introduction to Call CentresUnit: What is a Call Centre?OccupationsCall Centre OccupationsA person who works in a call center is called a Customer ServiceRepresentative (CSR).Common job titles include: customer service clerk inquiries clerk business information clerk public relations clerkThese clerks answer questions and provide information about a business’sgoods, services and policies. They provide customer services such asreceiving payments and processing requests. They gather the informationrequired to provide services.They are employed by the retail sector, insurance industry, telephonecorporations, utility companies and by other establishments throughout theprivate and public (government) sectors.Customer service information and related clerks generally work in thecompany’s reception area or in call centres. Much ofthe work now occurs over the telephone. Interactivevoice response, predictive voice response andautomatic call distribution are changing the nature ofthe work. Only one percent of people in this occupationare self-employed. Most are employed with largeorganizations or small businesses.Duties of CSRs fall under the following categories:order entry, customer service, telemarketing and help desk. It is in the HelpDesk field that you can use your expertise in trouble-shooting with computerkeyboarders.As the use of home computers increases and the world of the Internetenlarges, this type of call centre work is increasing. LLEO 2004, Call Centre Essential Skills TrainingPage 5

Module: Introduction to Call CentresUnit: What is a Call Centre?OccupationsLEARNING ACTIVITY #4Match the job type to the correct job descriptions.1. Order Entry2. Customer Service3. Telemarketing4. Help Desk LLEO 2004, Call Centre Essential Skills Traininga) Where sales techniques are used topromote products and services. Every timeyou answer your telephone and are asked,Have you joined a long distance telephonesavings plan? You are speaking to a callcentre worker.b) Where customer relationships aremaintained. Every time you call acommunity college or university to askabout courses to take, you are connected toa call centre.c) Where orders are taken over thetelephone. Every time you call for pizzadelivery, you are connected to a call centre.d) Where you telephone when you are inurgent need of computer assistance whenyour software application or Internetprovider crashes.Page 6

Module: Introduction to Call CentresUnit: What is a Call Centre?Working ConditionsWorking conditionsThe call centre workplace is a fast-paced customer service or salesenvironment. Call productivity is the most important thing in running asuccessful call centre. The more calls a CSR can handle, the better.CSRs must be self-disciplined and have the ability to manage challengingcalls and cope with the resulting stress. They might answer up to 100 ormore calls per day, although fewer calls are answered at the technical helpdesk, where customer needs are often very complex.CSRs are monitored to identify training needs and measure performance.Calls are monitored in order to identify whether or not a CSR is performingthe job properly, and up to company standards. Further training andcoaching may be required to help the CSR to do a better job.Drive-byRemote monitoringSide-by-side coachingTypes of CoachingThe coach or supervisor overhears the CSR’sresponse to a customer while walking by.The supervisor or coach listens to calls froma location away from the rep’s workstation.The coach or supervisor sits beside the rep,usually listening in on a headset to both sidesof the call.Some CSRs find call centres stressful places to work. Call volumes,feedback and call monitoring by managers, and a structured schedulesometimes intimidate them. Every minute is money in call centres and aschedule must be followed. The schedule will include start and stop times atthe beginning and end of your day, as well as breaks and lunches. It isimportant that CSRs stick to schedules. They should also be able tomultitask, using different software packages and technologies.CSRs can advance to the position of team leader, supervisor or manager andcan progress from the call centre to the larger organization. CSRs canadvance to team leader or supervisor positions fairly quickly due to highdemand and staff turn over. LLEO 2004, Call Centre Essential Skills TrainingPage 7

Module: Introduction to Call CentresUnit: What is a Call Centre?Working ConditionsIn addition to technical help desk positions in call centres, there areopportunities for technically-trained people including trouble-shooters andtechnical trainers. Experience with call centre industry technology may berequired, backed by two or three years of general experience.Call centres are changing to include more services, improved access tocustomer databases, and integration with the Internet. Multimedia callcentres are likely to grow, requiring workers to adapt their skills andknowledge to improved technologies.LEARNING ACTIVITY #5Match the vocabulary with the correct definition. Then choose three andgive examples or use in aa) number of calls you must makesentence.b) checked1. multitaskc) where you call if you encounter a2. trouble-shootproblem with your computer3. call quotasd) use different software and technology4. monitorede) solve technical problems (e.g. computer)5. technical help deskLEARNING ACTIVITY #61. How many calls might a worker answer per day?2. What two things are workers monitored for?3. Name two positions a CSR can advance to.LEARNING ACTIVITY #71. Have you ever felt trapped in a job? What did you do about it? LLEO 2004, Call Centre Essential Skills TrainingPage 8

Module: Introduction to Call CentresUnit: What is a Call Centre?Working Conditions2. Have you had a personal experience dealing with job stress?3. Has anyone ever monitored you before? How did it feel?4. Have you ever had to multitask?5. What kinds of databases have you worked with?LEARNING ACTIVITY #81. drive-bysa) The supervisor or coach listens to calls from2. side-by-side coaching a location away from the rep’s workstation.3. remote monitoringb) The coach or supervisor overhears the rep’sresponse to a customer while walking by.A good call centre hasc) The coach or supervisor sits beside the rep,effective coaching thatusually listening in on a headset to both sideshelps the call centreof the call.worker. Match the threecoaching terms to their definitions. LLEO 2004, Call Centre Essential Skills TrainingPage 9

Module: Introduction to Call CentresUnit: What is a Call Centre?Skill RequirementsSkill RequirementsHiring the right person for the job is very important in the call centreindustry. In many instances, the representative on the phone is the firstcontact the customer will have with the company. Call centre work isdefinitely a people business requiring good communications and customerskills as well as the right disposition, personality and temperament.“We hire attitude and we teachproducts and skills. A lot of theability to handle the call isthrough the systems, througheffectively managing thedatabases.”The above quote shows theimportance of starting off withthe right type of person for callcentre work. Once the person hasbeen hired, it is the call centre’sresponsibility to ensure goodtraining and ongoing motivationof agents.Candidates for an entry-level position intelephone sales or customer services needto have the following skills:excelle