Career Progression for an agent

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Career Progression for an agent
Is this possible for the vast majority of agents or do other industries offer a higher probability of success in career progression?

WFM & Business Telephony Manager

Healthcare Insurance

Careers

I started off as an agent on the phone's in 1998.

I've kind of (with one company change ) worked my way up to
the Business Telephony and Resource analyst's position I have now.

Another of my friends has worked up to a grade below site general
manager in the same time.

So yes it is possible.

DaveA


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15 to one against
Thanks Dave,

I know its possible but is it likely and/or probable for the vast majority of agents? Given a 15 to one team ratio and the scarcity of other positions isn't there a disincentive to want to progress?

Sr. Manager

NIS Sparta Limited

Career of Agent
YES, It is tricky quetion.

Answer is yes and no both.

One has to own his career and need to learn himself with new trends,tools and proceses.

If he does so he can move to Team Leaders position and subsequently ops managers..

Opportunities also exist to move to position of trainer and consultants in areas of expertise in few years.

All the best.

kishore

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Fast tracking high flyers
Many other industries offer fast track progression for graduates. Our industry employs graduates and high flyers but we dont fast track them instead we put them on the phones.

I've never met a university graduate who's career goal was to be a call centre manager. Aren't we guilty of allowing people to fall into management jobs rather than creating an industry that potential external recruits aspire to work in.

Managing Director

Diversifying into Telemarketing

Regarding the industry as a whole and the future

You are obviously a professional who works within the call center industry, may I ask what is your view about the future of call centers in general?

I'm starting a small business, and from my own small back yard there seems to be a healthy demand for people to general business to business phone calling on behalf of other small businesses. Your perspective is probably from the larger corporate giants as well as the smaller fish such as myself, so you must have a more comprehensive view?

Rgds

Stephen

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Where's it all going?
Stephen,

Oh dear, there's many a reader on this site that would berate you for asking me my opinion.

Geographically I'm based in the UK, my opinion is that many many of the issues on these boards will continue, retention, motivation, recruitment, how to deliver outstanding customer service versus business constraints and globalisation for a very long time. If you read back through posts over the last 18 months on these issues you'll there are many in 'the old guard' who are of a similar prosaic viewpoint.
Do read their posts, don't focus too heavily on the enthusiasm of the newcomer, its normal and happens often in this industry, its figures and longevity of industry experience that enable business decisions to be taken dispassionately and perceptively.

That's not to paint a negative view, its just pragmatic, these issues have been around for a decade or so and no one seems to have formulated long term solutions as yet although one can use a few 'fixes' to reduce them.

Outsourcing has much the same problems as in-house but with less focus on training and development, more focus on costs and efficiency.

As regards telesales, the ground appears to be shifting, consumers are becoming ever more irritated by telesales call. I see the US ban of sales calls becoming more prevalent across the world and I feel sure the EU will bear down upon this eventually. Business to business, I'm not sure where that one will go.

In the meantime, growth is still predicted in the UK, call centres keep growing, cheaper cost bases keep being found. Pretty soon you wont need human beings !

That's the corporate view as regards smaller fish, I'm sorry Stephen but they dont engae me to train their staff - usually for cost and lack of investment in training, consequently I am unable to offer you any worthwhile input on them.

But don't listen to me anyhow, I've spent too long delivering bucket training for clients who sheep dip their workforces negate their employee's previous skills and knowledge promise them lots then underdeliver due to costs, I couldn't possibly be jaded could I?

Telemarketing Manager

CCT

Where's it all going?

You surprise me you have always been so positive and upbeat about everything relating to Call Centre issues, especially training.

Is there something specific which has affected your opinions of late or are you just having a moan.

PS, I have always found that being promoted in a call centre has nothing to do with your ability at a company representative and everything to do with who you know.

Jason Dickson

Internal Sales Manager

CALL CENTRE TECHNOLOGY
Jason.dickson@callct.co.uk

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Sixes and Half dozens
Jason,

Its not a moan, its a very simplistic business case which is what I hope anyone going into the industry seriously would like to hear, not gushing with wide eyed naievity and optimism. Hard nosed business facts have to be made by Stephen who is looking to move into an already busy market place.

Yes I'm enthusiastic about training, it has many plus points and some negative ones (peripheral activity, along with advertising always the first to be cut when times are hard) but I am also able (I hope) to separate this from management policies/techniques and the all encompasing politics that govern our corporate well being.

David calls it cynicism, Jason moaning, myself hard nosed pragmatism tempered with acceptance and compassion for employees. Perhaps its only my last paragraph you take issue with, thats based on personal experience in many, many companies - others are of course allowed to have their own different experiences.

Telemarketing Manager

CCT

Sixes and Half dozens
May I ask how you generate business, is it mainly word of mouth or do you have a sales team?

Jason

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Sixes and Half dozens
Of course you can ask Jason and of course I can decline to respond ! ;)

Telecom/Reporting Analyst

Outsource callcenter

Career Progression of an Agent
In my call center there is definitely career possibilities for agents. Agents have become Supervisors, Account Coordinators, IT people, Administrative Assistants, etc...
One thing that keeps most agents from progressing is the relatively short time they usually stay. Many call center agents don't consider the call center an actual career, but 'just a job.' The next center that offers them a $.50 raise, they leave. Most of the time they don't even check to see if other internal positions might be open.

*shrug*

Performance Counselor

Sinja Masterstrokes

Call Centre Agents and Career Growth.
Hi!

The efforts required to grow differ from individual to individual and growth or otherwise depends on the individual agent.

I presume that the dedicated and growth oriented industries, do have clearly defined growth path maps vertically, horizontally or diagonally, and it does boil down to a question of mere retention.

So, I guess the solution and success in this competitive scenario, are factors that are relevant to specifics - and the Organisations - and would fall under the USPs of the Organisations - rather than in the General Open Domain.

Having said that it is always useful to interact and help where possible, as long as we accept that we are not looking for Universal Open Solutions.

So I would just like to state that there are very good Career Progression Avenues for Call Centre Agents, and successful companies ensure that they have such processes in place.

Maybe the key factor here is that an aspiring call centre agent needs to learn how to evaluate prospective employers and there you have another potential thread.

Regards,
Mahidhar

Customer Service Manager

Qualisys Technologies

Adding Training Opportunities for Advancement
I've been in the call center biz for a few years now and many of the issues you bring up are relevant no matter the industry the call center represents. With that said I've just changed call centers and find myself in a center that actually has associates that have been in the job for an average of 5-6 years with little or no promotion or training opportunities for advancement. Morale is low and I'm struggling with upper management to implement a true call center team lead position that will offer some hope for advancement within the department. Does anyone have a general job description for a call center team lead and/or suggestions regarding how to approach the "powers that be" on the pros (I'm sure they'll give me all the cons) on adding such a position.

Thanks in advance for all responses, even they cynical one.

SL

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Case proven m'lud
Sonja,

Firstly I'll get over my gloating, secondly you need to influence the management and the only way to do that is to link your proposals to hard nosed commercial reality.
This can be found in the policy statements, company vision and mission statements. ie. if the company state they have a policy to 'motivate, empower/advance' 'create a happy environment' etc for example then cite this. Obviously conduct a morale survey and exit interviews to prove your point, then go after the board.

Good luck

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