Starting a job in a call centre.

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Well I've being trawling job sites for weeks, hours upon hours a day, nothing ever came of it, was rather depressing to say the least!

I luckily came across an agency about a call centre job at RBS in Manchester, now I'm just looking for a job, the important thing for me is the experience, and this job is a 6 month contract, I know with 6 months experience under my belt I'll be able to find another job after the 6 months are up much more quickly and easily.

I've not had much "customer service" experience, but I have some helping out a friend in his bike shop / cafe.

I'm not really sure what to expect from the call centre job as this would be my first ever job in one, I am told by the recruiters (Hays) that there is a 4-6 weeks training period (I presume this is "probation"?), is it the likely case that within this time period you have to pass it or you don't get to continue the 6 months?

Do places like this recognise people's willing to work and learn? If someone showed any signs of struggling or doing something wrong, do they just chuck you out? I'm the sort of person that plans in advance and intends to get there on time and do the best I can.

The lack of security is worrying, like for example if I could end up jobless a month down the line, since I'd be renting in a house share and if I did not have a job I'd end up having big problems!

Also what happens regarding things like illness, I mean, surely if someone ended up with the flu that'd not be a problem not being able to get in? Or if they had a doctors appointment or something?

Sorry for the long post!


Planning & Performance Manager

Thames Water

The 4-6 weeks will be the physical training, although it will probably include some form of live work based on the length. Probation tends to be 3-6 months. There will be a lot of training on systems I would have thought, lots of buddying people taking calls etc. It is a fairly common length for a call centre induction.

As a job, it's a love or loathe it thing for me. Some people spend years doing the role on the phone and genuinely love it. For others, the restrictions it places on you cause frustration, but as it's a 6 months contract that should be fine to have a go and see how it works out.

The odd thing for me is when people ask about absence policies before starting. In any company, even some of the poorly run ones, if you put the effort in and show commitment and promise, even poor attendance can be over looked. If you are just there for a pay cheque and miss every other day, don't expect to last too long. The reality is, as it's a big company, there will be a formal policy in place, probably with some trigger points to try and have discussion and avoid high absence rates. At the end of the day, even genuine absence can be a reason for someone loosing their job, but that is rare. You should be more than adequately covered for the run of the mill illness stuff.

Good luck

Will the 4-6 weeks training be part of that 6 months contact, or will it all add up to 7.5 months?

I feel that when I've gone through training, I expect to know what I'm doing as in any queries from customers I'll be able to answer most things, in which case I will be happy. Admittedly it'd be nice if there was some progression within the company which I think is unlikely in a 6 month contract as I am aiming to get into IT support or even web development.


Planning & Performance Manager

Thames Water

The induction would be part of the overall probation, although with a 6 month FTC not sure if they would bother with a probation, which is really only useful for permanent employment.

It might be that they use the FTC as a way of "trialling" people before then offering the permanent roles, or it could just be a seasonality thing.

If you have the right skills in the two jobs mentioned, there wil be plenty of opportunities within such an organisation. You might just need to show them off in your own time to the benefit of the company to get that next opportunity though. The one thing you will need to get used to in a call centre environment is that as an agent, your time is generall well controlled at work.

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