Are UK Call Centres / Contact Centres a good place to work 2023?

One of the most difficult positions to fill in the UK recruitment sector is in the call centre environment, historically this has been due to low paid roles and there always seems to be apprehension from candidates when entering the sector. I personally have 14 years experience in the contact centre environment which has been both rewarding and great for personal development. I am here to tell you why contact centres are a great place to work, from excellent benefits to career development.

Contact centres are still a growing industry with historic services moving further and further away from high streets, the customer focus for a business and organisation is based around developing customer experience and retention via contact centers, whether that’s social, email, web chat or phone contact.

There are other untold benefits to working in a contact centre if you look away from the starting wage, but the few I would like to first highlight include flexible dress codes, no experience required, rarely any work to take home, gaining flexible skills and having significant diversity among colleagues, I can also not forget to mention that most UK Contact Centres kept their working from home polices following Covid-19.

What’s in it for me starting a career in contact centre?

As reported by the Contact Centre Salary and Skills Guide, published by the CCMA (Call Centre Management Association), during the past year in the UK frontline roles have seen a 11% increase in wages. Granted this is primarily due to the cost of living inflationary national living wage increase but it’s a common misconception that wages are low in contact centers, the average entry level positions start at £23,090 according to reed’s salary calculator based on current jobs advertised. In more technical roles such as IT and debt management this can be up to £29,000.

To anyone who imagines a corporate environment, a flexible dress code may not seem normal as this is not expected in roles such as retail, finance and IT, but having a flexible dress code brings great benefits for employees, including

a). you do not have the hefty expense of keeping up appearances and b). you feel more comfortable when speaking to someone as this helps you relax, which is also a benefit to customers.

The term no experience is required is a true statement when it comes to working in UK Contact Centres, I can guarantee a hiring manager is looking for someone who has basic IT skills, usually gained in school or university, using a computer at home, or working with similar devices in other roles. The main thing they are looking for is someone with a positive attitude who is willing to learn, most contact centre skills are picked up in initial training which can take 1-6 weeks depending on the industry. Contact centre team leaders and managers do not expect you to be perfect from day one but they will definitely work with you through coaching and development through the entirety of the time you are with the team.

My experience is the training and development on skills that are transferable to other roles is unparrelel, this is coupled with great progression routes whether that be through the call centre structure or in other departments, no one knows more about the customers experience in the business or organisation than a contact centre advisor or customer service advisor.

How will this benefit my career and future?

I find the skills learned in contact centres are very versatile, you can also join a variety of well known brands and organisations at entry level and move up quickly especially into other business areas that you may be interested in given the low entry requirements, this is potentially easier than a graduate scheme.

Even careers in just the contact centre environment can be both rewarding personally and financially. Examples of common roles in call centres are listed below :-

Contact Centre Supervisor – £23000 to £26000

Call Centre Planner – £23000 to £26000

Call Centre Team Leader – £26,000 to £29,000

Customer Service Manager – £28,000 to £30,000

Call Centre / Contact Centre Manager £29000-£40,000.

Head of Customer Service / Experience £40,000 – £80,000

Customer Service Director – £80,000 and up!

There are many other roles within the call centre environment which can be taken up around the edges in Telephony, IT, HR, Training and data processing.

Do contact centres have a good work life balance?

You can guarantee a role in a contact centre is rarely 9-5 to with no weekends, however most planning managers like people who can be both flexible and work when needed, its quite common to be able to do roles part time, have family friendly contracts and be able to work from home whether that’s hybrid or pure home working, before applying check reviews on indeed as well as the terms of employment in the job description, you will find true contact centre environments will be happy with more flexible work approach due to the fact it is good for customers.

Even if you start full time you may have the right ask for part time under the 26 week rule, more information can be found on acas’s website on this.

How do I know if it’s for me?

For me personally I knew I enjoyed the roles I have done as a Customer Service Advisor, Customer Service Supervisor, Customer Service Manager and Contact Centre Manager, the roles can be really rewarding there’s nothing as good as positive feedback from a customer who you have helped or putting in place something that benefits customers. I have also worked with some fantastic engaged people of the years, who really want the best for both employees and customers (It’s not all about profit).

The roles suite people who love to chat and can multitask on a computer, but also have a good awareness of how the customer will react and how that is seen by the business, but you truly won’t know if you enjoy it until you take that first call, email or web chat from a customer. It can be a nervous process but the training you will have been given prior will give you the skills for this and you will no doubt be fully supported through the process.

I have since moved into retail which is still a fully customer focused business following the end of my last role and this was a perfect change for me, but I would definitely go back to it in the future if this role does not work out.

If you have found this article through or by a link I hope it provided a good insight in this type of job role.

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