Call Center Job Skills: 5 You Need to Have

And while not all call center jobs are the same, you’ll need to have these talents, no matter where you work.

Amy Culver |
Amy is our Lead Copywriter at Snagajob, where she loves to use her word nerd powers to help workers and employers connect. Her first hourly job was as a cashier at Chick-fil-a.
Categories: Career Advice

While not all call center jobs are the same, you’ll need to have these talents no matter where you work.

Do you have the gift of the gab? Do you prefer to pick up the phone and talk to someone instead of scrolling through chats? Did Verizon’s double-unlimited phone plan speak to you on a spiritual level? 

Perfect! Companies need energetic extroverts like you to staff their call center jobs. Talk customers through their problems, answer their questions, and earn good money doing it. 

Now, let’s answer a few of your questions!


What is a call center?

Nearly every major company has a call center, whether it’s on-site or across the globe. Most companies use call centers to support the products or services they sell via phone (and sometimes chat or email). And they need people like you jockeying the phones to help customers. 


What’s the difference between call center jobs and telemarketing jobs?

Call center jobs are sometimes also called telemarketing jobs. In reality, telemarketers are a subset of call center agents who specialize in handling sales. Depending on your skill set and interests, you may or may not be drawn to telemarketing.


How many years of experience do I need to be a call center agent?

Don't worry—you don't need years of experience to get a flexible call center position. Many call center reps have a high school diploma, and usually, no higher education is required. Even with minimal work experience and no college, you could be the perfect call center agent!


This job is about other kinds of skills that don’t necessarily require a degree to develop. The top five call center skills you need are discussed in depth below. So, instead of endlessly searching for “jobs hiring near me with no experience”—boring!—think about looking for call center jobs


What call center job skills do I need to be successful?

So, what makes a good call center agent? This job is all about people skills, baby. Add in some solid computer knowledge, and you’re on the right track. 


To be a successful call center representative, you’ll need these five skills to deliver outstanding customer support. And when putting together your call center skills resume, be sure to highlight the following types of talents if you have them!


  1. Outgoing and energetic personality

Call centers are no places for shrinking violets! These companies need friendly, outgoing and positive people in their call centers. If you’re not a fan of dealing with the public or helping others, this job probably isn’t the one for you. 


Simply having the right attitude can make the difference between a bad customer service call and a call that leaves customers smiling. That’s hard to do, day after day, if people aren’t really your thing.

This is the kind of job where you can put your communication skills to work and brighten someone’s day. Your sunny disposition can directly impact your employer’s customer satisfaction in a positive way. And you’re making a real difference to the callers you’re helping, simply by being your enthusiastic and friendly self!


  1. Good listening skills


Being talkative is definitely a plus here! But even though you get to talk a lot at the call center, you also need to be able to listen. This means being a good conversationalist and practicing active listening. 

Great customer service representatives don’t interrupt customers. Instead, they engage with people and seek to understand what the customer needs. They ask questions and are genuinely curious. They want to be helpful.


The call center might supply a script for you to read from, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a robot. Remember, there’s a human on the other end of the line—that means you should be human as well and listen to what they’re telling you so you can help them.


  1. Multitasking


Are you able to surf Netflix, eat spaghetti and text your friends at the same time (off the clock, of course)? Sweet. You’ll be able to juggle multiple tasks at the call center without breaking a sweat. 

Call center agents are responsible for talking on the phone, completing data entry, and more—sometimes all at once. Multitasking is the name of the game at this fast-paced job. If you like to be busy and productive, this job could be a great fit.


  1. Problem-solving 


Okay, if one train is heading west at 85 MPH, and another train is heading east at 72 MPH—just kidding!

You don’t need to be a math whiz to work at a call center, but you do need to have a mind for problem-solving. Thinking fast and solving complex customer issues in just minutes is kind of the name of the game. Most of the time, the answers will be common sense and guided by company policy or scripts, but getting to the right solution can take a bit of thinking.


During the call center interview process, the hiring manager may ask you some problem-solving questions. Prep ahead of time to land the perfect call center position for you.


  1. Computer skills


You’ve got your smartphone figured out, but you’ll also need to know basic computer programs to work at a call center. You’ll have a computer in front of you every day, so it’s key to know what to do with it.

Get familiar with computer programs like Windows, Excel and the Microsoft Office suite in general. You also need to have basic typing skills, although faster typing skills will help you save time as you enter customer information and notes into the system.  


Beyond that, the call center will train you on how to use their calling, recording and payroll systems. You don’t have to know this before the job; you just need a willingness to learn.


What can I expect from a call center job?

What’s it actually like to work at a call center? Your job description and day-to-day tasks will differ by company, but there are a few common things you can expect. 


Depending on the company and your specific role, you'll be making outbound calls, where you're contacting the customer, or inbound calls, where customers contact you.


How many hours do call center agents work?

Most call center jobs want you there 30-40 hours a week. The good news is that you can sign up for flexible shifts, which is perfect if you’re going to school or have a family at home. Call centers are usually open 24 hours a day, which means you can often work the hours that fit your schedule. 


But do keep in mind that call centers are generally open every day of the year. Do you want to be taking calls on Christmas Eve from panicked Walmart shoppers? That’s something to take into account. 


What’s the hardest part of call center jobs?

Call centers can be a high-stress job. You need to be a pretty smooth operator in this intense environment. You’ll have to be able to keep your cool under pressure, even if you have a caller yelling at you. Remember, these customers will be stressed and tired. Give them respect and you’ll get it in return. 

Call centers need people on-hand at all times, and that means your break times will be pretty strict. Use your breaks to decompress. Do breathing exercises at your desk when things get crazy if that helps you.


What’s the best part of call center jobs?

The absolute best thing about working in a call center is helping people. You’re making a difference in someone’s life by answering the phone when they need it.


Also, it’s a fun, fast-paced job that keeps you on your toes. If you like games of strategy and competition, this could be a great fit for you.


Another great benefit of working at a call center is that the dress code is pretty lax. Wear your own threads on the job and express yourself. Be sure to keep it comfortable and work appropriately. PJs in the office are still a no-no! 

However, there are some call center jobs from home out there…PJs may be more acceptable for virtual call center jobs!


What’s the bottom line?

Call center jobs give you a chance to be social and help people. It’s a great way to enjoy more flexibility in a dynamic job while also beefing up your bank account.


Sound right up your alley? Practice for your call center job search with these interview questions. Brush up your cover letter, call center resume and interview skills to score a new job in no time.