What Do Telephone Operators Do?
Numerous businesses rely on telephone operators to relay vital information. These professionals may provide callers with specific information, or they may just need to process a billing payment. Phone operators are also needed to answer emergency calls and direct it to the proper authorities. They may also help people with physical disabilities or children make a call. Projections indicate that there are going to be 290 job openings for telephone operators every year. However, as a whole, there is going to be a 13% decrease annually, so there are going to be fewer positions at the end of the decade than at the beginning. Some states will see fewer declines than others.
Telephone Operators Skills and Abilities
In addition to having a familiarity with telecommunications systems, you should possess exceptional customer service skills. You will need to speak with various people throughout any given day, and you need to handle all the calls in a professional manner. A lot of clerical work is also associated with this position, so you should be knowledgeable of administrative procedures like managing files, transcribing and word processing. Speaking and listening skills will be essential, and you should be able to speak to others in a manner that is easy to understand.
Telephone Operators Duties
There is a lot more to this job than simply picking up the phone and talking into it. You need to carefully listen to what the caller is asking for and either provide him or her with the information being requested or direct them to whoever can help. Some companies will expect you to maintain a log of all the calls you received or sent out. You will also need to keep the company’s directory up-to-date with the most recent and relevant information. If there are going to be charges associated with a call, then you will need to provide the caller with information regarding how much it is going to cost. You may be expected to sell certain products or services to callers, but that task will be dependent on the exact business you work for. You will likely be responsible for operating a switchboard so that you can transfer or place calls smoothly without dropping one. Your exact set of duties can vary, but other typical tasks include:
- Searching through databases.
- Sorting mail.
- Proofreading documents.
- Helping with paperwork.
- Discussing an account with a customer.
Telephone Operators Tools and Technology
The primary tool you will be utilizing in this kind of work is a phone system and a switchboard. However, you will also likely be inputting data into a computer system. You should also be comfortable with handling a multiline telephone system.
Education and Training for Telephone Operators
Most telephone operators possess a high school diploma or some form of equivalency. Once you have actually gotten a position, you will need to go through a little bit of training at the beginning of your employment. This is to ensure that you will be capable of handling the company’s phone system adequately.
Telephone Operators Salary
The salary for telephone operators can vary quite a bit. Some professionals will start out making $9.00/hour. However, there are some in the field who make as much as $29.00/hour. The median national wage is closer to $17.00/hour.
Telephone Operators Jobs by Geography
Telecommunication carriers have the greatest need for telephone operators, but medical and surgical hospitals also employ a large number of operators. California, Utah and New York have the highest employment levels for this line of work, but Virginia has the highest annual mean wage. Some states have a greater demand for telephone operators than others, so see what the need is for your particular location.