Telephone operators work for telecommunications companies, assisting callers with public phone numbers and addresses, placing calls, and emergency situations. They calculate charges for pay phones, collect calls and other services, and handle related billing issues.
Telephone operators may also work for the hospitality industry and other businesses, routing calls, paging employees, taking messages and other services. They use telecommunications software, paging systems and relay services.
Duties and responsibilities
- Use directories to respond to customer requests for public phone numbers and addresses,/li>
- Search alternate spellings and locations to assist callers with incorrect or incomplete information
- Assist those who are unable to dial or are in an emergency situation
- Provide assistance to customers making collect, pay phone or international calls
- Calculate charges for pay phones and other services and handle related billing issues
- Utilise telecommunications software to route internal, local, national and international calls
- Provide relay service for hearing-impaired users
- Operate paging and other notification systems, alerting recipients to pick up calls or messages
- Interrupt busy lines to connect a caller in an emergency
- Inform callers about company services, payment and savings plans when appropriate
- Maintain records of completed calls, charges assigned and other billing issues
- Monitor automated systems and intervene if customers need assistance
- Provide message service, wake-up calls and transfers to appropriate departments for hotel guests
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
On a rota
Most telephone operators work full time in an office environment. Those directing calls in a corporate setting will typically work normal business hours. For directory and emergency services that are available 24/7, operators may take on various shifts that can include nights and weekends.
Telephone operators spend extended periods sitting down and answering calls. Dealing with difficult customers or emergency situations in a busy, fast-paced environment can be stressful for some operators.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Most telephone operators have a high school diploma or equivalent. You will receive on-the-job training, usually by working with an experienced operator. Training may include instruction on company guidelines, customer service and telecommunications software.
Gaining experience and positive job performance reviews can lead to bumps in pay and supervisory roles at large call centres.
Telephone operator skills allow you to transition to other customer service roles, such as emergency services dispatcher, hotel clerk, receptionist or bank clerk. Pursuing additional education in sales, communications or computers can lead to more lucrative career paths.