If you're thinking about how to make a dent in some of your bills, working at your university's call center could be the way to do it. Most campuses have them and the people hiring for open positions frequently hire current students or alumni because they know those people can represent the establishment well.
Working in a call center generates income but it's not always easy. Here are some tips for thriving as you master the phone lines.
1. Don't take rejection personally
Many outgoing people love working in a university call center because the job allows them to talk to such a wide variety of individuals. However, some won't be thrilled about picking up the phone and hearing your voice. Maybe they just sat down to dinner or are dealing with the stresses of a fussy toddler.
If the person you're calling gets upset, take a deep breath, apologize for disturbing them and clarify that you'll get back in touch at a more convenient time. Never assume the rejection is a reflection of your skills or who you are.
2. Use calming essential oils
Even the most level-headed people occasionally feel swamped by the kind of work a call center demands. If you often get anxious, consider using a temple balm with a soothing scent such as lavender. Temple balms are lightweight substances you can apply to the insides of your wrists or even spread a tiny bit inside your nostrils.
Otherwise, look for essential oils sold in roll-on applicators. They're typically about the size of a tube of lip balm, making them easy to carry in your pocket and retrieve when you feel under pressure at work.
3. Confide in your colleagues when appropriate
Everyone has bad days, in call centers and elsewhere. One beneficial element of working in a call center is that all the other people gazing at computer interfaces and using phones around you have almost certainly gone through experiences similar to the ones that threaten to make you lose your cool.
Don't be afraid to confide in them about things other call center employees understand. But, only do that when the time is right. Don't start griping about an upsetting customer when the person sitting next to you is conversing with someone else. Save that for breaks or when you have social gatherings with colleagues away from work.
4. Learn your scripts
If your role involves cold calls, scripts can make it easier to give every person you call a consistent experience. Taking time to memorize your scripts could bring you confidence that helps curb the natural anxiety that can arise when calling strangers. But, leave room for improvisation, too.
People will pose various questions based on the information you give them and the queries will change depending on if you're asking for donations, selling season passes for the college's football games or fielding queries from prospective students.
Think of your script as a foundation that helps you feel well-equipped for any people you encounter on the phone during a shift. Then, use your judgment to give supplementary information that makes the individuals feel informed about the products associated with you or your campus.
5. Focus on the positives
When call center employees get overwhelmed, it's common for them to focus exclusively on the bad parts of the job. However, student call center workers benefit universities and those employees get benefits, too.
For example, an employer at your university may be more understanding of your class schedule than someone associated with the local community. Flexibility is a mutual benefit both for people who work at call centers and those who need their services. Plus, being in a student call center lets you become an ambassador of sorts for your college.
Those are just a couple of ideas of things you can recall if you start to feel discouraged. Your perspective shapes your outlook and everyone needs a reminder of that from time to time — especially when the phone lines are busy and you're not having the kind of success you'd hoped for during a given shift.
6. Think of something that makes you happy before dialing a number
Working in a call center means people can't assess your non-verbal communication. They only hear your voice, so it's useful to learn how to sound better over the phone. One of the easiest tricks is to think of something pleasant before you dial a person's number. Maybe you'll call your favorite vacation spot to mind or the adorable face of your faithful pet to put a smile on your face.
No matter what kind of mental image you choose, it should be powerful enough to help you sound enthusiastic to the caller and feel uplifted overall.
7. Be honest with your supervisor
You'll likely get to a point in your student call center career where it becomes clear something isn't working. It could be that your hourly quota is too high and makes you feel so rushed that people think you're impatient with them. Or, maybe you believe more training would help you improve your performance.
In any case, it's up to you to mention those things and specify how your superior could help.
8. Give yourself time to decompress after work
A shift that goes well can still have some down moments. That's why it's a good idea to set aside a period after work you can use to clear your head and process the events you experienced. You might take a walk while doing so or let yourself mull over the day doing something you enjoy, like cooking or art.
Experiment with these survival strategies!
You undoubtedly have things you do to get through other challenging parts of the college experience. You can ponder these possibilities as well to increase the likelihood of having the best possible experience as a university call center worker.