Call centre operator

customer service agent call centre agent

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would answer people’s questions, give them advice and sort out their problems by phone and email.

You’d help customers with clear, friendly advice and information. Sometimes you’d help them complete a task such as pay a bill or buy a product which they may find confusing or difficult.

You’d probably speak with people on the phone or use email, text and instant messaging to chat with them. But you might also respond by post or fax.

You could work in a lot of different sectors.

If you work for a retail company, shop or mail order business, you would:

  • Deal with customer orders
  • Handle credit and debit card payments
  • Answer enquiries
  • Respond to complaints

If you work or a financial institution you’d advise people about the products and services. You’d also do telesales to sell the products and do market research.

If you worked on an information technology (IT) helpline you’d help customers fix their computer problems. You might talk them through the process.

You could also help the people who call advice lines for services like:

  • Counselling
  • Welfare and benefits advice
  • Legal information
  • Help with careers

You would usually access and update customers' records on computer databases.

With experience, you could mentor and train staff and check calls to ensure customers get a good service.

Working conditions


Full-time jobs are normally 35 to 40 hours a week. You would often have a choice of full-time or part-time hours. Many companies offer flexible working, sometimes on a shift system.


You would spend most of your time at a computer wearing a telephone headset. At some call centres you may not have a permanent desk but would take the first available one when you start your shift.

UK employment status



Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Helping customers
  • Being tactful
  • Working on your own
  • Using computers
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


Qualifications at SCQF levels 4 to 6 or relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Customer Services (SVQ level 2/3).

Useful subjects

  • English
  • ICT
  • Administration or business subjects.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate administrative and IT skills, a good telephone manner and customer service skills will be helpful.

It is helpful to have relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Contact Centre Operations (SVQ level 2/3) or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.