Career summary

Details for Telephone Operators


Description

Provide information by accessing alphabetical and geographical directories. Assist customers with special billing requests, such as charges to a third party and credits or refunds for incorrectly dialed numbers or bad connections. May handle emergency calls and assist children or people with physical disabilities to make telephone calls.

Tasks

  • Listen to customer requests, referring to alphabetical or geographical directories to answer questions and provide telephone information.
  • Suggest and check alternate spellings, locations, or listing formats to customers lacking details or complete information.
  • Offer special assistance to persons such as those who are unable to dial or who are in emergency situations.
  • Observe signal lights on switchboards, and dial or press buttons to make connections.
  • Operate telephone switchboards and systems to advance and complete connections, including those for local, long distance, pay telephone, mobile, person-to-person, and emergency calls.
  • Provide assistance for customers with special billing requests.
  • Calculate and quote charges for services such as long-distance connections.
  • Monitor automated systems for placing collect calls and intervene for a callers needing assistance.
  • Perform clerical duties such as typing, proofreading, and sorting mail.
  • Consult charts to determine charges for pay-telephone calls, requesting coin deposits for calls as necessary.
  • Interrupt busy lines if an emergency warrants.
  • Provide relay service for hearing-impaired users.
  • Promote company products, services, and savings plans when appropriate.
  • Operate paging systems or other systems of bells or buzzers to notify recipients of incoming calls.
  • Update directory information.
  • Keep records of calls placed and received, and of related toll charges.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Skills

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Related careers

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  • Credit Authorizers
  • Customer Service Representatives
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  • Interviewers, Except Eligibility and Loan
  • Receptionists and Information Clerks
  • Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks
  • Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service