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Day in the life of a call centre employee

Call Centres and Telemarketing

Gerard Engelbrecht is a Merchants call centre Customer Service Representative and is part of the Cape Town team responsible for servicing one of Australia's biggest ISP providers, iiNet. 'The South African office is the first iiNet establishment outside of Australasia and is part of the groups 24/7 customer care strategy.

Working in the BPO sector is an exciting place to be, says Engelbrecht. "The industry provides personal and career growth and allows for financial progression."

Like many matriculants, Engelbrecht opted to enter directly into the job market after school. "The call centre industry was a logical choice especially as Merchants offered an upfront 10 week training programme. 'After completing my training, I began working on the floor dealing with inbound/outbound queries and soon progressed to more advanced technical calls, assisting customers with internet connectivity issues. I did that for two months and was then given the opportunity to become a floor walker."

The role of floor walker involves spending a lot of time going around the centre ensuring all agents are in control, if there is anything they don't know, it's my responsibility to step in and assist, says Engelbrecht. "Other requirements of the job include attending to more advanced customer enquiries, escalations and assisting new recruits within training."

This is a great industry to work in; no two days are the same. In our centre you also get to deal with colleagues from other countries and get to learn from their international experience, says Engelbrecht.

Despite the benefits on the industry, Engelbrecht feels that negative perceptions still limit the number of employees looking for work in call centres. "When you ask most people about call centres, the first thing they think of is hard sales calls. At Merchants all our calls are in fact reactionary, which means we are assisting the client as opposed to selling to them. Our working hours are also nothing out of the ordinary like some people think; I start work at 8 and end at 5," says Engelbrecht.

"I definitely see a future for myself working in this industry for a long time. Over the next year I would like to qualify as a team manager and from there who knows," adds Engelbrecht.

"The call centre industry in South Africa offers so many great working opportunities to people at all levels and we need to continue to provide opportunities to agents like Gerard in the future," says Sipho Zungu CEO of CallingtheCape.

About CallingtheCape
CallingtheCape is a Section 21 company that promotes Cape Town and its surrounding areas as destinations for national and international investment in contact centres and business process outsourcing. Formed in 2001, CallingtheCape is funded by member contributions as well as by local and provincial governments.

About Merchants
Merchants, a Dimension Data company, is a leading provider of bespoke outsource contact centre solutions with a more than 25 year track record of successfully delivering customers contact centre solutions for a variety of blue chip organisations, globally.

Editorial details
Vanda Dickson
Tel: 011 575 2479
Cell: 082 884 7786

Sipho Zungu
Cell: 082 494 8447
Tel: 021 4190033

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