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“My day to day life”, by Jessica Wedel from Customer Service

Do you already have experience with location-based processes or customer service – this is often a question you are asked when you are interviewed. This is because people often have prejudices or preconceived ideas about working in call centres.

I myself also had misconceptions about how things work in a call centre before I joined Telefónica in 2014. But let’s start at the beginning.

A couple of friends I knew from a previous job were already working at Telefónica in a customer service centre and they recruited me to work with them. I asked myself: “But what will I be able to contribute in a call centre as an agent? Will I be working in a boring, open-plan office? Then my friends said to me: “Why don’t you apply and have a look around, and give your own opinion?

After the application process, I was invited to an interview and then to the assessment centre.

When I first visited, I was struck by the magnificent location and the type of building near a lake. I was impressed by the layout of the interior. It was not drab and boring, but modern and open-plan, with large pantries available as a central point on each floor with free drinks and fruit. I was also surprised by the variety of tasks and the versatility of the work.

Tips to be a good call centre agent

During my time in sales as a shop agent, much was based on personal appearance, dress and a pleasant smile with direct eye contact. In telephone sales, on the other hand, the customer service agent cannot act through his or her external charisma and the customer cannot personally choose his or her advisor. Instead, the agent has to win over the customer over the phone with vocal characteristics such as tone of voice, speed of speech, emphasis, pauses, comprehension and psychological knowledge.

It is important that the customer feels understood and in good hands from the beginning of the conversation. If the customer does not feel that they are in good hands and there is no basis of trust, they will not disclose the reasons for their call or make a sale.

The key for me is to create a trust base over the phone, and that is the biggest hurdle and the biggest difference between shop employees and call centre employees.

Our day-to-day work

We make incoming and outgoing calls at our service centres. In inbound telephony, the customer himself contacts the appropriate service line for his enquiry. And in outbound telephony, customer advisors proactively call existing or potential customers to offer them products and services or to arrange appointments. As a rule, the customer is not prepared for this call and may not want to make it at the time. This is where agents with good communication skills, a lot of empathy and understanding prove their worth in building trust and establishing a connection with the other party.

For me, outbound telephony is the most challenging task and personally the one I have most enjoyed taking on. It is simply a great feeling when I can convey great products, positive emotions and our can-do spirit to customers, regardless of the sales channel, and create an excellent customer experience.

Most of my colleagues have been working in Telefónica Customer Services for more than 10 years. I am also celebrating my 10th anniversary this year.

I hope you have enjoyed these reflections on customer service and I look forward to sharing more thoughts with you.