Telephone Operators

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About the Job

Provide information by accessing alphabetical, geographical, or other 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.

It is also Called

  • 411 Directory Assistance Operator
  • Bilingual Operator
  • Central Office Operator
  • Change Number Operator
  • Charge Operator
  • Customer Service Assistant
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Directory Assistance Operator
  • Directory Operator
  • Emergency Operator

What They Do

  • Keep records of calls placed and received, and of related toll charges.
  • Update directory information.
  • Operate paging systems or other systems of bells or buzzers to notify recipients of incoming calls.
  • Promote company products, services, and savings plans when appropriate.
  • Provide relay service for hearing-impaired users.
  • Interrupt busy lines if an emergency warrants.
  • Consult charts to determine charges for pay-telephone calls, requesting coin deposits for calls as necessary.
  • Perform clerical duties such as typing, proofreading, and sorting mail.
  • Monitor automated systems for placing collect calls and intervene for a callers needing assistance.
  • Calculate and quote charges for services such as long-distance connections.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: CSR.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Conventional interests, but also prefer Social and Realistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Support and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • 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.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Telecommunications - Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
  • 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.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Education Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

LMI Region

Wages

In 2012, the average annual wage in Washington was $27,880 with most people making between $19,450 and $38,460

Outlook

During 2008, this occupation employed approximately n/a people in Washington. It is projected that there will be - employed in 2018.

This occupation will have approximately - job openings annually.