Customer services account for one of Northern Ireland’s most important employment growth sectors, it was claimed today.
Quality training, flexible working hours and opportunities for career progression have resulted in an increasing number of job applications, according to Firstsource Solutions in Belfast.
“Many companies like ours encourage their staff to continue their studies and will provide time off to complete further education,” said general Owen Jackson, manager of the outsourcing company.
“Employees who show a keen interest and a passion for success are given every opportunity to progress and many of the current management team began their careers as customer service advisors and have moved into other areas such as HR, training, operations, quality and finance.
“There are opportunities for training and career advancement within our business. Some members of our staff have had the opportunity to work on exciting new projects and enhance their skills during overseas work placements in countries such as India, USA and the Philippines.”
Owen, who began work whilst completing his degree at University of Ulster has progressed through the ranks and says opportunities exist for others to do the same in the customer services field.
“I began working part time for a call centre in Belfast in 1998 while I finished my degree. My first position was a customer service advisor and I quickly progressed to team leader and performance manager.
“The typical customer service advisor needs to be a good communicator, motivated and relate well to the customers but there is no typical experience or qualification for a career in customer services.
“We recruit people from many different backgrounds and we have successfully hired people who have been taxi drivers, counsellors, lawyers, teachers and many other professions who due to career breaks or other circumstances, have found it necessary to start a new career.
“There is such a diverse range of employees in the customer services industry, which in itself brings creativity to the working environment.”
“The reality of a modern call centre is vibrant, family-friendly and very much a part of the local community.
“Whatever your experience, background or profession, there is a wide range of opportunities available in the customer service industry.”