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Tags: Call & Contact Centre, career-guidance-call-centre, industry insights...

​Faced with unprecedented levels of disruption and redundancies caused by COVID-19, many have found themselves in need of a new direction in their career. Retail workers are some of the worst affected, particularly as their employers spent months completely shut down, leaving business owners with very limited ways to generate revenue.

For three months of the lockdown, many shops were forced shut by the UK government, and for weeks before, the government had advised the public to avoid such venues. This had a devastating effect on their bottom line, with high-end department stores having to make 100s of redundancies and, in some cases, shutting down completely as they went into administration.  

Although recovery is underway as restrictions are lifted and shoppers return, does retail offer the stability and job security workers long for?

The pivot to working in a call centre

Throughout the pandemic, we have been working with retail workers by helping them re-evaluate their job search; guiding them towards the sectors where there are jobs and immediate starts available. 

If you have previously worked in retail, you will have many transferable skills that are highly sought after by call centres and many local employers would consider you an asset to their team. We have highlighted the top transferable skills that retail workers can put to good use in a customer support role.

1. Customer Service

Retail is an industry that focuses on creating a memorable experience for customers and providing a top-class service. This skill comes in very handy when working in a call centre. Having a positive outlook and making the customer feel like they matter and are taken care of, are vital skills in a call centre environment.

2. Communication

Good communication skills, both oral and written, are important for call centre roles. Any previous experience in dealing with people, be it colleagues, customers or clients, will help. It may sometimes be necessary to provide an easy-to-understand explanation over the phone or give some news that the caller may not be pleased to hear.

Listening is another essential skill honed within retail. Workers that have patience and experience with complaint handling can often turn a bad situation around, perhaps with a dissatisfied customer. This kind of experience and attitude is invaluable to call centre hiring managers and should be highlighted on your CV for subsequent applications.

3. Resilience

Resilience is crucial and is something that most retail workers will have in droves. As most of us are aware, working in a public-facing role can often be challenging, and that is no different whether you are over the phone or in a shop. Having a thick skin and the resilience to move on to new tasks despite some ongoing setbacks is key. Patience and perseverance, whether in person or over the phone, will set you up for a long and fruitful call centre career.

Rachel Taylor at Search Call and Contact Centre says: “We’ve received quite a large number of enquiries from retail workers who have the skills you need to succeed in a call centre; particularly because a good deal of these roles offer job security which appeals to those who are out of work due to the pandemic. Many candidates have also found the hours more sociable, working evenings and weekends on a rota basis rather than the fixed shifts that you tend to find in retail or hospitality. Plus, more and more candidates are enjoying the increased earning potential you find in working in a call centre; where bonuses can significantly boost your income.” 

COVID-19 has seen more people pivoting within their careers than ever before, taking the opportunity to start over in a career that is flexible and steady. If you’re currently looking for work, then take a look at our call centre jobs or talk to one of our specialist consultants for advice on moving into the industry. 

We’re always looking for candidates who have gained valuable skills and experience in other sectors and can make a real difference to your job search by helping you redraft your CV to stand out, even with limited experience. 

You might also be interested in:

A Day in the Life of a Call & Contact Centre Representative

Top Tips to be a Successful Customer Service Advisor

5 Reasons to Get a Job at a Call Centre