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Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service
SOC Code: 43-2011.00

Operate telephone business systems equipment or switchboards to relay incoming, outgoing, and interoffice calls. May supply information to callers and record messages.

Sample of reported job titles: CBX Operator; Communication Specialist; Information Specialist; Operator; PBX Operator (Private Branch Exchange Operator); Switchboard Operator; Switchboard Operator, Receptionist; Telecommunications Clerk; Telecommunications Operator; Telephone Operator

Tasks

  • Answer incoming calls, greeting callers, providing information, transferring calls or taking messages as necessary.
  • Operate communication systems, such as telephone, switchboard, intercom, two-way radio, or public address.
  • Page individuals to inform them of telephone calls, using paging or interoffice communication equipment.
  • Relay or route written or verbal messages.
  • Place telephone calls or arrange conference calls as instructed.
  • Perform various data entry or word processing tasks, such as updating phone directories, typing or proofreading documents, or creating schedules.
  • Process incoming or outgoing mail, packages, or deliveries.
  • Perform administrative tasks, such as accepting orders, scheduling appointments or meeting rooms, or sending and receiving faxes.
  • Record messages, suggesting rewording for clarity or conciseness.
  • Monitor alarm systems to ensure that secure conditions are maintained.
  • Monitor emergency and code alarms, make emergency announcements, or route emergency calls to the appropriate location.
  • Greet visitors, log them in and out of the facility, assign them security badges, and contact employee escorts.
  • Answer simple questions about clients' businesses, using reference files.
  • Keep records of calls placed and charges incurred.
  • Stamp messages with time and date and file them appropriately.
  • Complete forms for sales orders.
  • Contact security staff members when necessary, using radio-telephones.
  • Perform various cash handling tasks, such as collecting payments, making bank deposits, or managing petty cash.
  • Place orders, such as for equipment, supplies, or catering for meetings.

Technology Skills

  • Electronic mail software - IBM Notes ; Microsoft Outlook
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software - SAP
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Alarm systems - Alarm system monitors
  • Inkjet printers - Computer inkjet printers
  • Intercom systems - Intercom equipment
  • Laser fax machine - Laser facsimile machines
  • Paging controllers - Paging systems
  • Personal computers
  • Phone headsets - Telephone headsets
  • Photocopiers - Copy machines
  • Premise branch exchange PBX systems - Premise branch exchange PBX equipment; Telephone switchboards
  • Public address systems - Public address PA systems
  • Special purpose telephones - Multiline telephone systems
  • Two way radios - Mobile radios; Radiotelephones
  • Video monitors - Video surveillance monitors

Knowledge

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills

  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • 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.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Interests

  • Interest code: CES
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
    • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
    • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Work Context

  • Contact With Others - 91% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Telephone - 93% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 86% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 67% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 81% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 59% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 67% responded “Very important results.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 57% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 67% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 43% responded “Very important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 39% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 43% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 48% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Electronic Mail - 63% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity - 38% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations - 34% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Letters and Memos - 45% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Time Pressure - 40% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 26% responded “Extremely important.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
59%High school diploma or equivalent
24%Some college, no degree
6%Associate's degree

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Work Values

  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $13.80 hourly, $28,700 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 93,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Decline (-2% or lower)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 9,000

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