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Telephone Operators
SOC Code: 43-2021.00

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.

Sample of reported job titles: 411 Directory Assistance Operator, Customer Service Assistant, Directory Assistance Operator, Information Specialist, Live Source Operator, Long Distance Operator (LD Operator), Operator, Telecommunications Operator, Telephone Operator, Toll Operator

Tasks

  • Listen to customer requests, referring to alphabetical or geographical directories to answer questions and provide telephone information.
  • Suggest and check alternate spellings, locations, or listing formats to customers lacking details or complete information.
  • Offer special assistance to persons such as those who are unable to dial or who are in emergency situations.
  • Observe signal lights on switchboards, and dial or press buttons to make connections.
  • Operate telephone switchboards and systems to advance and complete connections, including those for local, long distance, pay telephone, mobile, person-to-person, and emergency calls.
  • Provide assistance for customers with special billing requests.
  • Calculate and quote charges for services such as long-distance connections.
  • Monitor automated systems for placing collect calls and intervene for a callers needing assistance.
  • Perform clerical duties such as typing, proofreading, and sorting mail.
  • Consult charts to determine charges for pay-telephone calls, requesting coin deposits for calls as necessary.
  • Interrupt busy lines if an emergency warrants.
  • Provide relay service for hearing-impaired users.
  • Promote company products, services, and savings plans when appropriate.
  • Operate paging systems or other systems of bells or buzzers to notify recipients of incoming calls.
  • Update directory information.
  • Keep records of calls placed and received, and of related toll charges.

Technology Skills

  • Data base user interface and query software - Data entry software
  • Electronic mail software - Microsoft Outlook
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Operating system software - Handheld computer device software
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Video conferencing software - Video conference software
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Alarm systems - Alarm system monitors
  • Desktop calculator - 10-key calculators
  • Digital telephones - Voice over Internet Protocol VoIP systems
  • Laser fax machine - Laser facsimile machines
  • Laser printers - Computer laser printers
  • 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
  • Special purpose telephones - Multiline telephone systems; Secure voice equipment
  • Two way radios - Mobile radios
  • Typewriters - Electric typewriters

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.
  • 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.

Skills

  • 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.

Abilities

  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Interests

  • Interest code: CSR
    • 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.
    • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • 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.

Work Context

  • Spend Time Sitting - 98% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Telephone - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 96% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 97% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 94% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 84% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 95% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 73% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 87% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 67% responded “Very important results.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 83% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 78% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Level of Competition - 55% responded “Extremely competitive.”
  • Physical Proximity - 66% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 38% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Degree of Automation - 23% responded “Completely automated.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 78% responded “40 hours.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 36% responded “Very important.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 43% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Time Pressure - 38% responded “Never.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
84%High school diploma or equivalent
16%Less than high school diploma
1%Post-secondary certificate

Work Styles

  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • 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.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related 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)
    • $17.46 hourly, $36,320 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 9,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Decline (-2% or lower)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 900

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