The job of call centre agent or telemarketer—still considered a student job a few years ago—has undergone an upgrade. The level of education required is higher than before, and career opportunities are more numerous. Working conditions remain difficult, however, with a wide range of hours (7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.), weekend work, etc.
The necessity of offering high-quality telephone service is especially important in the travel industry, where direct contact with the customer is being lost. The proof is that the Canadian online travel market is growing every year, reaching $2.5 billion in 2007.
Telemarketers have a very important role because as the incontrovertible point of contact with the consumer, they convey the company’s image. Travel telemarketers—themselves travel enthusiasts—must inform customers and develop their loyalty.
- Greet callers and identify themselves
- Listen to the request: advice, purchase, complaint, problem with a trip
- Ensure they have properly understood the reason for the call by rephrasing the request
- Provide travellers with an answer: destination, booking, litigation, etc.
- As required, do searches and make bookings using the booking tool
- Assist Internet users browsing the company’s websites
- Follow up the file
- Refer more complex problems to the appropriate person
To be a travel telemarketer, you should have a college degree (D.E.C. in Quebec) or work experience in tourism of about two years.
- Be familiar with the company’s products/services
- Feel comfortable in a computerized environment: Word, Excel, Internet and travel booking applications (e.g. Sabre Vacations, Sirev)
- Know the bases of telephone communication: tone, rate, etc.
- Master the art of questioning
- Refer to the type of caller
- Good listening skills
- Proactiveness and ability to work under pressure
- Excellent customer service skills
- Positive talk
- Good self-control
- Availability to work irregular hours
Travel telemarketers are often paid by the hour. Wages may include a bonus program (if targets or quality criteria are reached). The job may also come with benefits, a health insurance plan, training assistance, a pension plan, etc.
As the telemarketing industry has become more professional, there are more career opportunities; depending on their skills and areas of interest, travel telemarketers can become supervisors or work in sales.