Telephone Operators

What they do:

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.

On the job, you would:

  • Listen to customer requests, referring to alphabetical or geographical directories to answer questions and provide telephone information.
  • Suggest and check alternate spellings, locations, and/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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Transportation
  • Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Education and Training
  • Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • 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.
  • Geography
  • Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

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.
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination
  • Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Monitoring
  • Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Time Management
  • Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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.
  • 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).

Work Activities

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Getting Information
  • Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Processing Information
  • Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
  • Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Developing and Building Teams
  • Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Interests

  • 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.
  • First Interest High-Point
  • Primary-Rank Descriptiveness
  • Social
  • Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to 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.
  • 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.
  • Second Interest High-Point
  • Secondary-Cutoff/Rank Descriptiveness
  • Artistic
  • Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
  • Third Interest High-Point
  • Tertiary-Cutoff/Rank Descriptiveness
  • Investigative
  • Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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.
  • Self Control
  • Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility
  • Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • 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.