Switchboard operators are found in almost every industry, from hospitals to cement companies. As the first-line contact for callers, switchboard operators are an important part of any company's operation.
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According to myfuture.edu, an occupational advice website, switchboard operators "operate telephone switchboards and consoles to connect, hold, transfer and disconnect telephone calls, provide information to assist clients or refer them to appropriate contacts, either in the organisation or elsewhere."
Switchboard operators should have excellent verbal communication skills, an upbeat and pleasant phone voice, the ability to handle high-stress environments and experience in handling multiple tasks. In addition, they must be able to make informed decisions quickly, and execute those decisions with confidence.
Switchboard operators are in the unique position of knowing almost everything going on in the company for which they work. This insight provides them with many potential avenues for career advancement.
According to salary.com, the median pay for switchboard operators is £16,250 to £20,475 annually.
According to collegetoolkit.com, the need for switchboard operators is declining because they are being replaced with automated phone systems. However, turnover will create some open positions. Collegekit.com reports that in 2008 there were approximately 181,000 switchboard operator positions in the United States. That number is expected to decrease to 163,400 by 2018, a 10 per cent decrease.
Switchboard operators may be asked to handle general clerical duties such as correspondence, calendar management and meeting coordination.
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