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A switchboard operator works for major companies, hospitals, hotels, and large companies where an influx of telephone calls are normally coming in. The operator assists callers by answering the line and connecting the caller to the correct person or department. Before modern inventions came into play, switchboard workers had to manually connect callers on a switchboard by plugging phone lines into the correct circuit. Today, switchboard operators work through computerized systems that need less human involvement. The operators of today are more customer service driven than in older days.
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Switchboard operators handle all external and internal calls for a company. They answer the phone and route the calls to the correct destinations within the company. They also handle internal calls that need to be directed within the company.
Operators are often responsible for paging systems in the company. When a caller calls in, he or she may need to page the department or person over the PA system to let them know that they have a call. For many operators, the job requires them to only be responsible for incoming calls. Many companies require the operator to be a receptionist as well. He or she greets customers that come into the business and directs them to the areas that they need to find.
Some switchboard operators also deal with customer service. They may answer brief questions that customers have, such as where the business is located, or what services they offer. Operators perform all types of duties within a company. The job definition of an operator varies greatly from company to company.
The educational requirements for switchboard operators are normally that of having a high school diploma. There are technical schools that can train students in working with switchboards. This can be helpful in working with large switchboards that require more skills than a simple switchboard.
There are several attributes and skills that a switchboard operator must possess to succeed in this career field. They must have excellent hearing. This may sound simple, but since 90% of the job involves listening to callers, it is important that one's hearing is excellent. Operators should also have a good speaking voice with the ability to enunciate well. If callers cannot understand the operator, then they will not be effective in their job.
Operators should also have a good grasp of working with computers. They should have the ability to learn and adapt to different computer programs for use on their job. Different companies have different types of switchboards and computer systems, so it is important to be able to work with different types of systems.
It is important to note that the job of an operator can be quite stressful. If one is working for a large company, there may be non-stop calls throughout the work day. The good thing about this is that the work is rarely boring; but the bad aspect is that it can be very busy at times.
Some people find this job too stressful and too isolated. If they are working in an isolated room, some find it to be harder to enjoy the job. Those who are working in the front of the business more as a receptionist enjoy the ability to meet and greet customers and other workers throughout the day and this helps them enjoy the job much more.
The workplace of a switchboard operator normally involves working in an office-type of setting. The operator often sits at a switchboard station to direct callers to the correct lines. The operator may have their own desk in the front of the building where they direct incoming customers, or they may be isolated in the internal area of the company, working on a switchboard.
The environment of the operator involves sitting throughout the day in front of a switchboard and computers. He or she may also have a desk with a smaller type of switchboard system. All switchboard operators work inside, but the environments can vary, depending on the type of company that they are working for.