What does a Telephone Operator 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.

Jobs Roles

  • 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.
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