What does a Switchboard Operator do?

Learn all about Switchboard Operator duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Switchboard Operator.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A switchboard operator is a professional who is responsible for connecting incoming and outgoing telephone calls. They are also responsible for providing information to callers, as well as routing calls to the appropriate department or individual.

Switchboard Operator job duties include:

  • Answer and direct phone calls
  • Monitor switchboard for abandoned or unanswered calls
  • Retrieve messages from voice mail and forward to the appropriate personnel
  • Transfer calls to the correct extensions
  • Page employees over the intercom system
  • Keep records of completed calls including time, date, purpose of call, and duration
  • Greet visitors and direct them to the appropriate personnel or department
  • Perform clerical duties such as filing, typing, and copying
  • Monitor incoming faxes and forward to the appropriate personnel

Switchboard Operator Job Requirements

Most employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma, although some jobs may require postsecondary education, and most telephone operators receive on-the-job training. Some states have certification programs for telephone operators.

Switchboard Operator Skills

  • Communication
  • Patience
  • Attention to detail
  • Multi-tasking
  • Problem solving
  • Flexibility
  • Stress management
  • Efficient
  • Friendly
  • Professionalism
  • Courteous

Related: Top Switchboard Operator Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Switchboard Operator

A switchboard operator is a professional who connects telephone calls by operating a switchboard. A switchboard operator is also known as a telephone operator, telephonist, or PBX operator. In order to become a switchboard operator, one must have excellent customer service skills, be able to multitask, and have good hearing.

There are many different types of switchboards, and each type requires the operator to have different skills. The most common type of switchboard is the automatic call distribution (ACD) system, which is used in call centers. ACD systems route calls to the next available agent, and they require the operator to have good knowledge of the call center’s operations.

Another type of switchboard is the private branch exchange (PBX) system, which is used in businesses. PBX systems route calls to specific extensions, and they require the operator to have good knowledge of the business’s operations.

In order to become a switchboard operator, one must first complete a high school education or equivalent. Then, one must complete on-the-job training. On-the-job training typically lasts for two weeks, and it covers topics such as how to use theswitchboard equipment and how to handle customer calls. After completing on-the-job training, one must pass a certification exam in order to become a certified switchboard operator.

Switchboard operators typically work in office settings, and they work full time during regular business hours. Some operators may work evenings or weekends if their employer offers 24-hour customer service.

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