12 Telephone Operator Skills: Definition and Examples

By ResumeCat Editorial Team
Published September 1, 2022

A telephone operator is a professional who helps route calls and provides customer service. They need to have strong communication skills, be able to multitask, and have a pleasant demeanor. In this article, we will discuss 12 essential skills that telephone operators need to have.

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Telephone Operator Skills


The ability to communicate effectively is essential for any telephone operator. This involves being able to speak clearly and concisely, as well as listen attentively. Good communication skills are necessary in order to provide excellent customer service and ensure that callers are able to understand and be understood.


The ability to listen carefully and attentively is essential for telephone operators, as they need to be able to understand and follow instructions from callers. This skill helps them to provide accurate information and directions, and to resolve customer inquiries efficiently.


Organizational skills are important for telephone operators because they need to be able to keep track of a large number of phone calls and messages. They also need to be able to quickly find information when customers call with questions.


Multi-tasking is the ability to juggle multiple tasks or responsibilities at the same time. This is a critical skill for telephone operators, as they often have to handle multiple phone calls simultaneously while also keeping track of other tasks such as taking messages or routing calls.


The ability to prioritize is an important skill for telephone operators because they need to be able to handle multiple calls at the same time and determine which ones are the most urgent.

Time management

Time management is a skill that is needed in order to be a successful telephone operator. This is because telephone operators need to be able to keep track of time in order to ensure that they are providing efficient and effective service. Time management also allows telephone operators to plan and schedule their work in order to avoid conflicts and maximize their productivity.

Computer literacy

Computer literacy is the ability to use computers and other digital devices to perform basic tasks. This skill is necessary for telephone operators because they often need to use computers to look up information, enter data, and perform other tasks.

Typing speed

The telephone operator skill is the ability to type quickly and accurately. This is important because it allows the operator to input information into the system quickly and efficiently.

Customer service

Customer service is the ability to provide excellent customer service. This includes being able to communicate effectively with customers, providing them with information about products and services, and resolving any issues they may have. It is important to have good customer service skills because it helps to build trust and relationships with customers, and can make them more likely to do business with you in the future.


Patience is a virtue, and it's one that telephone operators need in spades. They need to be able to handle irate customers, keep their cool under pressure, and deal with a high volume of calls without losing their temper.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail is the ability to focus on small details and notice things that others might miss. This skill is important for telephone operators because they need to be able to hear and understand what callers are saying, and then provide them with the information or assistance they need.


The ability to be friendly and personable on the telephone is an important skill for telephone operators. This is because they are often the first point of contact with customers or clients, and so it is important that they create a good impression. Additionally, being friendly and personable can help to build rapport with callers, which can make them more likely to use the service again in the future.

How to improve telephone operator skills

In the United States, the average person spends about 3.6 minutes on hold waiting for a telephone operator. This time may be even longer if the caller is placed on hold multiple times or if the wait is during a high-traffic period. When customers are placed on hold, they often become frustrated, which can lead to negative feelings toward the company. In order to improve customer satisfaction and decrease the amount of time customers spend on hold, it is important for telephone operators to have strong skills.

Some ways to improve telephone operator skills include:

1. Answering calls promptly: When a customer calls, the operator should answer within a few rings. If the call is transferred, the operator should thank the customer for their patience and let them know how long they will be on hold.

2. Being friendly and courteous: The operator should greet the caller with a friendly voice and use courteous language throughout the call.

3. Listening carefully: The operator should listen carefully to the caller’s request or question in order to provide an accurate response.

4. Speaking clearly: The operator should speak slowly and clearly so that the caller can understand them.

5. Keeping calls short: The operator should try to keep calls as short as possible in order to minimize customer wait time.

6. Following up: After a call has been completed, the operator should follow up with the customer to ensure that their issue has been resolved or that they have received the information they need.

How to highlight telephone operator skills

If you're a telephone operator, your skills include excellent customer service, the ability to stay calm under pressure, and multitasking. You should highlight these skills when applying for jobs or during an interview. Excellent customer service means being friendly and helpful to callers, even if they're angry or upset. The ability to stay calm under pressure means being able to handle a high volume of calls without getting frazzled. And multitasking means being able to juggle multiple tasks at once, such as taking messages, transferring calls, and providing information.

On a resume

In order to highlight your skills as a telephone operator on your resume, you should list your experience with handling customer service inquiries, managing phone lines, and routing calls. You should also highlight any experience you have in providing information to callers, taking messages, and transferring calls. Additionally, you should list any relevant skills or qualifications you have, such as experience with customer service software or the ability to type quickly and accurately.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, be sure to highlight your skills as a telephone operator. Mention your experience handling customer calls and inquiries, as well as your ability to multitask and stay calm under pressure. Emphasize your excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and mention any training you have in using telephone systems. If you have fluency in multiple languages, be sure to mention that as well.

During an interview

In order to highlight your skills as a telephone operator during an interview, you should be sure to emphasize your ability to effectively communicate with customers or clients, as well as your ability to handle a high volume of calls. Additionally, you should highlight any experience you have in managing customer inquiries or complaints, as this will be relevant to the role of a telephone operator. Finally, be sure to stress your professional attitude and demeanor, as this is essential for maintaining a positive image for the company.