Sherron Richardson retired from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in 2012, after faithfully serving thousands of children as a bus driver for 23 years. “I decided I wanted to go back into the workforce,” she says. “I wanted to have a chance to get out and not just stay at home.”
That’s when she decided she wanted to pursue a second career, and enrolled in Goodwill and Forsyth Tech’s Call Center Customer Service Class. “I love talking to people,” Richardson says. “Most of my work over the years has been using that skill. I knew I wanted to use it – but in a different way. This time, I needed the confidence to talk to people I don’t see.”
The six-week, 96-hour program is a partnership between Goodwill and Forsyth Tech. Goodwill’s IT Department provides the classroom space and workstations, and the class is taught by instructors from the college. “The class is completely hands-on,” said Nell Perry, who serves as the Business Center Coordinator of the Business and Industry Services with Forsyth Tech’s Economic & Workforce Development Division. “Students make, on average, about 300 outbound calls on behalf of local businesses who’ve agreed to be a part of the training. In Sherron’s class, they made calls on behalf of the Better Business Bureau, whose leaders were looking to update their records.”
The training includes everything from learning vocal pauses, to marketing products, to dealing with all types of customers. “Students learned to work with a variety of customers—from those that make you cry, to those that leave you smiling when you hang up the phone,” Perry said.
At the end of the class, students are equipped with the skills and knowledge to be gainfully employed.
“Along the way, we also develop character,” Richardson says. “This program helps us choose to be successful with a common goal: we desire greatness.”
Find more information about the program, including how you can enroll, here.