“I’m being transferred to different agents already. All I want to know is when is my contract ending?! Iisa lang naman tanong ko hindi ko alam bakit sa araw-araw na tumatawag ako, walang nakakasagot. Tapos nakaka-ilang tawag na ako. Like mga 30 minutes ako nagaantay may mag-answer lang ng call. Puro mga commercials nyo naririnig ko.”
That was my everyday complaint to a telecommunications network months ago before I ended my postpaid contract with them. I couldn’t stand the fact that there is only one answer that I wanted to verify but they still handled the call poorly. I’ve talked to them in English and Filipino already, (well more of Putangina language already because I was so pissed). I ended up going to a branch in a mall to terminate my contract.
15 hours ago, my boss reminded me that we have to be at work at 9AM. My mom woke me up at around 745AM because my brother had to bring the car to the casa because the air conditioner was having problems. Thanks to the broken air conditioner, I let my brother drop me at the main road for me to take an FX/jeep (whichever was possible depending if I’m already late or not). My regular schedule is 10AM. I was confident that I won’t be late because it was just 9AM and I have 1 hour before I can log in.
My boss: Anje, where are you na?
Me at the back of my mind: OHHH FUCK. 9AM pala today!!!!!
Good thing when I arrived, they haven’t started listening to the calls yet. But still, I was late. And yes, listening to calls for a specific account so us, the recruitment team, will be calibrated to the agents they want to hire.
Here’s why I’m doing this entry and yeah, I needed to give such introduction to break the ice.
Notions of most people who have a degree to Call Center Agents/Customer Service Representatives:
- Easy job because technically, high school graduates, vocational course graduates, 2-year course graduates and undergraduates are the requirements for you to get hired in the job, and to emphasize: ONLY
- Unprofessional attire = casual attire
- “I want to graduate so I won’t end up working in a call center, and for people not to criticize me.”
- Parents: “Mag-aral ka ng mabuti para maka-graduate ka at hindi ka lang sa call center babagsak.”
- Friends: “Omg, sa call center siya nagtratrabaho? Ano ba yan.”
What notions should most people have to Call Center Agents/Customer Service Representatives:
- It is not an easy job fellas. I had to be in the recruitment team for me to realize. And yes, at first I had the same notions above but what I’m about to tell you will change your perspective.
- People think it’s an easy job because there is no degree needed for the skills to set or to give the job description justice.
- “You just answer the phone and answer their queries. “
- No darling, no. It starts with the shifting/graveyard/night shift schedules. You risk your life traveling during the wee hours. I have a lot of applicants who resigned in their previous call center companies because of safety.
- You are grouped into one floor with cubicles like a normal office but you hear every conversation from the last person on the isle and the person behind you.
- Once you get the call, you have to be attentive. It’s more of active listening. It’s either you talk to a white American (who are sometimes, too slang), black American (who usually has a high tone and you feel you are being shouted all the time), Japanese-Chinese-Vietnamese-Korean-Thai (who usually, you cannot understand), and a Filipino who works abroad (that has that Filipino and American accent all at the same time that results to: no result of understanding what they’re saying).
- “You just navigate the computer and you just have to type fast. Piece of cake.”
- Let’s say, the account is for a hotel reservation. You have to get the name of the hotel, the city, the state, duration of their stay, what type of room do they want, how many people…etc
- You have to search the best and the cheapest you can offer to book a sale.
- Sometimes, they change their minds and basically in the end, they don’t want all of your suggestions (so you just wasted 6mins of your time researching)
- During dead air, you have to build rapport for them not to get bored. Unless, you hold it on mute.
- It’s fucking multi-tasking. 5 windows open just for everything. 1 window for the website, 1 window for the booking, 1 window to record your sales, 1 window to record and view your team’s stats, 1 window of porn (nah, just kidding)
- “They just drink and smoke all day everyday, anytime they want to.”
- It is because of irate customers. Like you. Who don’t have any patience.
- “It’s easy to get used to it if you do it everyday.”
- Well, you just calling Globe/Smart/Sun gets irritated when the call is on hold or takes a while? Imagine them doing it everyday, and receiving calls from people like you.
- It’s not a corporate environment when they do reports and meetings so they really don’t have to be in corporate attire. They are required to not look that professional because it’s their voices that is the blueprint, and not their faces.
- I have interviewed applicants who graduated and still insisted to be a call center agent. Easy money. No any more reason.
- Parents whose children, even graduated, still prefer working in a BPO industry because of high salary and it will help their parents financially. So ano yung sinasabi niyo diyan na, “At para hindi lang sa call center babagsak anak niyo? Eh mas nakakatulong nga yung anak niyo sa bahay sa mga bayarin.” (high blood si ateng)
- To those friends who criticize their friends working in a call center, be in their shoes first so that you’ll know how hard it is. Try competing just multi-tasking with 5 windows and then talking.
- By the way, if you are good in DOTA, this job is for you. Hahahaha (the best realization of all)
ALL I CAN SAY IS: