I have been working in call centers for almost a decade. For ten years, I have been lacking sleep everyday, depended on a fast food diet, and learned to love coffee so much I could not live without it.
Being relatively "new" in the employment sector, call center workers have been the subject of discrimination by other members of the workforce. Taking into consideration my tenure in this industry, I can confidently state the common misconceptions of working in a call center.
Call Center workers have lots of money.
FALSE. Call center agents' basic salary ranges from 15K-20K/month. That's the gross rate. Take from that amount the mandatory government deductions - withholding tax, SSS, Philhealth, Pag-Ibig. A per minute rate of tardiness is also deducted from the gross salary. For those getting 20K/month, the average take home pay per month would be more or less 13K-15K. If the company pays twice a month, then that equates to 6K-7K per pay out. For a single mom with 4 children all in school, that amount would not suffice.
Call centers are the dumping grounds of college drop outs.
FALSE. There are centers who are "equal opportunity" employers, meaning they do not discriminate against an applicant's educational attainment. High school graduates are even welcome to apply. However, not every Maria, Pedro or Juan can make it through the rigorous examinations. Although there is no particular skill set required, call centers choose those who have impeccable English communication skills, a bubbly personality, a team player, an effective multi-tasker and with a high degree of resistance to stress.
Call center workers are substandard employees.
FALSE. We often hear the phrase "sa call center lang pala nagtatrabaho" (Oh, she just works in a call center) This annoys me so much, every time I hear someone say it. It is not easy to leave home in the wee hours of the morning, to be the target of robbers, of hoodlums and other ill-doers. It is not easy to stay awake the whole night and try to sleep at noon time. It is not pleasant to be screamed at, cursed, and receive derogatory remarks from someone halfway around the globe. We are put through so much stress everyday but we just take everything with a grain of salt and move on. We work from log in to log out, our breaks are scheduled and timed. And this is what others call substandard?
Call center workers drink like there is no tomorrow.
FALSE. Whoever thought of this should think twice (or more). Seeing a group of agents having after-shift FBs (few beers) is not drinking like there is no tomorrow. They could probably be celebrating someone's birthday, or meeting the team goal for the week, or just wanting to relax after a stressful week. If having a few beers with close friends is an eyesore, what can you say about the shirtless, unemployed big bellied bullies drowning themselves in gin on the sidewalks? Please do not be too quick to judge.
Its an easy job.
FALSE. Working for a sales account demands that you need to close a certain number of sales PER DAY. Agents have to convince a customer to purchase over the phone. That is NOT easy - to sell something to someone in another country. If agents are not able to meet their sales target for the day, they may be at risk of losing their job. Customer service agents have to be extremely patient and resistant to stress. They have to provide resolution to the customer's issue during the call - and make sure that the customer will not call back with the same issue. Then they have to be within the acceptable range of the call handling time. Some centers require issue resolution in 3 minutes. Financial and credit card collection accounts are even more stressful.
I work for the Quality Assurance team and it is NOT an easy job. Finding calls, evaluating, preparing reports, calibrations, coaching. The life of the account we support depends on us. It is our task to weed out the non performers and recommend the best improvement plan for them.
Just like any other job, the key to success is to love what you do. Call centers are not places where people do nothing. We generate revenue to keep this country afloat, we put a lot of sacrifice for our families, to the point of putting our health and safety on the line.
We deserve more than the senseless phrase - "Sa call center lang pala nagtatrabaho."
|Me and my fellow Quality Coaches|
Midnight coffee, Birthday pizzas,
Accentuated English, Dashing clothes,
Irate customers, Mood music in cabs,
So much money,but so little time.
Late night parties and sunrise beer.
Crush on Team Leads, The fight for appraisals,
Die hard friendships and tears for love.
Nothing missing, Just everything!
People call it Call centers.
WE CALL IT LIFE.