January 31, 2013

So You Want To Work In A Call Center?

sad smiley

I hate it when people think that working in a call center is easy. They have the impression that you only need to speak in English and you'll survive working in the industry. Well, applying for the job is easy. Staying in the job is the hard part. You can always be terminated anytime for simple reasons.

Let me review some of the things that makes working in a call center a pain in the butt.

  1. Not all call centers regularized their agents on the 6th month – In Alorica Philippines, I worked for 8 months (in 2007) and I was never regularized nor given an increase. I heard other call centers with similar policies. They simply don't regularized their agents!

  2. The job is co-terminus with the account – You can find this line in almost all contracts in the BPO industry. When an account close or get transferred to another site or vendor, you'll most probably be put in a floating status. You don't get paid because you're not working. If you're lucky, the BPO company would find an alternate account for you the soonest time. This happened to me in Alorica Philippines and Sufferland.

  3. No cellphone on the production floor – This is common even in non-financial accounts. I envy government employees when it comes to cellphone use. This is only applicable to agents. If you caught using a cellphone in the production floor, it would automatically merit an Incident Report (IR) or Notice To Explain (NTE).

  4. No sleeping in the production floor – This is what I envy the most from security guards. This is also applicable to agents only. If you are caught with your eyes closed, specially from the TL of the other team, or from the Operations Manager (OM), you'll get an IR or NTE. In worst case scenario, they'll ask you to log-out after you call and go home. Next day, you'll talk to the Human Resources (HR) instead of your customer.

  5. Everything is timed – I envy the company drivers when it comes to using company time. They can always say that they're stuck in traffic. Whereas for a call center agent, even the minutes that you spend peeing is timed. In Transcom Asia, they don't have bladder breaks. They'll deduct it from your breaks which is only 30 minutes (two 15-minute breaks). QA on the other hand, is very strict with hold time. It's an auto-zero in QA (Transcom Asia). Dead air is also timed. A dead air (customer and agent are both silent) of more than 10 seconds is auto-zero (auto-fail) in QA, at least in Transcom Asia.

  6. The customer is ALWAYS right – It's the universal motto in the call center industry. It's true even in Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys. There is no way to dispute a rating by the customer even if it's ridiculous. In AT&T Convergys for example, everyone who handled the same case of an irate customer would all have the same CSAT. If the customer rated the on-site technician of 0%, all the call center agents who handled the same ticket would get the same rating. Even if the customer clearly stated in the survey that it's the on-site technician that he's complaining about. An escalation from customer would sometimes end up in an agent's suspension for N days. N being a number between 5 and 15.

  7. There is no excuse for being late – Specially during trainings (first few months from hired date). I envy the public school teachers on this. A call center agent incurs infraction for every instance of late. Even for 1 minute. In Transcom Asia for example, it's point system. An agent is only allowed up to 6 points before he gets an NTE for excessive lates. One late equals 0.75 point. So it would only take 8 lates before an agent writes his explanation to an NTE. There are numerous agents that were terminated because of excessive lates.

  8. There is no such thing as Union – A call center agent cannot join a union. I never heard of such thing as Employees Union in any call center. I'm certain that there is no union in Alorica Philippines, Sykes Asia, Convergys, Teleperformance, Sufferland and Transcom Asia. Do you know any call center that has a union?

  9. EOP all the time – I envy the Filipino subject teachers on this. It's English Only Policy (EOP) and not English Or Pilipino specially in the production floor. An NTE or IR is usually served to an agent who violates this policy specially if it's the client or country manager who caught an agent. However, the implementation of the sanction varies from center to center and from TL to TL. In Transcom Asia, it's very strict when it comes to EOP.

  10. Paperless environment – Similar to EOP policy, the paperless environment thing varies from center to center and also depends on the account. This is usually strictly followed in financial and credit card accounts. In Sykes Asia on the other hand, we are allowed to bring books and magazines in the production floor since our account is DSL. In all other call centers that I worked for, it's always a paperless environment, except for NTE and IR. Those are some of the things that can be printed on paper.

  11. No food allowed in the workstation – Applicable in most call centers. There are some call centers that allows snacks to be sneaked in at the production floor as long as you're not using spoon and fork to eat these foods or as they say, it's bite-size.

  12. No permanent workstation – I envy the people working at the HR, Payroll or Finance who always have a permanent station which they can personalize. The most tolerable call center that I worked for when it comes to workstation is Sykes Asia. They at least allowed us to personalized our workstation and to have a permanent team bay. The worst is AT&T Convergys. You'll go out for lunch and your station would be given to other agents.

    These are some of the things that I hate about working in a call center. I'll post my reasons #13 to 21 tomorrow. Until then, take care!

January 30, 2013

“Safe Haven”

After the success of “The Notebook”, “Message In A Bottle”, “Dear John” and “The Lucky One”, comes another movie adaptation worth watching -- “Safe Haven”.

“Safe Haven” is written by renowned author Nicholas Sparks. It will be shown on SM Cinemas on February 20, 2013.

The gorgeous guy in the movie poster below is Josh Duhamel. He appears in the “Transformers” trilogy.

Safe Haven

January 22, 2013

The Eusebio Political Dynasty

"The State shall guarantee equal access to public service and prohibit political dynasty as may be defined by law".

- The Constitution, Article 2, Section 26

On January 24, 2011, during the First Regular Session of the 13th Congress, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago passed her Senate Bill No. 2649 entitled "The Anti-Political Dynasty Act" which aims to prohibit the establishment of political dynasties.

However, I agree on Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes when he said that "only people's initiative can pass anti-dynasty bill" (The Manila Times, 09 November 2012).

Of course, most legislators would oppose such law since they would protect their own interest first. The purpose of the Anti-Political Dynasty Act is "to prohibit spouse or person related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to an incumbent elective official seeking re-election to hold or run for any elective office in the same province in the same election." (The Manila Times, 09 November 2012).

As a citizen of Pasig City, I've seen the Eusebio family ruled our City for the past 21 years! I believe it's a very long period to be under one political dynasty and this should stop soon.

> Vicente Eusebio, (1992–2001)

> Soledad Eusebio, (2001–2004)

> Vicente Eusebio, (2004–2007)

> Robert Eusebio, (2007–present)

With the coming 2013 Election, incumbent mayor Robert "Bobby" Eusebio is going to run for a 2nd term. That would be another 3 years under the leadership of the Eusebio family. Pasig City is literally stamped with the "e" sign (for Eusebio) and is colored blue and yellow (color code for Eusebio family).

In all these years that I've been living in Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City under the Eusebio Family, I've only seen 1 construction project that directly affected me as a citizen -- the construction of the Santa Rosa de Lima Bridge.

This is the reason why I dream of the passage of The Anti-Political Dynasty Bill and why I'm hoping to see a mayor in Pasig City Hall that is NOT related with the Eusebio Family. It would be a breath of fresh air when that happens.

(Picture courtesy of Global Balita as illustrated by Analyn Perez)

January 16, 2013

Transcom Asia Is Hiring

transcom i am at home

For the longest time, I haven't really focus on the Employee Referral Program (ERP) of the call center industry. All of the call centers that I've worked for -- Alorica, Sykes Asia, Convergys, Teleperformance and Sutherland -- have ERP. Even my current company, Transcom Asia, has ERP.
This year, I promise to make the most out of the Employee Referral Program. Fortunately, Transcom Asia is hiring! So if you want to work in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, or simply wanted to have a "fresh start" with a new BPO company, then send your resume to me and I'll refer you to Transcom Asia: elmerlovesoreo(at)gmail.com
Transcom Asia is currently in need of agents for the following position:
>Customer Service Representative
>Technical Support Representative
>Sales Representative
>Leadership and Support Roles
Our recruitment office is located at G/F Filinvest Building, EDSA, Mandaluyong City. We're between MRT Ortigas Station and POEA and just walking distance from these two landmarks. So what are you waiting for? Send me your resume, I'll print it, and forward it to our recruitment officers!
At Transcom Asia, you'll be at home.
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January 5, 2013

“Jack the Giant Slayer”

The trend of giving twist to classic fairy tales continues. After “Snow White and the Huntsman” and the upcoming movie “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” comes another fairy tale with a twist. This time it’s “Jack The Giant-Slayer” which is of course based on the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk”.

I wonder what fairy tale would have a twist – Rapunzel? The Three Little Pigs?