Archive for June, 2009

What does it mean to be a Green Call Center

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Does any business has the right to call itself “green”? If we are really a green call center and put the environment first, then shouldn’t we just shut off all the lights and computers and let the tarsiers live in our building.   Can any business that uses power and requires people to leave their homes and burn fossil fuels to get to the office really say that it is eco-friendly?  At this level of the answer to these questions is probably, no but I like to think we are doing all we can to be  green call center and an  eco-friendly business.

We set up our call center business in the Philippines because we like the country and we see an opportunity to give Filipinos the same chance to make a living and support their families that people in the US have.  The economic advantages of having a call center in the Philippines are hard to deny but we also looked at the ways to set up a business here that can grow without creating an oversized carbon footprint.  We set out to create a green call center that is both client friendly and eco friendly.  We have found that it is cetainly possible to create a  contact center in a sustainable way, without damaging the environment and without needlessly burning fossil fuels.

As a Filipino green call center we are taking a top down and whole community approach to protecting the earth.  As an eco friendly US citizen it is often hard to deny the irony of our situation.  One one hand, people in the US use far more fossil fuels and have a bigger carbon footprint than any other society in the world.  But on the other hand, Americans are more aware about “green” living and know more about protecting the environment than many people in the developing world. 

It is not unlike the great US paradox of obesity.  The US has  more obese people than any other nation yet  still is obsessed with diet fads and exercise. Now that there are green oil companies and green plastic garbage bag manufacturers we decided that becoming a green call center was not a hypocritical endeavor.  We have done our best to set up an community in the office where we think about what effect our business decisions have on the environment.   Are we a green call center?  Are we an eco friendly call center?  We keep trying.


Life as a Philippines Call Center Agent #05

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

It was a about a year ago and I was looking for a job.  I had a college degree from a nursing school but I was having trouble finding work in the medical field.  Let me rephrase that…I was able to find work in the medical field but not really work that paid well.

I have many friends who were working as customer service call center agents here in Cebu, Philippines and I thought it sounded like a good idea.  As you may know the Philippines call center industry is one of the fastest growing fields.  There are plenty of job openings if you are a good English speaker.  Depending on the work you are looking for there are other skill sets that come into play.  For instance, I interviewed for a company that did outbound sales and what they were interested in is whether you could memorize the script for their telemarketing campaign.  I was able to memorize the script but I wasn’t really seeing the value in the product.  This is a problem you can get over once you realize that your commission and a part of your pay is all about how much you can sell over the phone.

Not all call center jobs in the Philippines are about selling.  I worked for a while on a campaign as a customer service operator for a shoe company.  It was really cool because they sold so many great shoes online.  A lot of the customer support was chat based so I didn’t talk to many customers on the phone but people were generally very nice.  I guess there isn’t too much stress when buying shoes.  I was so scared when I started because I have heard so many stories from other call center agents who would tell me about how their customers would scream at them and swear.

So if you decide to work in a call center there are a lot of choices to make.  Do you want to be an inbound customer service representative?;  do you want to be an outbound sales agent?  But not to worry many of those choices will be made for you when your mangers see what you are really good at.  And then you can say hey “I’m a Philippine call center agent and here is my blog”


Life as a Philippines Call Center Agent #06

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Call Centers “The way I see it!”

The fastest growing industries in the Philippines are call centers. As far as I remembered, 5 years ago, I would say that there were only around 3-5 Call Centers here in Cebu. But now, I could say that there maybe 20 of them existing and continuously doing business. If you take a look at daily newspapers, you will always be able to see this “Wanted Customers Service Representatives

America might be presently dealing with a lot of financial misfortunes but the least affected business industry is the call center industry. Many companies are firing a lot of their employees and are reducing headcounts because of the financial crisis but not in the call center Philippines business, employment is always open. “Call Centers” the first time I heard of such a term, I really do not have any idea what it meant. All that I was able to think of is that, what you do in a call center is either answer calls or make calls… Then it kept me wondering, “What does it feels like working in a Call Center?” So it caught my curiosity and motivated me to learn more about the business and how it operates.

And so, that is the time that I started looking for a job in as a call center agent and that was 2 years ago. The first call center that I applied for was to work on surveys. I got into training but after a few weeks I lost my interest mainly because of the account. I thought it was simply boring! Then I applied again to another call center and luckily got the job. It was for a travel account namely “xxxx”. I got hooked up into the account because it was free flow, meaning there is no script that you need to follow. It was tedious, but it was very very rewarding!

Because it was a travel account and most of the customers calling are either happy because of the excellent service that we were able to provide or upset ,and worse irate, because their travel  plans did not go as planned. Sometimes it affects me. Let’s say for example a Flight gets canceled and I have to tell the customer. There are times in which I experienced talking to someone who’s very narrow minded and no matter how I try to explain why things happened and that there are certain things which we do not have control of, like weather or airport accidents, they just can’t understand and they won’t even try to understand the reasons. They will continue saying that it is our fault and we are the ones who messed up their plans and so we should do something about it. But with this kind of attitude, I oftentimes lose the eagerness to help them and then I remember the I work in customer service even if the customer is a jerk.

and worse is I even sometimes make sure that they would go through hell… But there are times also in which I would encounter talking to someone who is very calm, understanding and best thing is I know that they sincerely require my help. Then this is the time that I am going to make sure that I will do anything in my power and resources to make sure that everything will be perfect for them, and with their experience with the company. When I encounter cases of emergencies or death in the family and they really needed to get to this destination at a particular time, then I will make sure that they will be there on time. Because I just can’t simply imagine what I would do if I were the one in their position and then knowing that the only person which can possibly help would be unwilling to help me. It’s simply putting myself in their shoes.

At first, I thought that working in a Philippine call center and this line of business would be so easy. But after these experiences, I was able to realized that this kind of job requires dedication and also and a lot of hard work. People often get the impression that the employees working in a call center here in the Philippines are those people who have no plans in life and just wanted a happy go lucky job. Although I would say that there are some who are like that, there are also others who are looking forward as to building a career in a call center because that is where they feel that they belong. I would strongly say that today, call centers are the most promising and rewarding industry. If you wish to build a career and be a manager and even if you are a college undergraduate, then here is the place. So long as you put your heart into it and aim high, you will surely get it!