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Working in a Philippines call center is not that easy. It’s far more different than a day job. You will experience a lot of things that a day job doesn’t have. I could attest that some call center agents are getting used to this kind of lifestyle but others also give up. It is like surviving in a jungle but instead of spears and guns, we should arm ourselves with proper lifestyle. Below are some tips on how to survive in a call center:
- We all know that working night shifts is hard. Our body clock is not meant to sleep at day and be awake all night. The best thing to do is to get plenty of uninterrupted sleep during the day and avoid drinking too much coffee when your shift is almost over.
- When you worry about mingling with your co-workers, fear not, just show them who you really are. Don’t try to pretend someone you’re not just to impress people. We must face the fact that not all people like you. Stick to the people who you think is a potential friend. In that way, you will gain friends with the right people.
- Dress appropriately. You don’t have to wear fancy dresses and high heels, just make sure that you look good and you feel comfortable with what you’re wearing. We are all aware that call centers are packed with air condition, so when you are not used to cold temperature, don’t forget to bring a jacket to keep you warm.
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After I graduated college majoring in Chemistry, I applied in different companies here in Cebu. At first, I found it very difficult because it was not in demand. Imagine being a Chemist, I could see myself working in a medical company but everything has changed. In our economical situation today, you won’t find it easy to get a job in just a blink of an eye. You have to be very competitive enough to stand out from others. You need to have that courage just like what I did. And so I tried again and got myself in Philippines BPO because that was really in demand that time and the easiest to get in because the only major requirement is to be fluent in English, nothing fancy like being knowledgeable in Math, Medicine, Chemistry, and other sciences. My first job was with a webhosting company as a technical support agent. I chose this job over the other call center positions because I have always been interested in computers since I was in high school. For me, that was the best decision I have ever made in my life. From that job, I was able to learn how to communicate in English more fluently than a lot of people and at the same time practice my researching and troubleshooting skills to get the job done. I’ve learned pretty much about business process outsourcing or BPO such as websites, the internet marketing, and also the programming and designing behind the web technology.
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As an inbound call center agent, your responsibility is to provide good customer service. Customer is the most vital asset in a business, without them, it would not exist. Thus, it is very important to have a good customer service not just to make the customers happy but to attract potential customers as well by word of mouth. It also gives the edge over competitors. Good customer service results to repeat guests while bad customer service drives customers away taking their friends, family and workmates. I’m sure that you have experienced this, if your friend tells you about the bad service of a restaurant, you won’t surely try that. A satisfied customer creates a sense of trust with the company; this is twice as effective as direct marketing, advertisements and other expensive strategies just to attract customers.
In order for you to do this, you need to understand their needs and meet them, or much better to exceed those needs. For example, you’re taking a hotel booking, and you find out that your customer has a one-year old baby; perhaps you can ask if they need a baby cot or babysitting service so you can put this to notes. This will surely delight your call center customer. It is a fact that most customers’ needs are emotional rather than logical. The more you know your customers, the better you become at anticipating their needs. Make them feel important and appreciated. Customers are very sensitive and know whether or not you really care about them.
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Have you ever thought of working in an outbound call center and the things that it may bring? Well, working in a call center is fun and exciting. You get to speak with different people from different parts of the world. You get to know different cultures and learn to adjust to every one of them. You learn how to deal with many situations involving different emotions. You get to understand how other people from other places live their lives.
All these you can do while honing your customer service skills and salesmanship and at the same time improving your English communication. Not to mention all the parties, outings and other different activities that comes along while working in this type of industry. Being a part of the Philippines call center is one great experience anyone of us would truly enjoy. But just like everything else, being in a call center has its downside. When you work at night, you get to sleep during daytime. Turning your time around is not an easy thing to do. It will take months before your body could completely adjust to it. It can cause sleeplessness, stress and health risks. But then again once you get used to it, you’ll find it more convenient compared to working at daytime where you’ll be stuck during rush hours. We all experience good and bad things in our job but it lies in our hands on how we deal with it and we should keep in mind that nothing has to be perfect.
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Being a father is really hard. I know it’s the biggest responsibility that anybody could have. People expect a lot from me as a father. At first, it wasn’t easy for me to adapt in this kind of life but when I think of my children, it drives me to give only the best for them.
Having three kids really mean a lot. It makes me think on how I will raise them since my life now is far different from the life I’m used to. Before, my life has no direction, I was always with my friends, hitting the bars and partying all night. Until I realized it wasn’t good. Despite the fact that I wasn’t saving any money, I wasn’t also earning respect from myself as a father. And so, I changed my lifestyle as I became a part of the Philippines BPO industry. I’m earning more than the minimum salary. It may not be that much for three kids but
I’m sure it’s quite enough to provide their daily needs. Well, if before I could stay up all night at bars, same in my night-shift job but it’s worthy. And when I get home, I always make sure that I spend time with my kids. I don’t even mind the pressure at work, instead it challenges me to do better and better each day. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me because not only I’m having fun with my job but I’m also proving myself and the people around me that I’m a responsible father.
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Calling customers could be very critical in such a way that outbound call center agents need to establish a good first impression. Remember you are dealing with customers over the phone. They didn’t know and see you, so for them to make a transaction with you; they should trust and believe in you first.
Being a part of the Philippines Telemarketing team, your goal is to acquire potential customers, thus boost the company’s sales. In order for you do this, you have to know everything about your product or services, and you need to be prepared on frequently asked questions as well. You must deliver all the valuable information of the products and emphasize all the benefits. Know your prospective clients by researching; it is the best key to generate leads and to know all the needed details in pitching your prospective customers. Communication skills are very important also in establishing the company’s professionalism and credibility. You have to keep in mind that communication is a two way process and doesn’t just stop by giving the customers the information but also listening and knowing what they need. Use the customers’ name to get their attention and establish a rapport for it is an effective tool in having repeat customers. But you need to have control of the conversation and should avoid unnecessary information. Learn how to anticipate their needs and be sincere about it. Make customers feel important and appreciated. Remember that customers are the most important asset of a business and without them, a company will not exist.
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One thing is that you don’t have to put the entire load on your shoulder; you can hire a house helper. She can clean the house, cook breakfast, do the laundry, go to the market and look after your kids while you’re resting. These are some tasks that are very time consuming but it doesn’t mean that you will let her do everything as well as your responsibilities as a mom. As long as you show your family that you find little ways to make them feel that they’re important, I’m sure there will be no problem at all. And one more advice, don’t forget about yourself. Find time to reward yourself for working like a massage, a spa or dinner with your husband. Always make sure that you stay healthy as well or else these things won’t make sense. Having at least eight hour sleep, proper diet and taking vitamins and supplements will surely help.
In today’s economy, I understand that both parents need to work in order to support the family’s needs and to gain self-respect as well. The reality is that we can’t get everything that we wanted in just a blink of an eye. We need to work hard for it. Working in a call center seems to be a tough job but it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice time with your family. I guess this is much better than working abroad for like two or three years, not seeing your family and not spending precious time with them.
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There may be times that it came up to your mind the things that you’ve experienced when you were still studying. Before, when you go to school, your mom would wake you up in the morning, cook your breakfast, arrange your things and give you allowance. And at school, you just had to listen to your teacher, participate in the discussion, do research and assignments, submit reports in a long term basis and have fun with classmates. The results of your performances are being reflected through report cards. But now, when you finished college and started to work in a call center Philippines, it seemed like everything had completely changed.
You need to set up your alarm clock so you could wake up at night where most people usually sleeps. You tend to skip lunch because you’d rather rest and instead, just eat heavy dinner. You would wash your clothes during day-offs or just bring it to the laundry store which would be much easier. For you to have daily allowance, you need to learn how to save from your monthly salary. At the office, you need to come on time or else, it would be deducted from your salary. Deadlines are “tomorrow” at the latest. There are no formal exams but you’re being tested every day by reaching sales target. There may be no report cards but there are performance reviews. Well, you just have to accept that you’re out of the haven of classroom and now, you’re thrust into the challenging reality of the call center life.
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Working on a night shift in a call center is really hard especially if you have a family. You may think that you won’t be able to spend time with them and to perform your responsibility. Well, it’s really hard but there’s no way that you can’t do such things. It only takes some discipline and time management. As a working mom in Philippines BPO, my shift is at 9 o’clock in the evening until 6 o’clock in the morning. So what do I do to perform my duty as a mom and an agent? Here’s my daily itinerary.
0630H arrives home and sometimes prepares breakfast for the family
0700H eats breakfast with the family before they leave for work and school
0730H cooks lunch
0830H takes a nap for four hours
1230H eats lunch with my son coming from school
1300H helps and teaches my son with his homework
1400H takes another four to five hour nap
1830H prepares for work
1900H dinner with the family (having conversation with husband about his day)
2000H leaves for work
And during Sunday, I make sure that I spend quality time with the family by having a special lunch with some relatives or going out to the mall. Well, basically here’s my daily itinerary. It seems hard at first but if you get used to it, you’ll find it very easy. I guess it also depends on your way of living.
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I used to take Hotel and Restaurant Management when I was in college for the reason that I wanted to be a part of the hospitality industry. After I graduated, I got so excited because at last, I could pursue my dream and I would be able to help my family. Without any doubt, I passed my applications in different hotels and was waiting to be interviewed. I got interviewed and told me that they’ll just call me if I passed. Months went by but nobody called. I felt sad that I almost gave up. I thought it would be easy but I never lose hope. I applied again as reservation agent in a small hotel and guest services in a restaurant. It took so long; I really needed a job until my friend told me about the Philippines call center job fair.
At first, I was hesitant because that’s not the job that I wanted but still I did apply. I got my first interview until I reached the final interview. And to my surprise I was hired as an as Inbound call center agent. I went through a lot of trainings that helped me become a better person. And on the first day of my job, I was amazed because I was able to deal with many customers, and customer service is what I loved most. It seemed like I’m in hospitality industry as well, but it’s more than that. I may not be able to work in a hotel but I believed that I’m on the right path in achieving my dream.