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Call Center Agent Training

Healthy Tips for Call Center Agents on the Night Shift

If you work for a call center in the Philippines, chances are that you work at least some of your shifts at night. Whether you work for an outbound call center and are a lead generation machine or at an inbound call center taking customer service calls, the following tips should help you keep it together during long graveyard shifts. The following is from a fellow call center agent in the Philippines.

 

1. Get Enough Sleep

This is the most important thing that call center agents usually don’t do. By not getting enough sleep, they go to work very weak and tired, sometimes falling asleep during calls. Not only will they be scolded by their supervisors, but they end up not being productive throughout the day.

 

2. Eat Healthier

Always have well balanced meals to give you enough energy to take calls throughout the whole shift and be enthusiastic all night. Usually skipping meals will make you dizzy and nauseated, making it hard to concentrate on your calls and unable to really understand your customers concerns. Listening attentively and having an upbeat tone with  your customers helps you be able to address their concerns properly and furthermore, keeps their attention during your pitch.

 

3. Drink Plenty of Fluids

Talking all the time on the phone can really dry up your throat. To protect the most important aspect of working in a call center, which is you voice, you should take in lots of fluids. Drink lots of water, juice, or iced tea. Whatever is available or whichever you prefer. Having a spill-proof tumbler is the most common thing you see at every call center agents’ desk.

 

4. Exercise

Being fit is very crucial in keeping your job. If you are very unhealthy, you tend to get sick often, which leads to missed days, and eventually termination.

 

5. Balanced Social Life

Nothing makes you more lively and excited to go to work at night in the call center than getting together again with coworkers you enjoy being with. Take time to build meaningful, professional relationships with your team.

 

6. Keep Habits in Check

I guess telling people not to smoke or drink coffee at work would make me a hypocrite since I myself smoke. True, drinking coffee and smoking is a big help in keeping you awake at work, but having too much is a different story. Your habits should never affect your work, period.

 

7. Learning to Unwind

Working is good, but working too much is not. Having fun and going out with friends keeps you healthy in ways that improve your overall sense of being, which leads to a more positive and alert attitude at work.

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Life as a Philippines Call Center Agent #05

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”

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Life as a Philippines Call Center Agent #06

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!

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Life as a Philippines Call Center Agent #04

Years ago, I never wanted to work in a call center. I have friends working in some Philippines call center companies and I can see how hard it is for them to wake up at night just to go to work. But I can’t deny it. The call center industry is one of fastest growing industry in the Philippines today. It has helped create jobs for many Filipinos and has given opportunities to millions. And somehow, I thought, I wanted to become a part of it. I wanted to feel what it’s like to be working in a call center.

I finally decided to give it a shot. Try once…and if things go bad, never do it again.
I passed, though. It was my first try and I did it. I’d say out of  luck, or maybe not. But whatever it was, I was in for the experience of a lifetime.

I learned that being out at night is risky but fun, too. Especially if you’re out for work. You don’t have to endure heavy traffic, unlike when you have a regular daytime job where you’d be stuck in traffic for hours. You don’t sweat in the  warm heat of the sun. Instead, you can feel the cool breeze of the night, making you want to wear your jacket.

Working in a call center has introduced me to a whole new world. I met several people. Each one different from the other. Each one with a different personality. Each one  with a different style. And each one has touched my life in one way or another.

I learned a lot of things too. Simple things that I didn’t know. Like the names of the US states and  the US time zones. Now, I know that California is on the west coast and New York on  the east.

Parties, outings and other team building activities are the most exciting things about my call center job. You don’t only get to go out with your friends, but you will also get to see different places. Most importantly, you can gain some experience which can make you laugh when you look back to it years after…things worth remembering.  These are the good things that working in a call center has brought me, aside from, of course, the good pay.

But like everything in this world, working in a call center Philippines has it’s share of not-so-good-things.
I knew from the very start that it would be hard. I later realized that it’s even harder than what I had prepared myself  for. I had to turn my time around and keep awake through the night. I’m not a fan of  coffee, but  it became an important part of my diet. Coffee keeps me alert  during my shift. But what’s most difficult for me is sleeping during the day.

Aside from that, I have to constantly please every customer that I deal with each customer service call and establish excellent service under the keen observation of my supervisors and mentors. I have to make sure that the script is delivered the way it should be. I have to prepare my rebuttals, in case I need them.

One of the worst things that could happen when working in a call center is to be shouted at by irate customers. The first time I had my share of that, it made me want to cry. I even thought of giving up. But I realized, I have to take it constructively rather than destructively. And soon enough, it didn’t matter if customers shouted at me throughout the call.  I learned to remain composed and calm.

All in all, sometimes the stress is overwhelming. But I know stress comes with the total package. And I have to endure it.  Indeed, life in a call center can be tough. And for me, it’s like riding a roller coaster. It can bring you down, but it can also take you up.  I guess everything in life is like that and so the call center is no different. All you have to do is hold on to your seat…and enjoy the ride!

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Life as a Call Center Agent 03

You have to learn the rules of the game. And you have to play better than everyone else.” For a start, I don’t have any philosophical quotes to give. But what I just gave was a simple statement which I’ve always believed to be meaningful and can be related to my experience as a call center agent. In a call center life your world is different, you go to work in a different time frame, you work while others fall deeply into sleep, you sleep when everyone else is working. It’s not an easy life… that’s why you have to condition your mind and body from all the changes of what we call “the call center life”.

When I graduated from college I always told myself to practice the profession that I graduated from. Few years back call center companies had boomed and became very popular as for people who are in great need of money. I remember before in my freshmen years I had a classmate, she was very daring and confident just by judging on how she speaks. I thought of her as someone very influential and maybe someday can become one of the famous speakers of our school but then the second semester came she didn’t enrolled back unlike the rest of us. I heard she got a job as a Philippine call center agent and had a starting salary of 10,000 pesos. I said to my self “wow, that’s big money” well perhaps someone who never experienced working would think the same as me. And then I asked myself. Is that job really worth giving up your education so you could be earning that kind of salary? I was intrigued by people’s amazement about me getting a call center job and thought to myself… I could do the same in the future. But when I graduated, I got very fond of my major. I have gained so much in my four years of studying and learning on how to become a dignified teacher.

When I had my first Job as an ESL teacher I met some people who came from contact center companies, they’re stories about stress, sleepless nights, insomnia, coffee addiction and of course the powerful influence of smoking scared me. They say your life becomes boring and meaningless as the days go by, reiterating the same script everyday and you also get shouted at by irate customers, calling you names which you don’t even know what they are talking about. Attacking and hurting you emotionally and mentally. I was blown out of the water. Whew! I never thought it would be that alarming. And so I thought, I would never imagine myself working for a call center company.

Three years later here I am in working at a inbound call center in Cebu.It’s very funny though because of all the stories that I have heard is not exactly how scary I imagined it to be. Somehow here at this call center I found new friends and a new life. All through the months that I’ve worked here, I find my new job experience an enjoyable one.I learned how to be at your best especially when you’re working for a client. The kind of job that I started is a personal virtual assistant. What makes this one different from other call center is that most of the agents work from Tuesdays to Saturdays only and get to spend the weekend with their families. We get to work for professionals in the U.S which is rewarding because these people are willing to train and help you do your job well. I’ve been very lucky so far because I’ve been working for my client since I started here.

At first I was a little worried about my computer skills but thanks to my client and my on the job training I was motivated to push through and learn. Never once did my client reprimanded or make me feel that she was not happy with the work I was doing for her.

The owners at my business process outsourcing company care a lot for their agents, our minds and feelings means a lot to them. As much as possible they want their agents to be dedicated and happy with their job and so far in my years of working for foreigners they are the only ones who care more for their workers. I am truly happy for what the company has achieved after eight shaky months. We have earned our way to the top and are becoming a great call center company. There might have been some moments which were very difficult, some agents left while other new agents are always joining. New rules, old problems but finally we know this company has more to offer for all people… clients, and Filipinos out there who need work.

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Life as a Philippines Call Center Agent #02

I woke up and just when I was still half awake, and all wrapped up with my blanket, “where am i?

“oh… thank God I’m at home…is it late in the afternoon?” I asked myself, my eyes were still closed. Then I suddenly gasped, and all of the sweet, cozy feeling of having to sleep more went away,

“I’m at work!” I confirmed. “it’s my one hour break! And I’m just in the sleeping lounge.” I said disappointingly to myself. And at times I would ask, “It’s Wednesday today, isn’t it?”.

“No, it’s Thursday here and it’s Wednesday there in the US” my colleague replied. “Ohhhh yeahhh..gosshhh…days seem to run so fast.

It’s like today, it’s Monday and then, the next thing you’ll know, it’s way past the middle of the week.”

But this is just a common situation you know even to people who are not staying up the whole night working in Philippines call centers, it just happens so often. We get disoriented with time and because we work for clients in an opposite time zone, we get it all really mixed up. Well, maybe for a time before having to adjust.

Anyway, this is my second job working in a call center. The first was not really that good. I was a customer service rep. I handled complicated accounts of customers like billing, hours of usage, verifications,

What affected me most was the customers. Some were so mean and irate and some were kind and polite. Well, I tell you, most of them are irate but I can’t blame them because most of the time, they have a point and that they’re not mad at you but they’re mad at what they got with the services, the company and especially, when they’re charged more than what they expect.

Then there were the supervisors who kept pushing you all the time, yelling at you, even in the middle of a call that makes a really “perfect” day at work. It gave me a terrible headache every day. And literally every day, just minutes before the start of my shift, I would pass by the clinic and ask for a hot water bag, a pain reliever, and Salonpas, a muscle pain reliever wherein you’ll just stick it on the part where your muscles feel sore but they don’t help that much. It was really awful to have felt that way.

Even if the pay was quite good…it just can’t help the headaches. So, I quit. I only worked there for 3 months. Then now, my 2nd call center, I’m going to be on my 6th month this month of March. It’s an achievement on my part that at last, I was able to stay this long. I can hardly believe it really. With this kind of lifestyle? You go to work at 11 in the evening and go home at 8 in the morning. And when I get home, and in my bed, I hear the cars passing by, honking their horns all day and the heat rising up especially on mid day to 38 degrees Celsius or 105.4 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m like toasted inside my room. Like a turkey in the oven even if the electric fan is already on number 3.

So, how am I supposed to get a good sleep with that? And if I really get so sleepy, I would get a wet towel and lie on it or cover myself with it on the bed. It’s cooler and I can sleep at least without having to sweat that much. It would be really lucky for me to be able to sleep 8 hours straight during the day but that’s totally impossible. How I wish that would happen every day you know. So, after almost six months, I’m already used to having only 4-5 hours of sleep and some naps and eat once or twice because I would rather get some sleep than eat. Sometimes I would drag myself to work especially when it’s night time already and it’s when I get to sleep better because it’s dark, quiet and cool.

I wanted to sleep more on my cozy bed with my cozy blanket and pillow but I needed to get up to go to work. But every time I get to work, I sit on my station, I’m just comfortable and happy. I guess I’ve found a place. Maybe working in a call center is not really bad at all. With little work experience and being a fresh graduate, I would not get a salary as big as this but since it’s an offshore call center, it gives me good pay, incentives, good health and insurance benefits. So, it puts good food in the refrigerator…. things that you can’t buy or can’t do when you’re working on a day-time job. Yes, that’s life in a call center.

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Life as a Call Center Agent 01

Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is a life not worth living.” My life is a series of exams. Each day begins with a clean slate. I have a plan, but I don’t know the outcome. In reality, I’m writing with a pen so I can’t erase my answers but I can correct them. Whatever I do or say will affect the final score called success. I have to answer three questions: who am I, what am I doing, and where am I heading. I don’t know when the result will be and if it shall be given today, did I answer these queries well? If I fail, do I have one more chance to pass?

A year ago, I lost three things consecutively – my ESL job, my facial spa business and my father. At a certain point, I felt melancholic, discouraged and uninspired. Not knowing where to go nor what to do, my best friend named JK contacted me and offered me an opportunity to regain myself back. I waited patiently for the opportunity for a month. While sending off my brother to the airport, I received a message to report for an interview at one of the inbound call centers. I applied, and got hired but it wasn’t an ordinary employment. I’m the only employee who started working part time in the company, working 4 hours a day and got paid half initially.

In a call center, life is a continuing process of acquiring new skills and maintaining a positive attitude. When my cousin came along to help strategically manage the company, modifications had to be made to enable the company to grow. I felt threatened because I’ve been working for some time without a client. Yet, it was another challenge to prove my credibility. Some of us went through SALES 101 training. The training made me realize that in any transaction, I have to inspire, motivate, persuade and negotiate to close a sale. SALES 101 brought me a different perspective and transformed me to be confident, assertive and assumptive. I am proud working in a Philippines call center because I’m surrounded by indefatigable managers and versatile workers ready to adapt changes. Life in a call center is surprising, too. I would never know who’s going to pick up the other line. When the phone starts dialing, I asked myself whether I will make a lead or talk to an irate customer.

Mere acquaintances became good friends. We have lunch together, sit near each other and yet chat online to share a little secrecy. Some of my good friends left to look for a greener pasture while I opted to stay waiting for the next payday. Working in a call center is like conquering time and space. I increase my purchasing power but I live in a different dimension. I wake up when my kids go to bed. I work while the rest of the world has fallen into a deep slumber. I’m earning enough revenue to pay off my bills and save some into my bank yet has to sacrificed the sweetness of sleeping beside my significant partner in life under the dark velvet sky. However, along with this sacrifice is the realization of how colorful life in a call center could be. I could be laughing out loud with green-minded friends or working with a boss who sees things in black and white. I could be making a lead, waiting for a probable client or anxiously waiting to see the company grow. It dawned on me also that what comes around, goes around. I might have lost three things last year but I was given another present to cherish. In these times of economic adversity, I’m so blessed that I have a call center job.

My life in a call center is a test of trust and faith. It’s a test that confirms trust in my ability and faith towards the strategic plan of our managers. I have integrity to the management to lead the company to the right track. Now, I have the answers to the three queries I mentioned above. I am a Virtual Assistant striving to satisfy my client simultaneously working to improve the quality of my life. I could foresee where I am headed to. Someday, I would succeed with what I am currently doing in. If at certain times, I might have failed to write something on my clean slate, I know I have another day to do it again perfectly. I’m not afraid to fail anymore. If anyone wants to find out why I dare to be different, well I belong to the right company. Are you living an unexamined life? Tell me and I’ll show you the difference in Executive Boutique where you can find the executives making lives worth living.

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