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Twenty-four days to go and it’s the most special day of the year, Christmas. Unsurprisingly, the hectic holiday is fast approaching. Everybody is busy as well as every establishments like hotels, restaurants, airlines, government agencies, shopping malls and Philippines call center. Given the fact that this is the time for Christmas bonus, 13th month pay and numerous gift giving, I’m sure that everybody is excited for this wonderful season.
Too often, we become so preoccupied by the ritual of gift giving that we do not have time to truly appreciate the spirit of Christmas. Perhaps we are so busy rushing to different holiday events that we neglect to even consider the truly meaningful things in our own lives. For most of us, the busy days of December keep us running from mall to mall, finding the elusive perfect gift for each person on the list or buying clothes just to look good and gorgeous on Christmas day. When we’re not shopping, decorating the home takes over and then we turn our attentions to wrapping gifts and addressing Christmas cards. In today’s society so much emphasis is placed on materialism and financial status and we can’t just get this out of our mind. Well, I admit that this has been our tradition ever since but we should not forget that Christmas is not only about gifts. It is about giving love, being aware of the spirit and grace of God and spending time with the most special people in our lives.
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Sometimes, when you see a beautiful model or a popular artist, you may say, I wish I’m one of them. I attest to that because being an ordinary outbound call center agent, I feel the same way.
I always watch America’s next top model but honestly, I found out that those girls are just ordinary persons like me who just wanted to achieve their dreams. Some are students, sales ladies, servers, receptionists and some even have kids. When it comes to their appearance, some are not extremely pretty, not that slim, don’t have perfectly curved bodies and some are even weird. But the good thing about them is that in every photo shoot, they are so different. When you see the outcome of their photos, it is amazing, unique and outstanding. Meaning to say that they bring out an unexpected personality in that situation with confidence and they always find good things about themselves. Even one of the fashion consultants of that show said that “being beautiful is not about the way you look; it’s about feeling good about yourself from within”. That really makes sense.
I guess that, that is one of the best things that I’ve learned which I could actually apply to my everyday life, not just for me but for everybody else. I don’t have to wear fancy clothes, I don’t have to wear heavy make-up all the time, I don’t have to go to beauty salon everyday, but for as long as I do great on my job in the call centre and I feel good about myself, I can be a model to everyone.
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Working in a call center environment is hard.
You have to stay awake during odd hours when most people are asleep. You have to study and memorize scripts about certain products as if there’s going to be a pop quiz the next day. You have to deal with customers that are sometimes not easy to communicate with and you have to reach a certain quota everyday.
That’s why agents usually turn to their best friend in these times- coffee.
It’s pretty well known that coffee helps inbound or outbound agents get through the graveyard shift. Agents feel re-energized after a cup of coffee. It helps reduce the sensation of tiredness, improves short term memory and increases intellectual performance. Many studies have proven that coffee may also reduce the risk of diseases such as type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s, colon cancer, cirrhosis, gall stones, depression and more.
Coffee was first brewed in the Fertile Crescent region, and Arabs are generally known to be the first to brew coffee. Throughout the centuries coffee grew in popularity, even the famous Lutheran composer, Johann Sebastian Bach who lived in a coffee-hating society, showed how much he loved coffee when he wrote Coffee Cantata in 1732.
Prior to the start of the American Revolution, meetings were held in coffeehouses and drinking coffee was thought to be an expression of freedom.
Nowadays, coffee is a part of everyday life. It’s rich, bold taste brings us back from a black hole of stress, and into a world of peace, sales, and happy customers.
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In your company, which do you think are you part of, a group or a team? For example, in an outbound call center with college graduate agents, they can be grouped according to their degree like accounting, hotel and restaurant management, tourism and information technology. Forming a group based on a certain commonality is much easier, although the effectiveness of the groups may be inconsistent. But when we say a team, its members are selected for their corresponding skills.
Just like in a call center, there are inbound agents, Philippines telemarketing agents, BPO agents and virtual assistants who form a great Philippines call center team that provide business support services for offshore companies. Each member of that team has a purpose that contributes to its overall success. A team’s strength depends on a common goal and interconnectivity between individual members, whereas a group’s strength may come from pure volume or willingness to carry out a single leader’s commands. I’m sure you haven’t heard of a group building, instead team building. Developing a team takes a long period of time for it to be effective. There are stages that need to be taken such as assessing group tasks and standards, identifying the conflict among the team members and finding a resolution, building unity and harmony and the performing stage where the team is ready to be productive and to work on the task assigned. A team’s success is when your team can accomplish something much bigger and work more effectively than a group of the same individuals working on their own.
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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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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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As I reached Cebu City, it felt like I’m still in Manila. I had lunch at Ayala mall that was really great. There were so many nice restaurants, casual dining or fine dining, you would find everything but the difference was the hospitality of the Cebuanos, greeting you with a warmth smile and speaking their language with pride. But in English, they speak it very well. Definitely, being the 3rd English speaking nation, it is an official language used in schools, universities and government institutions. It is no wonder why major companies in the U.S. and U.K. outsource their call centre operations here in Cebu.
I went to this place called I.T. Park, and it is surrounded by many restaurants, coffee shops, banks and a lot of Philippines outsourcing companies. It is really a nice place to visit and a good working environment as well. The day may be over but the night has just begun as I witnessed Cebu city’s night life. For party people, I’m sure you’ll never get bored as it has lots of nice bars to hang out and entertainment here in Cebu. And the best part of my trip, the beach. I didn’t have to travel that far just to get to the beach; it has a lot of beautiful white sand beaches that are very close to the city. So what else could I ask for, a city and a beach. And now, I could say that Cebu is not just a destination for me, I considered it as my home already.
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I can remember this trip I took to Bohol, Philippines a few years ago and how much fun we had with many of my workmates from my job as an inbound call center agent. I had been working with these people for only a few months but everyone was really nice and we all had a little extra money. So we decided to make a little group tip to the next island over from Cebu and see the world’s smallest monkey.
I was so interested that I even did a little research which says the Tarsier is actually not a monkey at all. Well to many Filipinos, they would agree and say that it is actually a monster. When we got to the area to view the tarsier I met one of those who think that the tarsier is dangerous and it was something to see. There was this funny incident because a kid was shouting screaming at the top of his lungs and saying “no monster.” My initial reaction was “what the heck is that kid afraid of” I mean, its a tarsier, as far as I know they have never killed anyone or eaten any little kids. But I guess I probably didn’t know any better when I was young either. And not everyone has the opportunity to look up tarsier on Wikipedia to see what these little guys are all about.
So I can’t blame her. I guess she was just kid same as me before and she has fear over things that she is not familiar with. Children see things differently in one child’s eyes the tarsier may be gentle but to that little girl this was the worst monster. I hope her parents walked her through it and showed her that the tarsier is not to be feared. But it was going to take a while. Now that I am back at my BPO office I think about that girl and wish I could send her a nice article about the tarsier.
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A few years ago, May 7, 2003 exactly 3pm when we arrived in Bohol, Philippines. It was my first time to be in on this tropical island and it was a little vacation from my job as a telemarketing agent at a call center. The place was nice the people are nice too, and the food was great. The main reason I was there was to witness the creature which they called “Tarsier”. When I first heard about it, I never bothered to care or get excited to see one. But now here I was stating at the little creature and it changed my view.
Mixed reaction is what I witnessed from both young and old. I can see them smiling, taking picture of this so called “Tarsier.” Then I saw the “tarsier”. So it is true what other people say that this is a special creature that we as Filipinos need to care for. It reminded me of a kid… small gentle and innocent.
The whole experience was really great for me not just because I got to ses one of the treasures of the Philippines but also because the people were nice, the food was great and the island of Bohol is beautiful. I don’t know the exact word to describe it. But it’s all worth it. It made me realize that simple things can be so meaningful and so many other people don’t realize it. The Tarsier, for example, makes other people happy and smile which can be priceless. On that point, it made me realize that small things can still make a big impact on peoples lives. This little creature bought out the best in the people and hopefully they will go back to their customer service and call center jobs and be that much happier from spending time with one of the smallest primates in the world.
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Healthy living on the call center floor
I will be discussing how a call center agent can be healthy.
We all know that most call center agents work at the wee hours of the day, and staying up late can be hard to used to. We should learn to adjust to our schedule and do what is appropriate to keep feeling healthy when working funky hours in the contact center. Wake up at a time that is appropriate for you to get ready for work and after shift do not stay up too late. Just make sure you schedule your sleep for 8 hours.
Secondly, the eating habits. Eat only nutritious foods. You do not have to deprive yourself of your cravings just make sure you are getting the right nutritional content with what you are eating. Learn to balance your eating habits. Eat a full meal one hour after you wake up and follow it up with small meals or snacks in between shifts. Eating a lot in between shifts is the most common factor for sleepiness. Eat fruits and vegetables. Eating healthy has always been the main point of it all.
Lastly, Exercise. We all know that prevention is better than cure, and exercise is the way to do it. Exercise, even just for a little while, every day after shift, run a few laps maybe or do some crunches before you go to sleep. In a way it helps your sleeping because it is easier to sleep when you are tired.
The main thing is to combine the three and whopaaa! You get to be healthy on the floor. It is both beneficial for the company and also for you. Since if you feel great then your work is great. But one thing is the most important in being healthy. One must have discipline and self respect for with out discipline no one can achieve his goal. Working at call center Philippines is not always easy but it can be if you are prepared.
Maintain discipline in everything that you do and for sure all you do will be successful. Respect yourself if you want to be successful.