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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Call Center

The batch of trainees I joined was on training for two and a half months. The first level was a Communication Skills Training. To me it was more of camaraderie rather than a training, sort of “getting to know you” process. Our Training Department honed us not only for good accents but to deal with customers from all walks of life. We have to prepare ourselves to be able to handle all types of calls, more so, calls from irate customers. For three days I thought the training was light and easy, piece of cake. I could still go on with my insurance work at a local company. I decided to be on leave from work for a week. The module for com skills training would only be for a week.

After a week training, we changed the schedule. The com skill training was during the day and as we progressed to the other modules we had the training scheduled at night time. I had to report for work after a week of absence. I thought the schedule is favorable to me. I could work at daytime and attend the training at night. Little did I know the succeeding modules were not as easy as that of the training for com skills. We were given a CD where the manual for the policies and procedures of our client we are to work for was saved in PDF format. At the end of every module, one had to pass the exams otherwise he or she will not move to the succeeding modules and would be force to resign. The consolation we had though during the training was we were already receiving our salaries. I guess aside from not being able to accept failure, all of us trainees had to hang on because of the compensation.

The day of reckoning came at the phone lab, the last module. Prior to the start of the phone lab, our lady trainer made us call some costumers. She allowed us to do some y-cording for us to be able to feel how to speak with customers. The inbound calling was good but when I got to listen to the incoming calls from irate customer it made me wonder how would I handle such a call when it would be my turn? Our Call Center is inbound Call Center. Meaning customers call us. After three days of trial period, came the dreaded phone lab module. My first call was from a lady customer reporting her payment. She said- “My, you’re breathing too hard!” I forgot the mouth piece of my headset was levelled to my nose instead of my mouth.

Working at a Customer Service Call Centers is very challenging. Customers are always right. Shouting match is prohibited. Calls are being reviewed by both external and internal quality assurance people. External, direct from the client and internal from within our office. They listen to our calls and see to it we are not sleepy when handling calls. They made sure we advised the customers correctly, adhering to the company policies. Otherwise one has to be prepared to reply to yellow and worst red alerts. Watch out for irate callers. You should learn when to press the mute button, lest you might end up consulting an ear specialist. You have to learn to listen intently even if the line is choppy. Should you received a call like this you will hate the inventor of cell phones. Average handling time is another thing to reckon with. You should learn how to do multi tasking. While listening to a caller, start typing your comments. By the time a caller hung up, you are ready to take in another call. This will save the effort of your team captain to call your attention, you have on go on auto in.

Wait there is more. You have to work even on Philippine Holidays. Even if the whole Metropolis is submerged in water or your umbrella will start flying due to typhoon signal number three your work at the Call Center is precious. Your presence is a “must”, absenteeism would mean severance from employment. Aside from taking coffee to keep you awake during the night, being on a night shift, never forget your food supplement to boost your immune system.

Still want to work at a Call Center then? Yes, because they pay higher salaries compared to other industries. You could help your country generate the needed revenue. You do not have to work oversees to pay exorbitant placement fees and be stranger to your son and daughter. You get to learn the lifestyles of people from around the globe. In that way, you get to appreciate your turf. Some of us may complain about little things in life. Have you ever received a call from an elderly woman leaving alone in an apartment saying she is sick and unable to pay her bills? Have you ever received a call from a young mother setting up her electric service in her frantic voice, her young boy met an accident while they were in the process of transferring their place of residence? Or an eighty year old man saying he just came from a nursing home and would like to restart his own home again? These are the people some of you will get to talk to. Would you not be proud of yourself you could give them the needed comfort just by your mere voice?

To all my colleagues in the industry, I salute you for your courage and dedication to your job. Keep it up… Kudos to all!

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