10 Things You Need To Know About Philippine Call Center Industry. (Part 1)

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The BPO industry remains as a popular source of employment among young Filipinos with college degrees. “Based on sectoral projections, we are confident that BPO firms will be able to add an average of 124,000 well-paying jobs annually from 2014 to 2016, or a total of 372,000 new posts over the next three years,” Romulo said in a statement. Indeed, according to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), the country’s IT-BPO industry could employ up to 1.3 million individuals by 2016. As more and more Filipinos rely on the industry for their livelihood, it’s domineering that Filipinos and Filipinos at heart be informed regarding how the Philippines’ BPO industry works.

I’ve been working in a BPO industry 2 years and 6 months now. I decided to change my job as a banker to a call center agent for some reasons – scarcity of resources. Working in a BPO industry is not an easy road for me, I need to be strong physically and emotionally. With these two and a half years, I can say that I was totally changed. And maybe I have now the capacity to share the things that you need to know about Philippine Call Center Industry.

1.      How BPO Exist?
There are four major stakeholders that play as a huge role in a BPO industry.

a.  The BPO Companies – A plain providers of email response and managing services, these have industrial capabilities for almost all types of customer relations, ranging from travel services, technical support, education, customer care, financial services, and online business-to-customer support, online business-to-business support to the BPO Clients. These are Companies situated in Philippines mostly owned by American, Indian and/or Australian.

b.   The BPO Clients – Are those companies who decides to outsource the services that they supposedly responsible on doing. Meaning “BPO Clients” pay “BPO Companies” to fulfill their duties (with legal ties/contract). Usually, these are large companies from US, UK and/or Australia.

c.   The Call Center Agent - is a person responsible for answering the quires of the “The BPO Clients’ customer “in case of customer support call center. They are responsible to satisfy customer and maintain good image for the BPO Clients’ company. It is a person hired by “BPO Companies” to work for “The BPO Clients” and to act as an employee as hired by “The BPO Clients” but the truth is he/she is employed in a BPO Company.

d.  The BPO Clients’ customer. – These are the callers from US, UK, and/or Australia.

2.      How to become a call center Agent?

Honestly, before I decided to transfer in a BPO industry, there were lots of considerations I ruminate. I was told by my few Bank officemates that I shouldn’t choose BPO because it is only intended for uneducated people. According to them that why should I work as a telephone operator if I finished a Bachelor Degree. Notably, they also mentioned that anyone can apply in a BPO industry but not anyone can apply in a bank. However, I still pushed my luck in a BPO industry.

I applied and I was rejected seven times in different companies. It was totally different way of selection process. I remembered, the first BPO Company I’ve applied was in West Contact (Makati), I was wearing long sleeves, black pants, necktie, black shoes with Kiwi shine and I brought my portfolio. I noticed the other applicants were not wearing corporate attire and everyone was staring unto me. The initial exams were all English stuffs and I didn’t even experienced computing numbers. And then everyone spokes English fluently with American accent. It was horrible experience.

After that incident, I learned that BPO industry is not just an easy job. It’s more than that. Call center managers require new hires to be extremely fluent in English.. Let me share you guys this important thing that I learned from those seven times of rejection and after my job offer – production. Accent – this is important, means paying attention to the way you pronounce and enunciates words is your priority. No matter how many grammar lapses you incurred during your interview as long as you delivered it in a confident manner with accent. I am pretty sure you will hit your target.

3.  Tips for the Applicants during Recruitment and Training Process.

Interviewer : How did you learned about this Company?
Applicant: Through my Neva!
Interviewer : Through whom?
Applicant : My Neva, the house next to mine is
                     my NEVA. (LOL!)
There are three major ways in applying in a call center industry; namely “Walk-in”- you just go directly to the HR recruitment department and submit your resume. “Employee Referral”- where an applicant is referred by an existing employee of a call center, you will only get surprise when someone calls you for a phone interview and you are oblige to speak in English regardless if you’re in the restroom, bus, MRT and any public places while the people around you are listening. (Tip: always ask the person who referred you because he/she might get a referral bonus, you can ask him/her a deal for bonus sharing). “Agency Endorsement”- an employment agency will conduct its own screening before endorsing an applicant to any call center. I experienced this scenario once before I was endorsed to STREAM GLOBAL (Mandaluyong). I will not advise this way because at the employment agency you will take all the selection process (I thought I was hired already) and when you reach at the BPO recruitment, you will undergo again the same selection process. So, you are just wasting time.  

At the HR office you will see innumerable applicants; I must say socially inclined people (I meant social climber). Why I say so, because you will hear Accents that are superb and you will see glamorous outfits of women and trendy get-up of men. Don’t mind them, always remember that you guys are all same applicants and you guys need a job (or who knows you might get a higher offer than them)

Here are the selection processes
1.      Phone Screening- also known as Versant wherein an applicant responds to a recorded voice to determine the voice quality over the phone. What I can suggest is that you need to speak louder and clear. It is also known as call simulation wherein an interviewer will play as a customer and you will answer the call.

2.      Examination- this includes aptitude tests, computer-based call simulations and emotional quotient (EQ) tests. During your behavioral test you should be aware that they are measuring your behavior.

3.      Initial Interview- conducted by the company human resource department or another outsource staffing firm to test the speaking skills, attitude and confidence of the applicant in responding to questions.

4.      Final Interview – to assess customer service, technical, or sales skills. This stage also you will be asked if how much is your expected salary.

5.      Job offer- Remember that a job offer is always offered at the end of the day. If the recruiter will advise you that they will need to review your application and wait for their call, don’t expect for it, that is their way on saying “you didn’t passed”. BPO recruitment is a one day process and HR department have a target headcount a day. Before signing the Job offer do ask about your salary, the taxable and not and etc. before you sign.

Part 2 Coming up next... soon..

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