[Warning: This blogwrite contains Tagalog words]
… and the saying “Think before you post-and-click” must be realized by those who are in managerial positions in Call Center/BPO industry in the Philippines.
I never forget how we, agents, are constantly being reminded to be careful about what we post in any social media platform, especially if the post is pertaining to the companies we work for. Also, I guess, the said reminder should also apply to those in higher position, most notably are the following: recruitment associates, labor relations associates, payroll, trainers, subject matter experts, assistant team leaders, team leaders, assistant/deputy/business/operations/general/site/country managers. And since the said reminder above applies to them, as per my observation, I never saw any TL, or SME, or Manager whom I dealt with in different companies I’ve worked for, talking smack at any agent or those who aspire to be part of Call Center/BPO industry. Why? Because they also started as agents and some of them lacked the skills to be in the said industry.
Remember, social media is an extension of one’s own personality, and what you say on your FB, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit etc. represents YOU, and to the extent, the company you work for, especially when a random netizen finds out where you work.
I remember the statement given to us by Bea Locsin, who used to be our Pre-Employment Trainer back in People2Outsource, more than eight years ago. Before our deployment to IBM-Daksh for pre-employement assessment, Bea reminded us “…for those who will not make it to IBM, don’t feel bad about it. Call Centers have different avenues…”, instead of a rather defrocking statements such as “…maybe Call Center is NOT for you…”. Mas pinanghawakan ko ang statement ni Bea because on most aspects, it is really true that Call Center/BPO companies/accounts have different avenues, because different companies and accounts/campaigns have different standards and procedures. You may not make it to the likes of AT&T campaign, but you may be able to make it to the likes of Macy’s, or Sears. Once you are into Call Center/BPO industry, you have a lot of options. I am not encouraging everyone to hop from one center to another, just that, in the event that you may see yourself hopping from one center to another, your situation is understandable, unless you have a lot of attendance issues due to your simple immaturity.
I would like to ask Antoinette Apostol, how long she has been in this industry? Even if she has been into this industry since early 2000s, it is highly illogical for her to say such defrocking statements such as this.
“I can’t understand why people keep forcing themselves to be part of the BPO industry despite the very obvious fact that they are not Capable and Fully equipped to be one in the first place! Because of Huge Pay? Gosh if that’s how we’d all look at things then I would’ve dreamed of becoming a Pilot despite not knowing how to operate a plane! I know everyone seeks a better opportunity in terms of big pay but come on guys.. Please take it upon yourselves to at least accept the fact that not because you want, you can!”
First off, NO ONE started in Call Center/BPO industry as someone with flawless English Communication skills, awesome efficiency and multi-tasking skills, amazing soft skills and impeccable technical skills. The way Antoinette stated things, it appears she has been hiding under the rock and never been aware of what is happening outside the Call Center companies she worked for, and if she was lucky enough to be part of the industry back at that time Call Center/BPO companies were as strict-as-hell standards-wise, still, it is improper for her to speak like that.
She should face the fact that Call Center/BPO industry has the highest attrition rate not only in the Philippines, but the whole world as well, and there are different factors that contributes to attrition. On the same token, there are a lot of Filipinos aiming to be part of the Call Center/BPO industry but their English communication and soft skills is not that enough, and that is why TESDA-accredited Call Center training programs conducted by Informatics and ExcelAsia is THERE to prepare aspirants in entering Call Center/BPO industry. Aside from these trainings, there are also foundation skills and product specs trainings conducted by Call Center companies too, and no matter how well you have learned, you will realize it is not yet enough once you enter the production floor. Production floors are considered the “school of life” for most agents. Sa Call Center ka na lang gumagaling sa English… then the rest will follow, with the help of coaching sessions made by Team Leaders, Subject Matter Experts, Sales Coaches, Language Coaches etc.
Of course, hindi lahat pare-pareho ng learning curve. Habang tumatagal ka sa Call Center industry, hindi mo rin masasabing hahalimaw ka sa performance, and just because you are hitting the AHT target does not mean you are great. Pwede ding ang haba ng AHT mo pero bumabawi ka sa Quality, Sales Conversion/Revenue-Per-Call, Customer Satisfaction surveys. Pero still, in the end, hanggang Quality na lang ang kaya mong i-work on because as the old saying goes, and as cliche as it may sound, hindi lahat ng araw ay pasko. And speaking of attrition, does not she know that unreasonable KPI/metrics imposed by clients are one of the factors why agents hop from one center to another?
We are not actually forcing ourselves to be part of this Call Center/BPO industry and there are different reasons why we would like to be part of this industry other than money, but let’s get real, hindi mawawala ang usapang pera sa kahit saang trabahong papasukan mo, na ultimong magnu-Nursing, kaya sila nag-Nursing because some of them, wants to go abroad and earn more than what they can earn here in the Philippines. Aside from money, work as well because some wants to try out working in a Call Center because some of them were forcibly retired from their non-Call Center companies. Some are ex-OFWs who would rather stay and be with their family than staying far. Hindi kami nasa Call Center industry para lang magpa-sosyal, and siguro, ang mga kagaya ni Antoinette, gusto din magpasosyal. Sorry for my petty rant on her.
There is nothing wrong in aiming for higher pay, because some are breadwinners to their families and whether you believe it or not, what they are earning from non-Call Center/BPO companies is NOT enough to put food on the table and/or send siblings to school, besides, as years go by, offers are getting lower. Another thing, and also, to paraphrase my former colleague Ron Magsuci, na walang INCAPABLE sa industry, because skills of any kind can be learned over the course of time, depending on your desires and your preferences. Again, as I’ve mentioned earlier, you will reach to a point that, no matter what you do, it does not meet the standards of clients, and just because you do not meet the standards does not necessarily mean it is not for you. Kaya nga, CALL CENTERS HAVE DIFFERENT AVENUES, right?
The way she deprive Call Center aspirants is like discouraging a high school graduate to become a nurse, or engineer, or entrepreneur, doctor etc…etc.. because they are stupid enough to be one. If that is the case, then what’s the sense of having Colleges of Nursing, Medicine, Engineering, Business Administration, Education etc., when all people like Antoinette do is to discourage? What’s all the sense of having Call Center training programs, as well as Intra-company foundation skills and product specs trainings while all people like Antoinette do is to DEMOTIVATE anyone from entering into this Call Center industry?
If Antoinette is still living in the early 2000-2005 era of Call Center/BPO industry, it’s such a pity for her because nakakahon pa rin ang isip niya sa ganung panahon, hindi na umusad. We at Call Center industry can no longer expect the said industry to maintain higher standards, and if Call Center/BPO companies have removed their preferences in school, educational attainment, age limit and accents in English communication, it is like, giving extra miles for those who wanna make it into this industry. And since Call Center/BPO industry is loosening up a bit, natutugunan ang attrition issues sa Call Center industry, kaya nga may mga High School graduates sa Call Center eh. Isa pa, just because a company accepts High School graduates, doesn’t necessarily mean na nagiging pambobo na ang trabaho sa Call Center. Wala sa educational attainment po iyan, ma’am/sir, because even a teenager can showcase an exceptional acument on computer and networking technology, communications, training etc.
Bweno, kung puro “capable” ang dapat tanggapin at tinatanggap lang sa Call Center and Antoinette “meets” the qualifications, eh di siya na!! Siya na ang magaling!!!! Siya na ang halimaw!!! Eh di siya na ang magaling from the onset of her entry to this industry!!!
Unfortunately, I strongly believe palpak siya sa coaching skills.
She said that she is a TEAM LEADER right? Therefore, aside from monitoring calls as well as agent performances and attendance modification for payroll cut-off, COACHING is also ONE OF THE DUTIES of a TEAM LEADER! Ganyan pala siya makapag-shoutout sa Facebook, that also reflects her COACHING skills, so pati sa coaching sessions, palengkera mode si ate, at siguro naliligo na sa insulto ang kawawang ahente. I’ll not gonna be surprised a lot of agents are resigning because of her fail coaching skills. Eventually, I’ll not gonna be surprised that she is also a hopper, just like agents who hop.
Am I being judgemental towards Antoinette? The hell I care! She is judgemental towards aspirants, so she should face the hurtful comments.
I have been into this industry for around eight years now, never been promoted as SME, Team Leader or even Ops Manager. I am happy, despite not being promoted, not even thinking of going abroad. I am into this industry, despite the previous stress I had when I was in different North American accounts, not exactly to be promoted, but to be myself, enjoy the work diversity while giving numbers. I know, I will never be in this industry forever, and even if I move to academe for example, I will cherish all the memories I had in this BPO/Call Center industry.
I have been into this industry for around eight years now, and never heard any TL or Manager screaming condescending words to any agent who is just starting, unless lumaki na talaga mga ulo nila. Even before entering into this industry, I never heard my trainer Angel Mangalindan defrocking those who lack the capability to be into this industry. Besides, realtalk, all of us started in Call Center industry with little English communication skills as well as little to no basic Call Center skills. We lack the skills before starting, and we should all face that FACT!
Before I forget, even in becoming a PILOT and/or Aircraft Engineer, there is a school for that, and even if you may not have enough acumen in aircraft and jet operating and/or driving, but you have a lot of determination to become a PILOT, you can learn and be a PILOT, and that depends on your desires.
Lahat po inaaral, “TL” Antoinette! (and I am calling her TL — or Team Leader — with a whole lotta’ mockery!)
[Side Note: Bea Locsin used to be our trainers in People2Outsource back in December 2007, and I was about to start in Call Center industry at that time. For those who barely made it to IBM-Daksh, they are being enrolled to “Power English NOW” program by IBM-Daksh, and I was one of them. For those who are not updated about industry-wide stuff, Bea Locsin is the wife of Mitch Locsin, who used to be an Executive Director of Business Process Association of the Philippines from 2005-2008.
Just to give you an idea guys, before formally joining the Call Center/BPO industry, I had Call Center training programs in different institutions —- Informatics in 2006; ExcelAsia and People2Outsource in 2007.]