Call Center Lifestyle in the Philippines

on Friday, May 25, 2012

Yuppie Filipinos get the chance to be employed easily once they obtained their bachelor or diploma degrees because of the emergence of contact centers everywhere in the Philippines. These workers started to fill the 24-hour skyscrapers that give a colorful background to metro Manila's financial districts at nighttime.

This only shows that people employed in this job for a couple of years were used to on their ticking biological sleeping habit. They slept all day long just to regain their strength and wake up again at the wee hours to prepare themselves for a nightlong work. Clad in casual attire with matching fashionable coats are the most common props if you are a customer service representative. During break time some even used to occupy the al fresco various dining areas in Manila. In Ortigas for instance, call center agents enjoy their 30-minute to 1 hour break at McDonald's, Starbucks, among others. For those who have extra pennies, they enjoy the hot aroma of Brazilian coffee in various blend. Others may sit on the corner and lit up their cigarette in a way of releasing their stress from work. It is enjoying isn't it?

At 8 pm. about 100 people, most 25 younger, sit in a room of enclosed cubicles outfitted with phones and computers. They'll be working until 4 am. or depends on the schedule of their shifts. As their shifts starts, it is usually morning in the US. These contact centers are following US standard zones such as Pacific, Eastern, Mountain and Central.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Luisa Geneta disclosed that call center is her first job when she finished her bachelor's degree on May 4, 2007. At 12 am., Geneta left her house in Tondo, a suburb village in Manila, as her shift starts at 2 am. This Banking and Finance graduate from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) is one of the top caliber representatives for Unique Interaction, an American call center based in Ortigas.

"Working in a call center in the Philippines is really a big challenge for me especially that I'm new to this business. I spent most of my time and energy on this job," she said, who handles an inbound account.

It is a very risky to leave my house at midnight for a young lady like me. However, I consider that this is the most rewarding career that we have nowadays and this will be a big help in creating another means of livelihood for us Filipinos especially for fresh graduates like me, she claimed.
On the other hand, Margaret Estanislao, 19, a team leader of the same company, disclosed that placing the agents into action challenge her in keeping her job.

Estanislao, who started as an agent added that they tried everything in sorting out the problem of the customers. "We need to maintain our empathy if the customer is upset. They are pissed and upset not because of the representatives but to the products itself".

Both Geneta and Estanislao agreed that this job has given them the opportunity to enhance their skills and boost their confidence when it comes of interaction with their clients in a phone-to-phone conversation.

"Not to mention the financial aid that it gives to me and my family. I think this industry will continue to prosper in the succeeding years and it will continue to be one of the leading providers of career opportunities for Filipinos," Geneta further said.

It cannot be denied that outsourcing business is one of the most flavored industries in the Philippines and other Asian countries. It appears that contact center executives preferred this country because of the number of students produced every year, which can speak English in American way. As the third largest English-speaking country in Asia no doubt that business process outsourcing is in demand today.

BPO companies provides a state-of-the-art equipment in outsourcing their business in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. These companies trained their employees to speak like American way. In Unique Interaction, they provide fundamental call center training before the call center trainees will be allowed to take calls. The trainees has to learn account information first. Once they know the account then they are deployed ready on the floor and receive as many calls as they want. The company also teach their employees on how to handle their customers well. It is so hard to lose a customer, we know that they are considered as the lifeblood that gives full stream of support to make the company up and running and stay on the business for long.

The fact is call centers are part of the Philippine economic activity. Almost half of the 86.2 million people in the Philippines are younger than 20 years old. So don't be surprised if you will be able to meet supervisors, team leaders, managers below 25. This is because that call center has the fastest way of promoting a career development. If the agent is performing better and receiving good CSAT ratings then no doubt that within six months or less than, this certain employee is entitled to move to another level in his or her career path. The Philippines is also one of the potential factors for outsourcing. It has been also forecast by the XMG Inc., Manila-based research and advisory firm that the nation will surpass India by 2008 as home to the world's largest call center companies.

The Philippines offers attractive environment for the BPO companies, which is one of the key requirements by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) in applying for this business. Even now big contact center firms also expanded their centers not only in Manila but targeting the provincial levels. So it means, the revenues will not only take place within the National Capital Region (NCR) but it will also circulate to the provincial areas after passing the standard set by the Peza. Largest call centers are also found operating in Pampanga, Laguna and Baguio in Luzon; Bacolod, Cebu, Dumaguete and Iloilo in the Visayas; and Cagayan de Oro and Davao in Mindanao.

The Philippine Government is very supportive to this. Under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, she said that BPO companies will generate billions of pesos in the country with target by 2010. When it starts to operate in 2000, now off-shore call center industry estimates to employs 60,000 people. 

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