Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), commonly known as Call Centers, has been a booming business since the 1960s. In the Philippines, it started back in 1992 when Frank Holz founded the first contact center. Since then, it grows tremendously in the country. In 2016, the Philippines BPO industry was to expand and produce 1.3 million new jobs!
Looking back in 2007, right after I graduated from my university, I was hired by an internationally acclaimed BPO company and started as an agent now called Consultant. I spent over eight years in the company and left as a Sr. Quality Specialist. During my years, I have learned remarkably and brought these professional core values up until today.
For some, working in call centers is a low-life job because all you need to do is to speak over the phone. Plus, there are multiple reported incidents that people working in call centers are wild party-goers, aggressive, and mostly choose the field because it’s a dead-end job. Call centers have the highest paying job you can get, especially when living in a developing country like the Philippines or India.
But, let me tell you that there’s more than the eye can meet on an ordinary table. Working in Call Centers is an excellent opportunity to grow professionally and personally! You will develop multiple skills that you can use not only at work but in life too! An article stated eight reasons why you should consider working in Call Centers.
- Work Anywhere
- Develop Communication Skills
- Learn How to Close Sales
- You Can Turn It Off
- Never Mundane
- Strong Compensation Package
- Advancement Path
An Aspiring Call Center Consultant? Here are Seven Useful Tips for you!
Okay Lounger! Let’s dig into them!
1. Practice the English Language
If English is your mother tongue, then it’s perfect! If it’s your second or third language, it would be quite difficult for you to pass the initial interview if you are not well prepared or comfortable speaking in English. English is the business language of most Call Centers. English is the way of living in Call Centers.
Your goal is to be comfortable and confident speaking in English. Plus, having a neutral accent that English speakers can understand over the phone, particularly people living in North America, is vital. To achieve these goals, you must practice, practice, and practice the English language!
Useful reads: English? Here’s How to Fix It
2. Practice Computer Fundamentals
While having fluent English communication skills is a must, that’s not the only qualification. You should have great computer fundamentals! You must at least familiarize yourself with how to navigate a desktop or a laptop. Here are some of the useful basics that you must know:
- Different kinds of browsers and usage
- How to clear cache, cookies, and history
- Excellent typing skills (You can practice using this website)
- Know-how of Microsoft Office, Google Office Apps, etc.
- Know-how of Outlook and or any email Apps
- Basic terms used in computers
- Essential short-cut keys like copy & paste, paste specials, shifting from one window to another, etc.
If you are an aspiring call center consultant, then you must add these to your bucket list to learn! I guarantee that these come highly useful all the time.
Plus, I would suggest practicing multitasking. It means listening while documenting. As a call center consultant, you generally have an average handling time for every call. You must also note everything that has transpired in your conversation while addressing the caller’s concern. So, it means that you should resolve the problem quickly and correctly inscribe the call for records.
3. Understand the USA Time Zones
Most of the Call Centers’ clients are from North America, particularly in the USA. It’s practical for you to understand the USA time zones. There are nine observes USA time zones:
- Atlantic Standard Time (AST)
- Eastern Standard Time (EST)
- Central Standard Time (CST)
- Mountain Standard Time (MST)
- Pacific Standard Time (PST)
- Alaska Standard Time (AKST)
- Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST)
- Samoa Standard Time
- Chamorro Standard Time
TIP: I recommend learning more about EST, CST, MST, and PST. There are also two types of time: Daylight Saving Time (DST) and Standard Time (ST). During DST, they practice advancing clocks during hotter months so that night falls later each day according to the clock. In contrast, ST is the available local time. ST usually starts on the first Sunday of November, while DST is on the second Sunday of March.
4. Understand the 50 States of the USA
It is practical to understand and familiarize yourself with the USA’s 50 States along the time zones. Here is a quick list of the 50 State Governments of the United States of America:
- Alabama (AL)
- Alaska (AK)
- Arizona (AZ)
- Arkansas (AR)
- California (CA)
- Colorado (CO)
- Connecticut (CT)
- Delaware (DE)
- Florida (FL)
- Georgia (GA)
- Hawaii (HI)
- Idaho (ID)
- Illinois (IL)
- Indiana (IN)
- Iowa (IA)
- Kansas (KS)
- Kentucky (KY)
- Louisiana (LA)
- Maine (ME)
- Maryland (MD)
- Massachusetts (MA)
- Michigan (MI)
- Minnesota (MN)
- Mississippi (MS)
- Missouri (MO)
- Montana (MT)
- Nebraska (NE)
- Nevada (NV)
- New Hampshire (NH)
- New Jersey (NJ)
- New Mexico (NM)
- New York (NY)
- North Carolina (NC)
- North Dakota (ND)
- Ohio (OH)
- Oklahoma (OK)
- Oregon (OR)
- Pennsylvania (PA)
- Rhode Island (RI)
- South Carolina (SC)
- South Dakota (SD)
- Tennessee (TN)
- Texas (TX)
- Utah (UT)
- Vermont (VT)
- Virginia (VA)
- Washington (WA)
- West Virginia (WV)
- Wisconsin (WI)
- Wyoming (WY)
In time, you will also get the chance to understand other country’s states and time zones such as in Canada, London, Australia, etc. Besides North America, you will have the opportunity to cater to clients from the EMEA territories (Europe, Middle-East, Africa) and APAC (Asia-Pacific).
5. Master how to control your emotions
Emotions are subjective states of mind. An article suggested that there are six types of basic emotions and have an effect on human behavior. These emotions are happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger, and surprise.
Call centers are fast-paced working environments. Every day there are product and process updates. Non-stop training, coaching, and multiple KPI’s are required to achieve to pass your metrics. Alongside answering phone calls of a minimum of 35-45 per day and talking non-stop over the phone to various types of customers is emotionally and physically exhausting.
There are various occasions that customers will shout, curse, or use profanity on you because of their frustrations about the service or company or whatever reasons maybe. If you do not know how to control your emotions and take all these from a business perspective, you will break-down. Plus, you would expect constant push and pressures from your supervisor and other superiors like the Quality, Training, or Manager-on-Duty when molding you.
Thus, if you are an aspiring call center consultant, you should master how to control your emotions.
Useful reads: 4 Secrets How to Control Anger
6. Master how to practice patience
Aside from controlling your emotions, one of the most valuable behavior you need to develop and master is patience—tolerance. Your ability to endure delay, obstacles, or stress without becoming annoyed or anxious is essential.
Again, call centers are fast-paced working environments. The stakes are high but so are the rewards! It’s vital to master how to practice patience to learn, cope up, and understand your working environment and build great rapport with your customers and colleagues too!
7. Master how to eat healthily
As you may already know, most of the call centers are 24/7. If you are located in Asia, the bigger chances of having a mid-shift or night-shift schedule are apparent. I experienced working 10-16 hours a day due to business needs. And to cope with the physical and mental exhaustion, I had to practice healthy eating habits. You need to learn to value your health over anything else.
Cautions! Common health problems you may experience; hence eating healthy and enough rest is required.
- High blood pressure: due to unhealthy food like pizza, burgers, fries, and constant smoking.
- Anemia: due to lack of sleep.
- Ear infection/acoustic shock: frequent use of a headset or sometimes using someone’s headset.
- Headaches: due to fatigue
- Panic attacks: due to angry customers, auto-fail scores, or highly critical mistakes
- Chronic stress: a high volume of workloads and deadlines
- Emotional exhaustion: again, this may cause by angry customers or disagreements among your peers.
- Urinary tract infections: due to lack of water.
Working as a Consultant in a call center is not an easy peasy. It requires excellent skill sets that can be quickly learned with the right amount of courage, enthusiasm, and determination. Working in a call center, in general, is fun, exciting, and challenging! It’s an excellent training ground for you to acquire supervisorial and managerial skill sets that you can use in due time. I know that I have given you kind of brutal sounding tips, but I guarantee that these are highly useful if you’re an aspiring call center consultant!
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