BPO, or business process outsourcing, is a rapidly expanding industry that is also rapidly proliferating in the Philippines, as countries in the West realize how much cost efficient it can be to hire individuals from third world areas. Call center agents are no doubt growing in number as more appreciate the many benefits that come with the occupation.
The job requires a range of skills covering a variety of industries, such as customer service and care, technical support, education, billing, travel services and others. The Philippines is considered by many as one of the best places for call centers because of its high literacy rate (Filipino workers are fluent in American English) and low labor and overhead expenses.
Advantages of a Call Center Agent Job
Many in the Philippines work as call center agents. Who wouldn’t? The starting rate is above the national salary average.
- People initially earn anywhere from P8,000 to P15,000 in an entry level position, depending on the company and location. Those in managerial positions can have salary increases ranging from P20,000 to P40,000.
- Some call center agents can also earn commissions on top of their basic pay, especially if their job particularly focuses on sales.
- There are HMO plans provided to employees that will cover their medical needs. Others are also given annual or mid-year bonuses, plus other free packages like meals, transportation allowance, night differentials and subsidies.
- With the call center business expected to grow continuously in the next several years, many would-be members of the workforce can be assured that they have long term opportunities available the moment they step out of college.
The Disadvantages of Being a Call Center Agent
The work hours are one of the biggest drawbacks of working in a call center.
- People have to adjust to working at night to cater to clients from the West or in another timezone. In the long run, working graveyard shifts can take a toll on your health and body.
- You will also be dealing with different types of clients, who have different orientations and backgrounds. It is common to have distraught or disrespectful clients to communicate with every now and then.
- There is also the possibility of not getting promoted for several months or even years because the job description does not really shift, unless you are promoted. It is not uncommon for some individuals to have been working as call center agents for many years.
- Since the industry heavily depends on overseas clients, the fate of workers is at the mercy of economic conditions. When economy is down, call center agents, like everyone else, are subject to layoffs or experience freeze in benefits.
- Same as previous item, politics can also play a role in determining the stability of a call center agent job and BPO as a whole. When President Barack Obama raised the issue about keeping call center jobs in the United States, offshore companies must have felt threatened.
Those who are considering getting a job in a call center should find a reliable and reputable company. This is to ensure that your pay comes on time and that your benefits are, indeed, received. But also be aware that with health issues involved, many call center agents want to leave their jobs to work abroad and become OFWs.
Talk to others who have been in the business for a long time to gain insight on the type of environment you will be facing and the lifestyle you will be adopting. Ask about their personal experiences and take note of the key traits that will lead to long term success in this type of industry.
There are several institutions that offer pre-training programs to those who are interested in making a career out of the call center industry. The trick really is to constantly update your skills to remain an asset to the company and to hone your communication prowess to stay on top the game.