TO BPO OR NOT TO BPO: The Ultimate BPO Checklist Guide for Newbies
By: David Christopher Hizon
Zombies. Gravediggers. Nightwalkers. Avaya slaves. Phone junkies. Call center agents. We know them by a lot of names. We know them by their lifestyle. We even know them by stereotypes. Hip. High-class. Foreign accents. Party people. Social butterflies.
But what is it really to be a call center agent? Why is it such a booming trend?
Business process outsourcing, or BPO, is a fast growing industry in the Philippines. In 2011, the Philippines was the country with the highest number of employees at call centers – with about 400,000 people! Outsourcing – short for outside resourcing – involves the contracting or the use of outside resources and experts to handle specific processes and services within a business organization. It has become a very important tool for reducing costs and improving quality. If an organization does one or all of its work by itself, it may be a lot more taxing to the company’s pockets. Sometimes, it’s a lot cheaper to import resources, materials and goods from other countries than to make them – the same goes with manpower.
So how does it all work? Simple. A foreign company, usually called an account, signs a contract with a vendor, a contact center in the Philippines, to provide a service to either the account or to its customers – be it payroll, accounting, human resources, or the most common, customer service. Based on the contract, the vendor hires and provides the required number of heads needed, and the account provides skilled trainers to train the agents and to train more trainers locally to keep the business growing.
What then is it about this booming industry that everybody’s so attracted to? Literally hundreds and thousands of employees are interviewed everyday by call centers all over the Philippines. What makes this industry so irresistible? Is it something suited for just anybody? What skills do they usually look for? Is this line of business the best for somebody like you?
Let’s a have a quick look as to what this trade is all about – the works, the perks, the irks.
Competitive Salaries and Benefits Most call centers offer very high pay. This is a fact. A newbie in the business, without any work experience at all, may easily get P15,000.00 net on top of benefits and other awesome perks. Most call centers also offer loads of allowances and freebies to entice more applicants to join their company.
Perks: No matter what your previous work experience is, getting hired as a customer service representative usually entails higher-than-normal basic pay, allowances for rice, clothing, transportation or food, and guaranteed benefits such as night-differential and hazard pay for night-shift employees. Companies also usually offer free food and drinks such as free lunches and flowing coffee and drinks all-day everyday. Some accounts even provide free transportation to those nearby. Gift certificates are also a common sight in call center agent pockets as these are usually given out for free by their accounts as perks for doing an awesome job