What people DO NOT understand about being a call center agent

Jun 30, 2014 //
I am a former employee of a BPO Company (Sykes Asia) and I’m Technical Support Representative for an IT company specializing in software - Natural Language Processing & Understanding (NLP/NLU) which develops speech recognition technology. We usually troubleshoot and INSTALL the program via phone by giving instructions (not via team viewer/remote access). I would like to share to you things that may not be familiar to you regarding working in a Call Center.

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1. BPO Companies provide great benefits (Even if you’re an entry level applicant)

  • Exciting discounts to the company’s partner establishments by just presenting your ID.  You may get discounts, freebies and other great deals in various restaurants, coffee shops (most BPO agents love coffee!), wellness center (Gym!) and other establishments.

  • Government Benefits: Pag-IBIG, 13th Month Pay, Magna Carta, Paternity Leave, Philhealth Insurance, SSS, Employee Compensation

  • Company granted benefits: Vacation Leave, Sick Leave, Birthday Leave, Hazard Pay, Study Assistance,
  • Allowance: Meal, Transportation, Overtime, Language, Certification, Tenure, Technical, Performance
In Sykes, they have Sykes CAFE - You may design your own flexible program about what type of benefit you want depending in your lifestyle.

 2. Meet SLAs

SLA (Service Level Agreement) is a contract between the BPO and the client and a service provider. We always make sure we met our SLAs every day.

  • ACW (After Call Work) - we have max of 2 minutes to write down all the notes and necessary details of the transaction, After the 2 min ACW, We need to take the next call.
 3. Queuing and “IDLE”

We value every minute of our time. Those queuing moments during the shift makes me think “Get ready to the war!” (Especially those days in December wherein we got a lot of customers - Christmas Season… gift-giving?). Idle moments make me think “I hope to be with you till the end of my shift” but of course it’s impossible

 4. Be nice to customer and earn their respect and attention.

We need to win over a difficult customer. I always accept my responsibility once I already got a call. We need to care about getting the issue fix. We’re trained to show empathy to every customer which is very important - and at the same time we still stick to the business process. I wouldn’t like to end a call having unsatisfied customer or with unsolved issue.

 5. We ONLY speak the ‘language’ with the ‘tone’ during work hours (usually).

6. Limited access to the Internet

No social media sites. (We’ll I’m fine reading the news, blogs and Pinterest too!)

 7. Taking Customer data and reading it back? - Especially NAMES

I always DECIPHER or spell the names in phonetics. Even phonetic spelling of a difficult-to-pronounce name doesn’t always fix this issue. It seemed to be a tongue twister for me.

Try “Vasanthakumar" or "Gonvindaraju”

- It usually consumes my handling time for short inquiry calls.

 8. Feel at home and enjoy your break

BPO companies are not like your average companies. During break time, we can spend lunch inside the pantry and watch movies, sit on those comfy sofas, unlimited coffee, sleeping quarter,


9. Appreciate how important those last minutes of your shift

Those last minutes of your shift will tell you if you’ll have overtime or not. I experienced before I got an incoming call during my last minute of shift. The call took more than 30 minutes. 

My official entry for Sykes E-Recruitment Site

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