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8 Call Center Reps Debunk The Industry's Most Talked About Myths

There's definitely more to it than just picking up the phone
by Justine Punzalan | Oct 24, 2018
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At least once in your life, you have probably picked up the phone in the wee hours of the night just to have a burger delivered to your doorstep. Or maybe your mobile bill might have skyrocketed, that you just had to dial the customer service hotline to have it fixed ASAP. One way or another, we've all had a personal encounter with a call center representative and the experiences range from five-star down to phone-slamming endings.

The Contact Center Association of the Philippines states that last 2017, “A record total of 1.2 million square meters of office space was added to the already growing land area occupied by call centers nationwide.” Growth has been extensive with the Philippines being the world’s number one outsourcing destination for call center agents this 2018. The industry is also expected to generate an income higher by seven to nine percent from last year’s 13 billion USD.

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Although the industry still seems to be on the rise, many are skeptical about the call center lifestyle because of the odd hours and unconventional working conditions. To clear us of doubts, here are eight call center reps who can attest to the perks of landing a job at a call center, busting common myths that have fueled the rumor mill for far too long. 

Renmark Aquino, 36

Loans Specialist

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Myth: Call centers are docks for backsliding job hunters.
Fact: There are a lot of licensed professionals who work in call centers by choice.

"My first job was at a call center in Ortigas. It was before I earned my license as a registered nurse. Years after that, I still choose to work in the call center industry. I have spent 12 years of my career here. It is where I find fulfillment and the job constantly boosts my confidence. Companies like the one I’m in reward hard-working employees with career and salary advancements. From being an agent, I was promoted as a trainer on both call center basics and product specs. And it is in growth like this that I am able to provide enough financial support for my family and myself."

Marbhen Paderes, 32

Technical Support Specialist

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Myth: Jobs at call centers are noddy work. All they have to do is pick up the phone.
Fact: Most agents have mastered multi-tasking so well, callers think all they do is pick up the phone.

"Little do people know that behind those telephone lines are agents who were trained to be very, very patient. We need that hefty amount of patience, so we could supply everything that our sometimes irate customer wants. The work can be beyond our knowledge, too. Some of us would explain bills and computations even if we’re not accountants. Others would repair software or gadgets even if they’re not IT graduates. All that while still sounding friendly over the phone. Quotas must be met on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis, too. And I’m thankful that as a result, this taught me to accept constructive criticism, build strength, and stay focused on my goals no matter what the situation may be."

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Brylle Quirante, 28

Lead Global Communications Trainer

Myth: There is no growth in call centers.
Fact: Opportunity can come to those who hustle hard.

"My first job was as a customer service representative for a telecommunications company in Cebu. Then, I was given the chance to handle my own team at a credit card servicing company in Makati. I flew back to Cebu after that and worked as a product-specific trainer for a prepaid card servicing company. And from there, I am now a lead communications trainer, managing my own team and training the company’s agents and officers. I'm not sure about you, but that definitely sounds like growth to me! And besides providing me with professional growth, my career in this industry develops my skills and wisdom in facing other challenges in life. The most significant lesson I learned so far is that: the first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge that it exists. It taught me to shift my energy in looking for solutions instead of dwelling on the problem. I apply this to my personal life up to this day."

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Gil Villacorte, 34

Learning Specialist

Myth: Call center agents tend to engage in casual sex with their colleagues.
Fact: If you’re a promiscuous person, any place is a place for you to meet up and hook-up.

"I am proud to say that in my 14 years of working in this industry, I've never had sex with anyone that I’ve worked with. I’m a firm believer in the saying, 'Don’t mess in your nest.' There will be times when a co-worker pops-in with inappropriate motives, but if you treat them as family or someone that you respect, it’ll be hard to screw them over just to scratch an itch. With the company I’m working with, for example, we hold team buildings and other extra-curricular activities that allow us to form a cordial yet professional bond with our colleagues."

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Dhon Samosa, 26

Agent

Myth: Call center agents are those rare, lucky dudes who don't have to beat traffic on their way to work.
Fact: Like you, many of us experience going to the office during rush hour.

"And when we say 'rush hour,' this is the time when everyone is storming home while we are just about to start our day. We, too, have to fight our way through the MRT, LRT, and buses. Some of us can’t afford to take a taxi or Grab to work. We are expected to log-in on time. If they say we have to log-in by 8:00 p.m., we need to be there at least 30 minutes to one hour prior, so we have ample time to set up the tools needed for our work. And this is what I also love about my job—it taught me to value time. We get paid here per call or per hour. Every minute spent away from the phone is less money earned."

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Mac Macasa, 36

Supervisor

Myth: Call center agents are fancy-pants yuppies who, in actuality, live paycheck-to-paycheck.
Fact: This varies per person.

"Like any job, working in a call center could either be short-term or long-term, depending on your work ethic and attitude. That’s why I keep telling my agents to always save the money they earn from their basic salary and commissions. Spending on expensive things is fine every once in a while, but make sure that when you do, you do it for yourself and not to impress others. What’s important is you know your reasons and you stick to your priorities. This has also been my practice as I grew with this industry. And I’m glad to say that it worked."

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Randy Angustia, 32

Learning Specialist

Myth: Call center agents live an unhealthy lifestyle.
Fact: We cannot deny that a lot of us consume too much unhealthy food and beverages, especially when stressed. Getting the right amount of rest is a challenge, too. But, the contact center industry has been taking the necessary action to alleviate this kind of lifestyle among its employees.

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"Our company launched a health-tracking mobile app where everyone on our team can keep a record of their daily activities. These activities are equivalent to points convertible to cash. The cash, in turn, will be donated to our chosen charity. Programs like these have been effective in instigating healthy living (and goodwill) amongst all of us. In fact, this inspired me to do fasting at least twice a year. My colleagues were influenced to do the same. And believe it or not, things as simple as these also strengthen the bond of our call center family."

Alex Sioco, 23

Agent

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Myth: Call center agents speak English well. They are probably from well-off families.
Fact: Call center agents come from different walks of life.

"The English language is never a sound basis for one’s history or achievements. There are some agents who are fluent in English but can't pronounce some words correctly. It's also not enough that we converse well in English. Like other jobs, the reason we earn above par is because we also strive hard to get our deliverables done. It’s about going the extra mile in building a relationship with our customers."

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