Nov 3
Webinar: Maximizing Your Success to Get a Job in the Industry

With the overwhelming emails and comments I’ve received since I posted the Call Center Agent Interview Questions article, I thought it would good to offer a series of webinars to answer your questions.

As a start, I will be conducting one this coming November 8, specifically for job seekers within the Philippines.  It will focus on the local recruitment process, the standard requirements expected of a call center agent applicant, and will touch on some of the common interview questions along with tips on how to answer them.

Call Center Job WebinarAs this is done online, there are no geographical constraints.  All you need is a computer with broadband Internet connection and a PC headset with a microphone.  Isn’t that cool? What makes it better is that it is for FREE.  So don’t worry about shelling out any money just to attend.

Though this is primarily for potential call center newbies, it is also open to those who are interested in knowing what recruitment practices are being done by centers in the Philippines.

You can register for the event here.  Looking forward to your attendance on Saturday!

Oct13
Call Center Philippines: Effects of the US Crisis

I was watching the daily news and heard that the government should prepare for possible US companies to pull out their investments in the outsourcing industry within the Philippines due to the current US financial crisis.

It caused a stir in the industry and my colleagues are in a bit of a panic.  Will it affect the agent’s jobs or is there going to be a major cut in middle management?  There are rumors of freeze in hiring expats in the country or at least setting a different expectation that they will get a local package instead.

Financial CrisisWith recent mergers and acquisitions such as PeopleSupport and Telus International (former Ambergris Solutions), there are a lot of speculations within the workforce.  Though the change in owners doesn’t necessarily mean it is even related to the current financial crisis. There are different opinions on this issue and only top management would really know.  But what is happening within the global companies and individual call centers being set up as we speak?

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Jul30
Foreign Executives Advise Us to Change our Culture

Filipino call center agents need to be pushier, execs say.”  This is what foreign executives are expecting from the workforce here in the Philippines.  They further comment on why they chose this country to outsource their business to --- the hospitable culture and how close we are to the USYet another thought crossed my mind. 

Who am I?Though this might work years ago when agents came from Ivy League schools, this is going to be more difficult now.  With the constant demand of more agents to answer the phones, gone are the days when one hires someone who is “pushier” or is familiar with the US culture.  The truth is most agents being hired now consist of those having hard core “hospitable” personalities. Changing how these agents think and act to serve an American customer will need more than 2 weeks of culture training.

Yet another through crossed my mind.  Though I agree one has to understand the client’s culture and learn how to adapt to the customers on the phone, great customer service or sales is technically being true to one’s self.  The technicality of knowing American facts can be helpful but it is within a person’s ability to be empowered to the right thing is what makes someone successful.

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Jul26
Survey: Call Center Seminar Series

My colleagues and I are planning a series of call center seminars sometime September or around October. I will need your opinion and request if you could answer the following questions. You can answer through here or can email me directly at callcenterscript at gmail dot com.

What is it in for you?  If you answer all the questions and your topic is included in the series, then you are entitled to a FREE seat in the seminar of your choice.  One session will take about 1-2 hours.

A Seminar SeriesSo who can join? Anyone in the world.  Since this is going to be done online and we will be inviting speakers to talk about their experience and you get to ask them your questions live, anyone can take advantage of it.  Here are the questions:

  1. If you were to attend the seminar, what topics would you be interested in?

  2. How much are you willing to pay for each session (1-2 hours each)?

  3. What is your preferred schedule for the sessions?

  4. What is the most convenient way for you to pay for the sessions?

  5. How long have you been in the call center industry?

  6. Why would you spend time to attend a call center seminar?

Don’t forget to include the following as well.

Feel free to let your colleagues and friends in the industry know about this opportunity.

Jul21
The Dilemma: How to Use Your 15 Minute Break Wisely

It’s your first break after a few hours on the phone and you only have 15 minutes!  Oh my! What a dilemma.  You want to just get out of your chair and do more than just stretch.  Are you hungry?  Are you a smoker?  Perhaps you want to check your personal email? Do you have time for a quick game or chat with a friend?  A quick nap would be nice too.  What do you do?

RelaxIt is obvious to say that it is dependent on your current situation.  But, let me give you some suggestions to make sure you feel you’ve used that break wisely.

Eat and Drink
Running out of energy and taking phone calls with a dry throat is a horrible feeling.  You can’t think straight.  You make mistakes often and it screws up your handling time.  So grab a bite at the cafeteria and refill your mug (spill proof please).


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Jul17
Training Bonds: Friend or Foe?

It is a strategy that most companies adopt to keep people in the company for at least 3 to 6 months.  This assures that training hours weren’t wasted and is a way to cut down “No Call No Shows” during this stage.   It is sometimes referred as a retention tool.  In spite of this, attrition numbers are continuously rising.

Let me out!The most common form of the training bond is having an employee sign an agreement stating that if they leave the company before “x” amount of time then they have to pay a nominated amount.  This is usually equivalent to the training costs that the company has invested.  A new one now is to hold a portion of one’s salary for a certain period; usually the time they want the employee to stay to recoup the costs.

This is only an advantage to the company and not the employee.  But then again, management would say, “Why complain? The fact they signed the papers, it meant they agreed to it.”  A valid point but doesn’t satisfy employees which eventually can hurt future referrals.


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Jul14
Interactive Language Technology from IBM

Language TechnologyIBM’s India Research Laboratory has a web-based software that initially was developed for a call center in India to raise its agent’s English proficiency.  The tool seems to be like a real time online game that makes learning more fun.  It gives out a score on pronunciation, grammar and comprehension.

As I’ve mentioned in my other post, technologies are out there to help someone be more proficient in English.  This is just one among many that are trying to bridge the communication skills gap, to make outsourcing more successful and viable.  As interesting as this seem to be, I will still rely on human interaction when it needs to evaluate comprehension and the thought process behind learning a new language.

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Jul10
Fellow Call Center Bloggers: Time to be Heard!

Hear Your Voice!In line with my continuous effort to provide different perspectives on the industry, I would like to reach out to the hundreds of fellow call center bloggers out there.   This will complement my Reader’s Corner segment focusing on what YOU have to say with a brief introduction and link to your site.  I will just pave the way.

Initially I’m thinking of highlighting one every month but depending on the turn out, I might be able to do this every week!  If you are interested in posting, here are some things you need to know:

  • Email me at callcenterscript at gmail dot com and send your topic of choice.

  • Include a brief description of yourself and how you are involved in the industry.  Don’t forget your blog link so it can be included in the introduction.

  • Send your article and keep it brief.

That’s it!  All I need to do now is schedule on when it will be posted.  I’ll email you back the link as soon as it is live.  If you’re not sure what to write about, I suggest you go through the categories in this blog and start from there.


Jul 8
IBM Technology: Protecting Call Center Recordings

IBM Research Labs have developed new technology to mask and protect private information captured by call centers.  It utilizes speech analytics to identify sensitive data that can only be accessed by authorized personnel.  Not only does it scan audio recordings but can also do so with recorded screen data.  Read full article here.

IBMSpeech analytics software has been around only recently and this development deployed in centers has its advantages other than security compliance.  For outsourced companies, including this in their wide array of customer solutions will get more clients in the door, especially those dealing in financial transactions.  It would also be easier to deploy sample recordings in training sessions or send to prospective clients when showcasing agent capabilities.  No need to worry about finding software to manually “bleep” customer’s account or credit number.

Jul 4
Guest Post: John Joseph on Top 5 Contact Center Tech Developments You Should Be Considering

Our guest blogger today is John Joseph, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Envox Worldwide. He manages worldwide marketing, including corporate and marketing communications, product management and marketing, and all 3rd party marketing for the company.

John JosephWith all the news out there it’s hard to decipher what’s important and what’s not. Nowhere is this more confusing than in the world of technology. As a call center manager you are faced with daily technology news updates, vendors calling to sell their latest products, agents complaining they need more automation and management looking over your shoulder to be sure expenses are managed while efficiency and productivity aren’t compromised.

Here are the Top 5 Tech Developments you should pay attention to:

#1: Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) - optimize contact center efficiency and personalize the customer experience by adding intelligent call routing, screen pop, call monitoring and click-to-call functionality to your contact center solution.

#2: VoIP - Internet telephony enabled by Voice over IP (VoIP) technology can lower corporate phone bills by as much as 40% and centralize your contact center operations for increased agility, streamlined management and more efficient use of staff.

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