Planning on working for a contact center? Good decision. You'll be able to see yourself in a whole new light and gain a little more respect for yourself. But, do you really know what you're getting yourself into? Here are some facts and fallacies you may or may not already know which will probably help you gain some insight into the wonderful world of the contact center industry.
• Not all shifts in a contact center are 'graveyard.' Although choice is a luxury you may not have as of the moment, your schedule will depend on the time zone of the country you will be assigned to and whether or not you will be assigned to 'voice' or 'non-voice' support like email and chat (although chat requires real-time support).
• The quality of sleep you get during the day does not measure up to the quality of sleep you will get at night. Say what you will, but the reality is that the human body was NOT designed to work at nights and sleep during the day. Nonetheless, get used to it.
• Stress is no laughing matter. It is a reality and it affects everyone, no exemptions. Sadly the effects are sometimes more than just physical but also psychological. Long work hours, intermittent night shifts, high work targets, and loss of identity are just some of what a call center agent is to expect. The odd schedules and nature of work keeps people planted to their chairs 9 hours a day, reading scripted conversations repeatedly – more often to irate customers from all parts of the globe. Since we're all about facts, here's a sad reality: Every single second of an employee's time is recorded, measured and automatically logged onto a computer for praise or censure on a weekly basis. Even walking down to the water or coffee station for a drink and a chat with a friend can mess up your performance metrics, salaries, and benefits. It's just challenging to juggle listening, watching and talking - all at the same time. Left untreated or unresolved, the burnout can lead to repeated sickness absenteeism.
• The BPO industry is fully aware of these health issues and is doing their best to address it timely and properly. Call centers provide agents with sleeping quarters, recreation rooms, out-of-town activities with their respective teams, not to mention competitive compensation and benefits including health packages to address their health concerns.
• Contrary to some beliefs, drinking coffee may not be that beneficial for your performance during your shift. Caffeine is generally accepted as a mild diuretic which speeds up the urination process (meaning frequent bio-breaks), but at the same time depletes calcium which is lost through urine. Caffeine can dry out the mouth which would lead to difficulty in speaking (not to mention that nasty 'coffee breath').
• Smoking contributes to stress and in no way, shape or form is stress diminished from smoking.
• Being fashionable is an acceptable way of expressing yourself.
• BPO agents receive higher salaries and benefits, unfortunately for some, saving are an alien concept. Except for those agents supporting their families who're capable of sending bigger amount of money. There are still other things you'll discover in a call center that might shock you, surprise you, or even both. These are things you must discover without prejudice. Alongside the assurance of increased knowledge in both technical knowledge and soft-skills is culture enhancement. This means the manner on how you deal with inter-office politics and gossip, being able to deal with both the young and old, and most specially, being politically correct at all times so as not to offend the people in your office surroundings.
Contact Center – any 'call center' that offers not just 'voice' related services (answering services, order taking , appointment setting, etc) but also 'non-voice' services (chat and email support, postal mail catalogs, Web site inquiries, etc).