Call Center Basics

March 28, 2018 • written by

Welcome to Call Center Training Tips

This page contains everything you need to know if you are new at working in a call center.

I also have a video version of this page. Please scroll to the bottom to watch the video.

In this page we will answer the following questions:

What is a Call Center?

Wikipedia says:A call centre or call center is a centralised office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. A call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing, clientele, product services, and debt collection are also made.

That’s true. The real question is:

What the is a call center for me?

For different people there are different answers.

But that’s not who I wrote this blog for.

The call center is in no way the prefect solution. I myself am not currently employed in one. The pay is pretty okay and the shifts vary and you may like it or not like it depending on your lifestyle. I present it as a stepping stone to other opportunities like:

What is a call center for you?

Trivia: One of the most common messages that we receive is “Hi I want to be a call center, can you give me some tips”

What is BPO?

One question we often get asked is what is a BPO and how is it related to call center work.

In this post we will discuss what a BPO is and how knowing about it can help increase your chances of getting hired in a call center.

Understanding what a BPO is will enable you to understand what kind of job you are getting in to and as a result you can prepare better.

BPO stands for business process outsourcing.

A business process is simply a seriece of steps necessary to the survival of the business.

Example of business processes include:

Outsourcing is asking someone to do something for you and paying them for it. You outsource something because:

We outsource tasks regularly.

Business process outsourcing is the same as outsourcing our tasks, except they’re outsourcing business processes. Almost any business process can be outsourced. Here are common outsourced business processes in a call center.

These are the top three. A lot of Call Center Jobs are in these three fields. There are more but you’ll find out about that later.

Was I able to explain this part clearly?

What is a call center account?

I often get asked “What is a call center account?”

If you’re new to the call center or BPO industry it is one of the first few call center words that you will learn about.

In this short post we will discuss what a call center account is.

When you get hired in a call center, you will be doing work for your call center but you will also work for your account.

The call center account is “the client” that your call center company is serving.

Several companies who offer call center related work do not do outsourced work for their mother company. Many companies serve other companies and offer business process outsourcing ( ie call center related) work for them. An account is who the call center does business for or in other words the company you will be representing once you start to work there.

Here’s an example:

Say, you work as a customer service representative for a call center company called Sitel and their account is Apple Computers then when you answer your phone, you say “Thank you for calling Apple Computers!” instead of “Thank you for calling Sitel”. You are not employed by Apple Computer but you represent apple computer because they are your employer’s client.When you work in a call center, the company you represent to the end consumer is not always the same as your employer.

So remember:

In a call center, Account means your employer’s client that you represent.

What is inbound and what is outbound?

A call center makes and takes calls. Inbound and Outbound refers to the direction of the calls.

There are both inbound and outbound calls to different business processes. Here are some examples:

Will I get assigned to an inbound or outbound account?

I don’t know. It usually depends on what account is urgent, available and matches your profile. It also varies from company to company. Do you want an inbound based call center job or outbound based call center job?

What is B2B and what is B2C?

B2B

Business to business means your work involves offering or servicing other businesses as a primary activity. You are talking to business owners or employees of other companies.

B2C

Business to customer means your work involves offering or servicing customers or your company or client’s comany as your primary activity. You are talking directly to the customers.

Which is better? It depends. B2B is often more predictable but requires a higher skill level as far as English, communication skills and professionalism goes.

Common Call Center Jobs: (Customer Service, Sales And Tech Support)

There are a lot of different business processes being outsourced in the Philippines. Call center companies receive outsourcing requests and projects from multinational companies abroad and from small and medium enterprises.

Locally, call center companies are starting to accept call center projects from local companies and some local companies are now putting up their own internal call centers.

Call Center Jobs are solutions to problems so if you would like to accept a call center job you must first understand that you are providing solutions to a problem. At times it will be uncomfortable (at first) or stressful (if you’re not doing it correctly) but that’s why they pay you.

As professionals we are paid to solve problems. What we can do to improve the situation is to try to improve ourselves bit by bit.

Here’s a short list of the most common call center jobs in the Philippines:

I personally believe that it’s a good idea to learn a bit about the three roles because one skill would complement the other. I might write about that in the future. Remember that these jobs can be both inbound or outbound. There are more but these are what we’re going to talk about in detail on the next post. What kind of Call Center Job would you want?

Call Center Job Application Requirements

The call center industry is an equal opportunity employer.

Recruiters working for call centers don’t care if you’re tall, short, fat, thin, rich or poor or whatever.

As long as you pass the call center job application requirements, you will get hired.

Call center hiring managers are only interested if you can get the job done.

If you can prove in a call center interview that you can do the work, you are guaranteed to land a job at the company.

That’s all you need to remember about getting hired in a call center.

Call Center Job Application Requirements:

Conversational English Skills.

Having good communication skills are required for the job.

You’ll be talking mostly in English so you better polish up this skill.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. You will be reading from a script most of the time.

Your English just needs to be good enough for small talk, asking questions, explaining your process, giving directions, and telling short stories.

Avoid making pronunciation errors like B and V, P and F, and finally TH sounds. We have several exercises on this call center tips blog.

You can check out the top 100 used words in the English Language and check your pronunciation.

Practice with a friend who works in a call center or is good at speaking in English.

Think in English so you don’t need to translate before you speak. Read in English, Write in English, Pray in English and Speak in English whenver you can. The more you do this the easier it is for you.

Speaking in English is like growing a muscle. More exercise, more growth.

Willing to work night shifts and graveyard shifts.

Many call center companies work for clients in the United States.

The usual work schedule is the opposite of Philippine Time.

When I worked in a Call Center we followed, Eastern Standart Time. Some of the shifts I’ve taken starts at 8pm, 1am, 2am and 4am Manila time.

It’s a little difficult to adjust to.

As long as you have discipline and you can say no to distractions and invitations this shouldn’t be a problem.

Leave the house and arrive at your workplace an hour earlier if you haven’t done so yet.

Can start immediately.

Call Center companies want to hire agents immediately.

Despite the advantages, A lot of people quit call center work. Some for personal reasons and some for better job offers.

That said reputable call center companies are always hiring and they need to hire agents immediately.

They want a call center agent who can start as soon as they can because call center recruiters have deadlines to fill with their accounts with a specific number of agents. An unfilled position is bad for their business so they want to hire agents fast.

18 years old up to around 50plus.

There doesn’t seem to be a limit when it comes to age requirements.

You might feel you’re too young or too old but like I said, you can prove to your interviewere that you can do the job, you are good as hired.

Can use a computer.

Technical skills are an advantage but just so you don’t get confused, call center companies don’t require you to be really good with a computer.

You just need to navigate or know how to use one.

Basic Computer Skills Required for a Call Center Agent Position:

Most of the time, you’ll be working from a phone line attached to a computer.

High School Graduate and up

Several reputable call center companies that I know are open to hiring high school graduates and people who didn’t finish college.

There are some call center companies that require two years or a degree because of client requirements but there aren’t a lot of them.

Sometimes the college requirement can be bypassed by call center experience with US or UK clients and working in a difficult account.

A college education isn’t as big of a deal today than it did in the past so it shouldn’t be an obstacle to you getting hired in a call center.

Many of my friends used call center companies as an income source to pay for college so that option is available for you. Just don’t tell them you plan to work while studying. If your interviewer asks about it tell them you need to save money then after one to two years you might be taking classes.

Here are the requirements to getting hired in a call center.

Whatever else you have to offer is a plus.

What kind of computer skills are required in a call center?

Depending on what kind of call center work you’ll be doing computer skills are important. Forget that, computer skills are a basic skill in life right now. A lot of people I got to talk to tell me that they do not have computer skills or aren’t computer literate. When I asked further questions, I found out the opposite to be true. So instead of writing about the required call center computer skills, I’ll just ask you a few questions to determine your computer skill level. Are you cool with that?Great! Like you have a choice.

Congratulations you’re computer literate. Advanced questions:

Very good. You’re knowledgeable with computers.

I’m not playing with you. That’s all you need to know about computers. Some companies will require that you can type around 20-30 words per minute (sometimes, more) but that can be learned. There are games for that. Go to Google and search. Free typing games or typing tests. I prefer typing games over the serious ones. It’s as boring as hell.

You can also increase your typing speed if you write a blog. I now have a typing speed of close to 40wpm because I want to type faster so I can just type my thoughts on the blog post as if I were just dictating it. It does take some time though.

Where did this fear come from?

Some people are just too lazy to learn and they make excuses.

The other honest mistake is that they believe that someone who’s good with computers is someone who can tear open a computer and put it back together or do programming and other stuff like that. That’s not what call centers need.

Call center companies need someone who can answer the phone and type in some information on the computer. They need you know basic stuff like where the keys are. Maybe copying and pasting text and stuff like that. Do you understand? Good.

How long is the job application process?

Many call center companies follow a one day process when it comes to processing their applicants. This means you can already find out if you pass or fail within the same day. That”s a good thing because you would know when it”s time to move on to the next one.

If you fail the best thing to do is to move on to the next one. Don’t forget to write down the lessons on your notebook though. That’s what you need to to keep going.

Failure is part of the process. You want success you need to collect lessons from failure.

A one day process can mean anything. If you start in the morning the longest you can stay in the process is maybe in the evening already. Maybe if you start in the afternoon then you will end up in late at night or the next day already.

The longer they let you stay the better. That means you are moving forward with the process. Don”t forget to ask your interviewer or proctor for tips for the next step.

I hope you do well.

Pre Employment Checklist

When you look for work, aside from passing interview and exams you’ll need to submit some pre emp

Pre employment requirments are a common chore that needs to be done to finalize your job hunting process. Items in a pre-employment checklist are often standard for most call centers and most jobs I’ve applied in. In case it’s your first time to apply, or it’s your first time to apply in a long time here are some of the documents that you’d like to prepare in advance. I took this list from a couple of my past employers. I found some lists as I was cleaning up.

Primary requirements are often required immediately (usually the same week or the week) after hire date.

These are the Call Center Pre Employment Requirements in the Philippines

SSS Document E-1 / E-4 /E-6 dully received by SSS.

Any printout that came from SSS and has their full Name, SSS Number and Birthdate.

You can visit the SSS website to obtain this.

TIN Document.

Previous ITR/BIR 2316 or Stamped/Received BIR 1905/BIT 1902/ BIR2305.

You may visit BIR for more information.

NBI Clearance (original copy) .

In some situations you can get this same day and in other situations they require you to return after three days or so.

I recommend paying the extra 100 pesos to have it delivered. It will often cost you more than Php 200 if you’ll go back to just pick it up.

Police Clearance (original copy).

You just need to visit a nearby police station to obtain this.

Medical Exam.

This is often provided for free when you apply at reputable call centers. Just ask the HR for details. Pick up your stool and urine container and enjoy the experience.

Photocopy of ID’s.

Whenever you’re submitting photocopy be sure to include both front and back of the ID.

Samples of Primary ID’s include:

Samples of secondary Pre Employment requirements include.

Submit your information if you have any.

Birth Certificate.

I ordered mine online for 300 pesos I think.

Please visit the NSO website to order.

Dependent’s Birth Certificate

If you have the records on hand just submit.

If you don’t have any just order from NSO.

Certificate of Employment.

You can obtain this from the HR of your previous employer.

Tax Withheld Form/ITR.

For more information visit the BIR website.

1x1 or 2x2 photos.

I get mine from Tronix all the time. It’s less than Php 80 pesos and you can find it at almost any SM or mall.

Some Technical Terms BIR 1902 form

For TIN application. You’ll need to speak to the HR if you still don’t have a TIN number so you can register online. BIR 1905 form. to transfer your records from your previous RDO to the current employer’s RDO. BIR 2305 form.

To update your employer information and tax status.

Some notes:

When you look for work here are some requirements that you need to obtain and submit. I would encourage you to review the list so you can review the cost or the amount you need to prepare for your job application.

I recommend getting a job offer before worrying about this.

I often save about Php 3,000 extra on top of my job hunting expenses to pay for requirements so I don’t get pressed for money whenever I need to switch.

If you’re looking for required skills in getting hired in a call center please visit this link.

Often you’ll be asked to undergo pre-employment medical examinations and the good call center companies will cover the expenses. You will also need secure your Philhealth MDR as well.

Requirements vary from company to company however these are the common minimum requirements. Please inquire with your local HR for

Failure often leads to:

Don’t sweat it just google “how to get (insert requirement)” and you’ll find a site that has instructions. If you’ve ever taken a job with a company before, chances are you have undergone this process already.

I wish you the best in your job hunt.

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