How To Survive Call Center Training

June 14, 2020 • written by

I got hired at a company previously known as West Contact Services in 2013.

At the end of 2015, Alorica purchased West Contact Services.

During our orientation, we discovered that we had three training stages.

The first stage is the new hire training.

The second stage is the product or account-specific training.

The final stage was OJT.

Basic Training Experience

During the first stage, we studied general topics that every call center agent should know.

The first thing that they taught us are the rules of the company.

Attendance violations are terminable offenses.

We had to follow EOP, which stands for English only policy.

We can no longer speak Tagalog inside the workplace.

I learned that “call avoidance behavior” like hanging up on the customer or intentionally transferring the call of my angry customer to another department can get me terminated.

I learned the word “malingering.”

Malinger means exaggerating or faking illness to escape work.

That can get me terminated.

Using profanity or raising my voice on the customer can get me terminated.

We learned about American culture, including what to do and what not to do during our conversations.

We learned that you should call an American by Mister or Miss, then their last name.

You are allowed to call them Mister or Miss Smith.

Or you may call them by their first name.

John.

That’s why I ask my students to call me Kevin.

We are NOT allowed to refer to our customers as Sir or Ma’am because that is a “Filipino” practice.

I wrote an article about calling people Sir and Ma’am here.

We reviewed US Geography and timezones so we won’t get confused during the conversations about dates and schedules.

We quickly went through units of measurement.

Americans don’t use kilometers and meters.

They use miles and yards.

Americans don’t use liters.

They use gallons and ounces.

We learned the necessary customer service skills.

Customer service is going beyond the expectations of the customer.

We are NEVER allowed to get angry at a customer.

Our job as professional customer service representatives is to help the customer.

We are also required to follow the rules set by our client.

If there is a conflict, it is your job to negotiate and find a solution that will make both the customer and your company happy.

You always have to think of a solution where all parties win, and everybody is happy.

We received a short brush up on our English, and we fixed a few common mistakes in speaking English.

We also received tips on how to speak better.

Finally, we got tips on how to survive the job.

We then knew what to do when we don’t know what to do.

That’s it.

For our training batch, there were 30 trainees.

People I Met at Training

Our class was composed of tenured call center agents from different companies.

Some of the people in our class were former team leaders or supervisors.

We have a co-trainee who’s a former professional chef.

We have a co-trainee who’s a licensed teacher.

We have a co-trainee who’s a former senior corporate employee.

We have a co-trainee who’s an IT professional.

We have a co-trainee who’s a licensed nurse.

There’s “mommy” who’s an actual mommy.

There’s Geboy, who’s a down to earth dad-type guy whose wife also worked in the company.

There’s Miko, who also worked in the company because his girlfriend referred him.

Miko’s pretty girlfriend often visited our classroom during breaks.

There’s Troy who said he was formerly a tambay in the province.

There’s Anton, who has a lot of call center experience who sat next to Troy.

There’s Eri, who’s the muse of our batch.

I got bullied by the other guys for getting Eri’s number first.

Eri got into a relationship with Enrico, the guy who dressed up as a Mexican rapper.

There’s Marielle who’s like a responsible ate.

There was Charlon Harvey, who told me the story of how he was gangster when he was younger.

Charlon Harvey told me he got to know Jesus and became a better person.

Carlon Harvey later borrowed money because he was “robbed” and never paid me back.

There was Gian Baylon, who also borrowed money she offered to pay me interest.

I declined the interest and told her just to pay me back.

Gian never paid me back.

There was Raj Russhel Ylannan, who claims to be a former team leader and borrowed money and gave me his ATM because his mother was terminally ill and at the hospital.

He never paid me back.

In 2019, I met his half-sister in an online freelancer group.

When she saw that my FB account is friends with Raj’s old account, the first question she asked me is if Raj owned me money.

I found out that Raj owes a lot of people money.

There was Zenneth Hizon, who’s a single mom who borrowed money and promised to pay me when we get our pay and never paid me back.

She left the company the week after she borrowed money from me.

There’s Aimz who had ten years of call center experience she got the highest pay because she already has ten years of experience.

There’s Jen, who’s a nurse and has a lot of experience but didn’t feel like she wanted to continue working in a call center.

Unlike me, Jen is friends with everyone in our training batch.

Jen warned me not to trust people in our batch because everyone I meet is only temporary.

Jen was the one who confirmed that the whole batch called me “munggo.”

I heard people calling me abnormal for dressing formally, for writing notes, and for repeatedly asking questions during training.

I was also eating lentils for lunch and didn’t join drinking sessions.

My food looks like “munggo,” so they called me munggo behind my back.

During the training, we lost five co-trainees because they were late multiple times or absent during training.

We lost three more in the final week of training.

This time, it is because of a combination of attendance and performance issues.

Product Specific or Account Training Experience

After passing the basic training, we went to product training.

The product training is all about our account.

We have gone through a lot of information about the company, the business that we’re in, the products and services that we offer, and eventually the job we are going to do and the tools that we’re going to use.

We spent the most time discussing the processes.

We did a lot of role-plays for customer service and tech support calls.

We also did a lot of simulations where we navigate the tools that we are going to use.

At this point, I realized that increasing my typing speed and memorizing the tools will become a GIANT advantage for this account.

We lost another three trainees at the end of this training stage.

There are 19 of us left at the end of product training.

Production Floor - On The Job Training Experience

The next step is OJT.

OJT means on the job training.

We will leave the classroom and go to the production floor.

The production floor is where the agents take the calls.

We began to take calls and talk to the customers.

We were supervised by both the trainer and our next team leader.

I got assigned to TL Gerry.

In the next couple of weeks, our number went down to eleven.

Nineteen people were gone.

We heard from the team leader that more people resigned or got terminated because of attendance violations.

I share the story of how I was almost terminated here.

Who Survived?

There were five of us who got regularized.

Unfortunately, the other two left the company shortly after the sixth month.

At the end of the first year, there were only three of us left.

I want to pause and, and I want you to think about what I just said.

Out of 30 people, only three survived.

The task only involves showing up on time, being attentive, following instructions, and giving your best to learn.

90% of people failed following simple instructions.

There were only three survivors.

There was Marielle.

There was Troy.

Then there’s Me.

Around the middle of year one, Marielle left the company.

Her foreign boyfriend became her husband, and they eventually left the country.

Close to my third year, Troy left after he won a fridge from the company raffle during the Christmas celebration.

I stayed a few more months.

In June of 2016, I left West Contact services and began working from home.

I started as a part-time article writer.

Then I got a more steady job as a virtual assistant.

I eventually got promoted as a Project Manager.

But that’s for another story.

Thank you for reading this far and thank you for your attention.

If you made it this far, you should introduce yourself.

I am praying for your success. God bless!

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