6 Advantages and Disadvantages of Working in a Call Center
From only a few hundred call center agents when it began, the Philippines now is home to thousands of call center agents. This exponential growth in the call center industry happened in a span of only a decade.
Nowadays, it is not unusual for you to see a hoard of applicants every day from early in the morning to late in the night in the top call center companies in the Philippines. But what attracts all these people to the call center industry? What advantages do these people see in working for call centers?
What are the advantages of being a call center agent?
In this blog post, I will be discussing the advantages of working for call centers. If you are one of the many people aspiring to get in the call center industry, then I fervently hope that this article will enlighten you and will deepen your understanding of the call center industry which you desire to be a part of.
First Advantage of Working in a Call Center: Higher Pay & No Discrimination
While there are certainly other industries that offer higher pay, none will offer a higher salary for entry level positions than the call center industry. Based on my experience, the lowest basic salary that call centers will give is twelve thousand pesos. However, call centers also give allowances such as rice, meal, clothing, and transportation allowance aside from the basic pay. Thus, on average, a call center agent will receive fifteen thousand pesos every month after taxes (take home pay). Of course, there are other call center companies that offer higher salaries.
If you are a college dropout, you will most probably have a very difficult time in looking for a job. Call centers, however, accept college drop outs. Some will hire you even if you only have a high school diploma and never went to college. However, most call centers look for two years of college in applicants. Age is also not a factor in the call center industry. While some occupations will have an age limit, there is none in the call center industry. In my experience, I have worked with people as young as eighteen and as old as sixty. In the call center industry, the only thing that matters is if you will be able to deliver.
Second Advantage of Working in a Call Center: No Traffic
The good thing about working nights is that I don’t have to put up with rush hour traffic. In the morning, when everyone is heading south (to Ayala, and Ortigas), you are heading the opposite direction and at nights when everyone is heading north, you are heading to the business districts of Ayala and Ortigas.
Third Advantage of Working in a Call Center: Full Benefits
Another big plus of working for call centers is the benefits. Some of the benefits that a call center agent gets are dental and health coverage. Dental coverage would normally consist of tooth extraction, prophylaxis (cleaning), and tooth fillings while health coverage inclusions would depend on the company but would normally consist of consultations, diagnostic procedures like X-Ray, vaccinations, and hospital room costs. Some call centers give health and dental coverage only upon regularization. Call Centers also pay SSS, PAG IBIG, and Phil Health from your very first day on the job. This is in complete contrast to companies in other industries that only make these payments upon regularization and some don’t even make them.
Fourth Advantage of Working in a Call Center: Low Work Volume
If you are a teacher, chances are after a hectic day at work, you still bring home work such as papers to grade and lesson plans to prepare. This never happens in a call center. During certain occasions, however, when you don’t get to end your shift at the usual time you end it because of a long call, you can almost always declare it as overtime and get paid accordingly. In some calls centers, an excess of one minute to your normal working schedule can be declared as over time already. In others, fifteen minutes is the minimum. Take note that this only applies to the rank and file employees.
Fifth Advantage of Working in a Call Center: Dress Code
Dress codes in call centers are very informal. If you encounter a call center agent on a Monday, he/she would probably be wearing jeans, a shirt, and rubber shoes. You probably wouldn’t even know that this person just came from work or is about to go to work. Some call centers even allow its employees to wear open shoes and short pants on Fridays. A few call centers though would require its employees to wear buttoned shirts and slacks but not business/corporate attires.
Sixth Advantage of Working in a Call Center: Prestige
Almost all call centers with international accounts are multinational companies. This is something worth bragging about. Since most call centers are big companies with deep pockets, you will most probably have a very nice office in business districts such as Ayala, Fort Bonifacio, Ortigas, and Eastwood and chances are you will be working with very popular and prestigious brand names like Microsoft, IBM, HSBC, JP Morgan, American Express, Travelocity, AT&T, etc. Call center offices are equipped with gyms, game rooms, sleeping quarters, and recreation rooms for employees to blow some steam and relax and pantries in these offices would come with drinks such as coffee, and chocolate.
Now you know what the rage is all about. These are the advantages of working in a call center and the reason you see a lot of people trying to get into call centers. Now it is time for you to decide whether these advantages are enough for you to want to be a part of that crowd applying in call centers. Whatever you decide, I sincerely hope you make the right decision.
You may have heard a lot of people putting down the call center profession. People in the industry though rebut by saying that people who put down call center agents are narrow minded people who aren’t able to get in the industry even though they are qualified to work in call centers (in paper). But then, putting aside the usual comments of people that call center work makes one dumb or that call centers are hotbeds of HIV, let us now look into the real disadvantages of working for a call center.
First Disadvantage of Working in a Call Center: Work schedule
The graveyard shift is the most difficult thing about working for a call center. We all know our bodies are made to function in the day and sleep at night. If you work for a call center, you have to adjust your schedule so that you work at night and sleep during the day. You also have to adjust your eating schedule so that you eat breakfast in the evening, lunch at midnight, and dinner in the morning. Sleeping in the day can become so difficult and frustrating when you have noisy neighbors. Then when weekend (or your rest days) comes, you go back to the normal sleeping time that is at night (unless you’re okay with not having a social life). Then when you go back to your work week again, you then need to readjust to the graveyard shift. All this adjustments will give you a feeling of jet lag and will sometimes wear your body down.
Second Disadvantage of Working in a Call Center: Rest Days
For most call centers, rest days are not every Saturdays and Sundays. This can be a real downer especially when you have a family or are living with your family, and everyone’s home on Saturdays and Sundays and you’re not. It is also not uncommon for you to have split days off (e.g.,. Saturday and Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, etc.). This can be a problem also since most of us are accustomed to having two consecutive days off.
Third Disadvantage of Working in a Call Center: Stress
Call center work can be very stressful. Whether you work for a customer service, sales, or technical service account, you will encounter heavy stress. This is part of the reason a lot of call center agents are smokers. The stress from call center work does not only come from the nature of the work, but it also comes from the culture of the customers that we deal with. American customers tend to be very demanding and impatient. You will encounter American customers who are very insistent on getting what they want and will go to the extent of talking to a supervisor just to get what they want. Because of our culture (as Filipinos), most of them will seem to be impolite and rude. Take note though that this behavior is normal in their culture.
You might also like to read these other related articles:
What is a Call Center?
How to make a Call Center Resume
How to Handle your very First Call in the Call Center
10 Last Minute Reminders for your Call Center Job Interview
Pros and Cons of Working in a Call Center
Do you need an accent when working in a call center?
14 Most Common Call Center Interview Questions and Answers
Fourth Disadvantage of Working in a Call Center: Monotonous Work
This is why most people say that call center work makes one dumb. Call center work is notoriously very repetitive and boring. At first, it will seem challenging at first, however after saying the same things and encountering the same scenarios over and over again, you would tend to become bored with your job. This is one of the reasons why some call center agents hop from one call center to another.
Fifth Disadvantage of Working in a Call Center: Too much change
One of the things that I dislike about working in a call center is the many changes that can happen around you. This is especially true if you are working in a relatively new account. Schedules also change regularly in call centers and a new schedule would normally mean a new team that comes with a new supervisor and new team mates. A new team every few weeks or so can be quite taxing on one’s social skills especially if you don’t have a lot of it.
Sixth Disadvantage of Working in a Call Center: You are an Avaya Slave
What is an Avaya slave? An Avaya slave is a term that I coined, and it refers to call center agents who are hooked up to their Avaya phones eight hours a day, and forty hours a week. If you are a government employee, a nurse, a teacher, or a bank teller, you would probably have an occasional chit chat with your employees. You also probably are not very conscious about your coffee breaks and bathroom breaks. During office hours, you probably have experienced stepping out of the office to run some errands like banking. All the things mentioned above are things that you won’t be able to do as a call center agent. As a call center agent your fifteen minute breaks are exactly fifteen minutes, you have to man your phone your entire shift, your bathroom breaks are also counted and limited, there is little chance for you to gossip with your office mates as you will be taking calls almost continuously, and there is absolutely no way for your boss to allow you to step out of the office during your shift. If you want to look at it very negatively, you can even say that a call center is run like a factory production line wherein your only rest is when you get off from work.
With this blog post, it is my wish for all aspiring call center agents out there to see the bigger picture and not to spread controversies or bad vibes. I sincerely hope that reading about the disadvantages of working in a call center will help you decide whether you really would like to enter the call center industry or not. Whatever your decision is, I hope that you make the correct one.
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