10 Tips To Help You Survive the Call Center Industry

You’ve tried to land a job in the call center industry and finally, after so many attempts, you got in. Is it time to celebrate? No. You’re not out of the woods yet. As a first timer in the call center industry, the first six months up to the first year of your work is your break-in period. Some people are able to adjust easily, quite a few, however, fail to survive.

Now that you got in, the next item in the agenda is to survive. The question is how, right? Here are a few things I’ve gathered over the years.

1. Get away from complainers and people who give bad advice.

These are the tenured call center employees whose first reaction to everything is negative – from their work schedule, their pay, their scorecard, their team leader, the company, and overall, their job. They’re not hard to spot really. A classic sign of this is their attendance record. You can also check their habit and mannerisms when taking calls – do they bang the mouse a lot? Curse a lot when the customer cannot understand them?  Choose the people you hang out with carefully.

2. Talk to your Manager/Team Leader.

Never shy away from conversations with your manager, in fact, you should be the one to start it. Understand the kind of person your manager is, how he thinks, what irks him, what’s good and bad in his book, and ask him what his expectations are from his agents. More importantly, ASK YOUR MANAGER FOR GUIDANCE. Don’t wait for a coaching session to ask him this. Right now, ask him if he has a minute, then tell him this: “Sir, I am a first timer in the call center industry and I while love the work, there are a lot of things I need to learn. I want to succeed, to reach the level you’ve achieved and I can’t do it alone. I  would like to ask for your guidance.”

3. Learn everything that you need to learn.

This may sound too general, but there’s a gem to it. From the moment you enter the company, everything you need to do is to learn – about the product, process, systems, customer service, call handling, scorecard, the company culture, policies and procedures. Your learning doesn’t stop. The problem begins when you do “blind” learning – learning without direction or when you learn by necessity, meaning, you learn because you need to but you’re not really interested. Learning needs to have direction, a goal, and ultimately, it needs to level up. This means that once you have mastered your job and everything around it, you need to learn the next level. Ultimately, you will reach a point where you need to learn about leadership and management.

4. Be different.

Admit it or not, you are surrounded by people whose goal is just to get by (I login, then logout), just to get paid, or worst, you are probably surrounded by job hoppers – people who have been in this industry for so long and all they do is to find out which company offers a higher pay. This is where you can be different. What this industry needs are more game changers. People who are goal-oriented, whose direction is to achieve growth in their career via tenure. It’s so easy to leave the company and jump to the next – BE DIFFERENT. Do something more challenging – STAY. Not only does this benefit your learning and your career, it also provides –  I am a firm believer that if you work for the career, money and fulfillment follows.

5. Perception management.

Always remember this: right from the day you start-up to the day you resign or retire, you will be watched and listened to. What you say, what you do, how you resolve issues with people and work, your professionalism, your attitude and behavior, (your contribution or lack thereof) and how you speak will never escape the critical minds of your leaders. Your daily interaction with them will form part of how you manage  their perception of you. Speak like a complainer and you will be last in their priority, but speak like you are a part of the solution and they consult with you first. Consider these two examples: “Ano ba yan, kasalanan ba nating mga agent kung humahaba ang AHT, eh an bobobo ng mga customers?” and “Boss, I’ve noticed that the AHT is taking a hit, and as a member of the team, I am very concerned. Is there anything I can do to help?” The trick is simple: be a part in finding the solution, don’t be a part of the problem.

8. Motivate yourself

What makes you wake up in the morning, go through horrendous traffic, do the work day in and day out, then go home tired and sleepy? If you’re able to answer this straight with an inspiring reason, then you have a great motivation. If you paused for a long time or says “That’s a good question”, then you have a problem. Motivation is an important aspect of your work, without it, you will have no direction, desire, joy, satisfaction, and you will find yourself in an endless state of emptiness. Motivation is the wind that blows the sails of your ship and motivation gives you that extra energy to navigate the most difficult part of your career . It’s the one that tells you to keep going when everything or everyone is telling you to quit.

9. Take things personally.

And by this, I mean be accountable for the things that you do and are responsible for. When you take things personally, the first thing you do when there is a problem is to ask yourself “what have I done that may have contributed to this problem?” Then, you follow it up with “What can I do to improve myself to make sure this will not happen again?” Taking things personally allows you to grow, to improve your skills and competencies, and it gives you direction. When the caller is irate, take things personally – that is, “how can I help this customer resolve the issue? This way, not only will he be happy, I will shorten my AHT, handle the case with efficiency and effectiveness, and have a positive result on my CSAT.”

10. Don’t be a HONDA

A HONDA is the term they use for people who logs out ON THE DOT, they have no reason to linger because for them, work is a confinement, therefore, the top of the hour spells freedom. People with direction, with motivation, and with a dream for a career stays a little longer – to help a colleague who is having trouble with his stats, to chat with the bosses, to ask his/her Team Lead if there is anything he can do to help, to confide with his manager about issues, or simply, to relish another successful and productive day. He stays because he finds joy in the confines of his work.

Finally, here’s the real point of this article: agree with me or not, the word “survival” is used for or by people who are in a wrong place, situation or time, hence, the need for “survival tips”. If this is your case, you need to think deep about your situation.  Not being able to embrace your present reality spells trouble in the long-term. If you are new in the call center industry and you feel the need to survive, a change of perception is much-needed. If you have been in the call center industry for more than a year and are still trying to survive, my question is “why?”

Got any more tips? Don’t forget to leave a comment.




When you are offered a job you don’t want…

I’ve received a lot of question related to them being evaluated for a post which is different from what they applied for. Case in point, James applied for a back office account but was evaluated and offered a job for an inbound customer service account. Another candidate, Amiel was applying for the email account but was endorsed to an outbound collections account. Why does this happen? What can you do to avoid it?

1. Remember that a recruiter is a match maker. He/she has several accounts he/she is evaluating you for and his/her priority is to put you in an account which he/she thinks best fits you based on the skills and competencies you have.

2. Remember to read about the company’s accounts/business units. You need to make the recruiter understand that you are applying for a VERY SPECIFIC position and that you should be evaluated for it. Make him/her aware that you know they have other accounts and that you are comfortable with the account/queue you are applying for. You need to say this in a friendly and professional way, that is, if you have the courage. Remember that  YOU ARE BEING EVALUATED, say this only if you are willing to waste time, money, effort, and opportunity and that your need for the job is not paramount. If you are the type who REALLY needs a job, then why be choosy?

3. Learn how to holistically evaluate a job offer. It’s not just about the basic salary, it’s about establishing a career so you can have the money you are aiming for. Keep an open mind when the recruiter tells you that you are qualified for a different queue and will be evaluated for such. When you pass and are being offered a job, take a look at the culture of the company, the opportunities for promotion or side-movement (growth is not just up you know), the job itself, the company mission and vision, the basic pay, the health and welfare package, employee engagement, etc. If you need a day to decide, tell the recruiter. Be professional enough to call the recruiter the following day to advise him/her of your decision.

There are several reasons why you are not being offered the job you are gunning for:

1. You are not qualified for it.

2. You are over-qualified.

3. Your asking is too high.

4. No more vacancy.

5. You are fit for another account.

Only accept a job that you think will be beneficial for you IN THE LONG RUN (not just because you need to get paid ASAP). When you take on a job, you goal is not just to get paid but to develop a career, to look at retirement, and if the job isn’t something you know too well you will not like, there is no point in accepting it. If you decide to accept a job because napipilitan ka at kailangan mo talaga, learn to love that job by removing the mindset that the job is temporary. It’s really all about mindset. It’s also about being able to discipline yourself to be loyal to the company you work for.


Hope this helps.