Call Center Mania! Please share your experiences

#1 Oct 1st, 2005, 19:40
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  • Frutiji is offline
#1
Forgive me for starting another thread on this but all the call center type threads I searched on were pretty cold and the one I did post on doesn't seem to be drawing any attention. Since the industry is growing and changing at warp speed I'm hoping to get some fresh news and advice on employment for expats in call centers and the like. Here's my story:

After 6 months in India I've decided I don't want the magic to ever end so what did I do...I started looking for work as an American voice, accent and culture trainer. It sounds like it could be fun and there aren't many other choices I'm aware of for expat employment in India.

I have no specific experience in the area but I made up some resumes and cover letters and hit MonsterIndia.com with a vengeance. In a few days I got some responses, a couple interviews in Bangalore, and voila! a couple job offers. One was for 40k a month plus perks (my asking price.) I held off because I'm not quite ready to commit yet, and I'm hoping to find a job that won't require night shifts. I only have a tourist visa, but nobody seemed too concerned. When my plane goes back in December, we figured I could just apply for the work visa and come back. Until then they can treat me as an independent contractor or something.

So I'm wondering if I can expect this kind of interest to continue indefinitley until I'm ready to choose the plum job, or should I grab while I can? What would a TEFL certificate or similar do for my marketability? Are night shifts avoidable for trainers? What are people doing this earning? Is it interesting exciting work, or is it just a sad and soulless rat race environment?

Any thoughts, advice, etc. would be really appreciated. Just hoping to get some fresh discussion going, especially from others who have been casting the same net.

Thanks,

Eddie
#2 Oct 1st, 2005, 21:45
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#2
This was covered pretty thoroughly in recent weeks.

Given that you don't have specific qualifications, that sounds like a pretty good job offer!

Don't miss the plum. But I do feel you're heading for trouble if you don't get a work visa sorted out.
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#3 Oct 1st, 2005, 22:40
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i briefly considered the idea but realized after a bit of investigation that it was not for me. for one thing it is full-time work, which i am allergic to . it also sounds like it could get pretty dull after awhile. as for working in bangalore i was told that there is a "compound" where the worker ants live, which totally turns me off. i'd want to live in the general population. i also have an issue with teaching indians to sound american. i just can't do that. the $$ sounded good to me too, but not for what i would have to sacrifice, my soul.

just my opinion.
Not all who wander are lost
#4 Oct 3rd, 2005, 04:29
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#4

Call Center Mania! Please share your experiences

I will be following this topic since I am actively looking for work in India both from here in the States and while I am in Delhi (again at the end of this month and early November).

So far, no offers. I thought I had an "inside track" at one place but because I am currently employed by a client of the company to which I applied, they cannot process my app. So, I am back to square one. I have about 35 "hits" from the Monster.com equivalent in India and will be applying over the next couple of days.

As to the concept of teaching "soft speaking skills": I am torn between the idea of teaching voice (English) skills and finding something different. My reasons for this are:

1. I hesitate to train someone to "lose their accent" because I feel this is totally unnecessary. If anything, it sends a message that the speaker being trained isn't "as good" as a native speaker. However, I can attest that I know many "native English speakers" whose use of the language is atrocious and have encoutered numerous people from other cultures/languages/countries whose English speaking skills are far superior to those of quite a few native speakers.

2. I would be very enthusiastic to teach non-English speakers in the ways of idioms, use of language, comprehension, culture, etc. In fact, I would think this is optimal since those same people on the phone will need to be able to communicate and not simply read from a script or undertake some other rote action. In fact, I have a friend who works with a BPO for a MNC in Delhi and recently helped him with correction of some information conveyed to him by his employer. He was told certain words were pronounced a certain way and I politely corrected this. Indeed, this is where I think being a native speaker would be beneficial to the call centers/BPO's.

Keep the responses coming -- I'm eagerly looking at any and all information on this subject as I am probably moving at the end of this month!!!! In fact, I may be posting on this very subject shortly. Bear with me, please.
#5 Oct 3rd, 2005, 05:43
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Rika, check out some of Rob_The_Pom's postings on this: you'll find you have a lot in common!

(Apologies: I'd search for the threads, but I'm too tired just now...)
#6 Oct 3rd, 2005, 05:51
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#6

Call Center Mania! Please share your experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H Rika, check out some of Rob_The_Pom's postings on this: you'll find you have a lot in common!

(Apologies: I'd search for the threads, but I'm too tired just now...)
No need to apologise, Nick ... I know the feeling well!

As for the thread, I actually found it and am glad to hear I am not alone in this sentiment. I'm not sure I view it as a "national preservation" sort of thing but rather, as a HUMAN INTERVENTION sort of thing. But, that's for ANOTHER thread. :P

Thanks!
#7 Oct 3rd, 2005, 07:28
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rika
1. I hesitate to train someone to "lose their accent" because I feel this is totally unnecessary. If anything, it sends a message that the speaker being trained isn't "as good" as a native speaker.
my sentiments exactly!
#8 Oct 3rd, 2005, 10:05
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Yeah, the issue of ethics has definitely been going through my head (and heart) when it comes to the BPO business. That's why I'm hoping to hear some people's personal accounts of what it's like inside in terms of environment. The people that have interviewed me so far have been quite mellow and human.

What intrigues me is that I love language and get a kick out of teaching and learning it at all levels, and this could be a chance to use that love to help me live in India....without formal qualifications. Also, coming from the retail sector myself, I see the customer service angle. These companies are providing a service that I could help them improve, pleasing them and their customers. And I'm not so sure these kids trying to talk American at work are losing their Indian identities, but I could be persuaded with some evidence one way or the other.

But still one big concern is what some of these corporations might have their hands in. I'd hate to be part of a machine that did things not in line with my ethics. Is it too idealistic to think this could work and still be right livelihood with any of these BPO's? Hard to think of other industries where I could work. Here's one though and it looks really cool: Cactus Communications/i-osmosis in Mumbai. I'm applying there and seeing where it goes too.

Okay....gotta catch my train to Nepal where I'll start my Buddhist Pilgrimage route. I'll try and keep checking on this thread along the way, but we'll see. Thanks everyone for the responses.
#9 Oct 3rd, 2005, 10:19
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#9
OP:
Take the job and keep if you like or switch if you don't.
They already have a high iteration (or is it atrition) rate!
- Try if you can let them do the leg work for visa.
I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle.
#10 Oct 3rd, 2005, 16:27
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Ethics? Indian business?

Hmm, I don't know, but I suspect there might be some sad disapointments there.

A country with such a vast pool of potential employees is unlikely to breed the best employers in the world.
#11 Oct 3rd, 2005, 18:00
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frutiji But still one big concern is what some of these corporations might have their hands in. I'd hate to be part of a machine that did things not in line with my ethics. Is it too idealistic to think this could work and still be right livelihood with any of these BPO's? Hard to think of other industries where I could work. Here's one though and it looks really Cactus Communications/i-osmosis in Mumbai. I'm applying there and seeing where it goes too.

Okay....gotta catch my train to Nepal where I'll start my Buddhist Pilgrimage route. I'll try and keep checking on this thread along the way, but we'll see. Thanks everyone for the responses.
It's interesting you mention the issue of ethics in the context of the BPOs but not in terms of businesses otherwise. Frankly, I've been so disillusioned by many aspects of "commerce" lately that I feel like a sellout at almost anything available. As a result, I'm tempted to simply try and get established to work on a consultancy basis rather than trying to do anything specific with a company.

Good luck with your efforts on this and have fun in Nepal!
#12 Oct 3rd, 2005, 20:28
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frutiji I have no specific experience in the area but I made up some resumes and cover letters and hit MonsterIndia.com with a vengeance. In a few days I got some responses, a couple interviews in Bangalore, and voila! a couple job offers. One was for 40k a month plus perks (my asking price.)
Frutiji, can you share the names of companies that offer this? And what are the perks?

When I was living in Bangalore a few months ago I met an Australian guy, who was working as an accent trainer in Bangalore. He was making around 60k. After awhile he went from accent training to giving HR/ corporate training (teamwork, etc.) and started making a lot more than that. So I think there ARE possibilities for foreigners to work in India and do more than just the accent training...but I believe it's a good start!
#13 Oct 3rd, 2005, 21:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Priyamav Frutiji, can you share the names of companies that offer this? And what are the perks?

When I was living in Bangalore a few months ago I met an Australian guy, who was working as an accent trainer in Bangalore. He was making around 60k. After awhile he went from accent training to giving HR/ corporate training (teamwork, etc.) and started making a lot more than that. So I think there ARE possibilities for foreigners to work in India and do more than just the accent training...but I believe it's a good start!
Thank you for your post ... I was about to ask the same thing. Even though I am looking at Delhi, I figure some of the same will apply to both places.
#14 Oct 5th, 2005, 21:17
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#14
If you do a search on Monster India with words like "Expat, call center, voice, accent, trainer," etc. you'll find the same company's I have. (I hesitate to broadcast the exact names of the company's I've talked to on this forum for some reason. It's not that I feel possessive about my leads so much as that this is a public forum and if I offered someone a job and they turned around and told everyone on Indiamike about the details I don't think I'd appreciate it.) Some of the perks were things like a week's vacation accruing each month, food and transportation allotments, relocation assistance. Maybe I could have bartered harder, I don't know.

Yeah, I guess I don't necessarily expect to find some groovy little small-time BPO that only has clients whose business practices pass stringent environmental and ethical standards, but I can dream. And maybe there's some middle ground?...Just maybe?...Hey what's so funny?

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