I was actually in a dilemna if I should post this article since I also came from the BPO industry and lasted for almost four years.  Some years back, the call center industry was shaken by an agent named "Cathy" hailing from a local call center that hurled a slew of invectives against a very frustrated DSL client.   People were aghast and shocked on how this particular lady agent treated the customer without an ounce of civility.  Unfortunately, an insider leaked this recording and it made Filipinos question the standard of customer service between countrymen with such uncouth and unsupervised behavior. WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE!

....and then there was that very engaging and desperate phone call of a Filipina located somewhere in the Philippines  who wanted to reach Citibank USA and was thrice met by a hapless agent by the name of "Jason" who had to hear her deplorable utterances and grouses that led to cursing an entire nation all because she thinks that this agent could not help her get her money from the ATM...this was of course in the reverse...the funny part there was that during the third onset of the call, Jason had to pretend he was the manager.    WARNING! EXPLICIT LANGUAGE 
(guffaws!)  Honestly, I could feel her desperation but if she had just had that ounce of a minute to listen to what the agent had to explain instead of rabidly attacking him then maybe this would have not happened and if the agent just asked the customer thrice to stop and warn this irate caller to stop with the abuse otherwise he would be forced to release the call then again, this particular youtube vaudeville would not have surmised. If this were a cartoon, you could literally see those lips coming out of the speaker brushing and caressing on "Jason"'s face with those cavil sentences of damnation and vilification.  At least Jason acted like an iceberg hitting a demonic ghost ship set adrift.

Last Monday, I was totally irked when a friend from facebook posted this video about the call center rep stated above filming himself and carrying the lanyard of a BPO that primarily specializes in sensitive accounts.  Aside from the bad English and the worst demonstration of active listening, what was reprehensible was that he filmed himself  (I don't care if he's gay, he hasn't performed a Christine Jorgensen yet and his sexual preference is not the issue) acquiring sensitive information from an unnamed customer while his colleagues lauded him forward sans any practice of EOP (English Only Policy) on the floor as this is a standard in all call centers.  It didn't stop from there, in a latest video uploaded, he does it again and this time with the intention to ridicule the customer by calling himself "Lady Gaga".  The clincher here is that the customer obviously doesn't speak Spanish and then he suddenly frazzles on to a Spanish script then vehemently denies such when the customer perplexedly reacted to the string foreign sounds that he heard.


....Being in the call center is one of the most noblest profession there is.  People who work in call centers are oftentimes teased or ridiculed for so many reasons but what people do not realize is the hours that people brave through just to get a decent pay much less the hope of people lasting in one company while the others flutter over from one office to the next looking for better pay and treatment.  This, more often than not, due to the strange and dire economic situation is the answered prayer for those who have been laid off from work and oftentimes, approaching the age of 40 or returning OFWs settling for a fraction of what their pay was before just to get through.  What others also don't realize is that people in call centers are multi-faceted because they learn the intricacies of one account and then moves on to another.  A nurse waiting to pass the board exams can first settle here and learn to be a technical support agent which is far from what her course entails.  All in all, call centers service customers.  With this particular breach, this particular agent has placed a bullseye on an entire industry as controversy rages in the US Congress on a move  that "seeks “to bar corporations that sent US call center jobs overseas from receiving federal grants and loans,” under the  Call Center and Consumer Protection Act.
While he facebook pages and other concerned citizens furiously demand for either an apology or his permanent retirement from the industry, this particular Act would greatly affect the not only the Philippine call center climate but other countries as well as this is considered a "protectionist legislation" in order to save US jobs.

Shan Rivera Cruz has made a ridiculous whore of himself with such breach of trust and confidence that has placed a dent on an industry that has continued to help our economy.  Here's the thing:

  1. Where was the floorwalker if any?
  2. He did this twice and the Quality Assurance people were not able to catch it?  He filmed himself twice so it means that even if the camera is not rolling, he is also doing this to others.
  3. Where was his Team Leader?
  4. Rule of Thumb:  No cell phones or cameras absolutely allowed on the floor especially in accounts such as this so how did he manage to slip this?  This now questions the integrity of that floor and maybe the Client Relations Manager of that company.

Unfortunately there are such things as bad apples, I hope the stench of this abomination does not affect the way Filipino call center agents are perceived as far as treating a call is concerned.....warm, friendly and ready to be of service.

NOTE:  I had to replace the video again since the original video was placed under a copyright claim by his former call center.  Another update, ok....it seems that there is a campaign by his former call center to really wipe out the leaked videos.  I've just replaced video no.2 with a new video as the old one was taken down on Youtube.


ADDENDUM:  Unfortunately, the call center concerned which is WNS has managed to take down every video that was posted about Shan Cruz Rivera and claiming ownership on the video.  My two cents on the matter is that it should have been the video owner and NOT the BPO concerned who should have taken that down as he owns the property rights to the said video.  That particular outsourcing unit was just dragged into the fray because Rivera displayed their badge.  When the PLDT and Citibank "scandals" happened, these two entities just let it be believing in freedom of expression.  Did it take down the entire Philippine call center industry?  No.  Was Rivera ever punished by that company despite a clause that he signed upon employment that he should not disclose anything about his account?  Why punish the people that uploaded the video?  Something to ponder on.
 


Comments

12/21/2011 16:03

I wouldn't call it the noblest of professions. Most people are just there for the money. I don't know people who are there for the love of it. The hours suck, management treats you like crap, and you're constantly being squeezed for a higher and higher level of performance with no change in pay. But the thing is, you're there to do a job. A good work ethic demands that you do it well and don't bullshit it.

Unless this industry is all you know, given a choice, I think most people would rather work on something that is in line with their interests and education if it paid the same. But it is difficult to find something like that in this country, so people end up settling for a call center job, and that is the truth. I don't know about the current crop of call center people, but the people I worked with 5 yrs ago -- all of them just wanted to find a way "para makatakas sa" call center industry. But I think the current crop of employees are a different breed than the ones before.

Anyway, the nurses you are talking about - a lot of them enter the industry but are not serious about their jobs. First off, they are not a good fit for the technical support accounts they are assigned to. A lot of them have no idea about how the internet works. At all. There is just some basic knowledge that just needs to be there, that training can't compensate for. It just becomes a frustrating experience for everybody - the agent, the TL... But the industry is running out of people to hire, esp at a turnover rate of 50%. Most who left don't want to go back, and the better educated ones now won't touch it with a 10-foot pole, unlike back in the day when the industry was still able to attract graduates from the top universities. And that's probably why see people like Shan.

Reply
12/21/2011 17:34

@ genxme...most maybe in for the money for others, they're in there for the love it and I agree with you in the last aspect that you pointed out...I've worked there for four years before I went freelancing and yes, I did hold a post there..."Unless this industry is all you know, given a choice, I think most people would rather work on something that is in line with their interests and education if it paid the same. -- this is very true and yung makataas...everyone's wish but only a few get lucky...like I said, if you're above 30 or in your 40s...well...there's a slim chance it would happen....as for the nurses...I've known quite a lot who delved in the process just to make both ends meet or while waiting for the results and they did good and then surged forward to their profession...with the current crop...I don't know as well and I'm still keeping an open mind that this particular person is just an aberration to the many who do their jobs with integrity....thank you for writing your views on this...and all opinions are always welcome here.....

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12/29/2011 04:21

working in a call center is crap, I am sorry for my language but I have been here for almost 8 years (and continues to feed on it) and the first guy to comment was correct about "The hours suck, management treats you like crap, and you're constantly being squeezed for a higher and higher level of performance with no change in pay." part. I have gone through all departments and held positions but it didn't changed the fact that the current leaders of the call center community is not ready for this overwhelming industry... SKILL is not the question because pinoys are just that but it is CUSTOMER SERVICE part we are missing... I am not talking only about clients but our INTERNAL CUSTOMERS...

I have several questions for everyone to answer... WHY DO YOU THINK SHAN DID THIS IF HE IS HAPPY? IS HE JUST RETARDED OR IS HE DOING IT OUT OF DISRESPECT TO A COMPANY THAT DISRESPECTS HIM?

NOW BACK TO OUR OWN BPO HELL WE CALL OUR LIVES... ARE YOU GETTING WHAT YOU DESERVE? IF YOUR JOB IS CUSTOMER SERVICE, DO YOU RECEIVE THE SAME RESPECT FROM YOUR MANAGEMENT BY GIVING WHAT IS DUE?

IF YES, YOU WONT BE AFFECTED BY THIS... LIVE YOUR CAL CENTER LIFE TO THE FULLEST...

HONESTLY, I LEARNED TO LOVE THE JOB JUST LIKE MARRIAGE ITS JUST THAT SOMETIMES YOU THINK OF DIVORCE OR ANNULMENT.... I HAVE PASSED THE 7 YEAR ITCH OF A RELATIONSHIP... NOW WHAT I NEED IS SOMETHING GROW OLD WITH... TO THE PEOPLE THAT GOT OUT OF THE CALL CENTER... GOOD FOR YOU... FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE STILL IN IT, HINDI PORKET MAGALING KA NA MAG ENGLISH EH MATALINO KA NA... THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO LIFE THAN STARBUCKS :)

Reply
Giselle
12/29/2011 06:59

"TO THE PEOPLE THAT GOT OUT OF THE CALL CENTER... GOOD FOR YOU... FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE STILL IN IT, HINDI PORKET MAGALING KA NA MAG ENGLISH EH MATALINO KA NA... THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO LIFE THAN STARBUCKS :) -- I like this part and thank you for sharing your thoughts with everyone.

However, if Shan had a problem with management, he should have taken the usual avenues aside from doing the french leave or waiting for that 13th mo. pay and then get out....

But I totally get you as far as the RESPECT part goes ... and that's why I got out....I have seen people get disrespected there but it's just like any other office...I can't stand the stupidity and the politics so...I got out...

PS--Masaklap dun yung no change in pay...pero bawi naman siguro sila sa SPIFFS.....

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12/29/2011 07:50

you can check out our podcasts about this topic this coming new years eve at:

http://www.imbamanila.com/p/our-pod-cast.html

Reply
Giselle
12/29/2011 21:11

Thanks for this:-)

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03/30/2012 02:19

Thank you for information

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