Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to write your own resumes for a call center

Like they say "First impression is the best impression", your first impression on the interviewer is your resume(re-syu-may). It not only tells you about your education, work experience etc., but also tells you what kind of a person you are, your attitude. So make your resume look warm, professional and should give the interviewer the feeling that you are very serious about this job. Tailor-make it to meet the company's requirement, it should show you as the best person for the job. Here is a format which you may want to follow -
Personal Information:
  • Your Name
  • Home address
  • Telephone no.
  • Email address

  • Please keep it brief, describe what exactly you want to do and how it suits the job that you are applying for.
Educational qualification
  • Write the degree that you last completed. Also write the name of the institution or university where you completed your degree (or your 12th grade).

Technical skills (if any)
  • Write the technical courses(certifications) you have done .
Work experience
  • Write the latest one first, go backwards and end with your first job. Write the name of the company, the duration(month/year-month/year), your position.
Accomplishments (if any)
  • Write your accomplishments in your previous job. You can also write about your personal accomplishment, provided this helps the company that you are applying for.

Personal details
  • Fathers Name:
  • Date of Birth:
  • Languages known:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ways to improve your fluency (Communication Skills)

  • Make sure your grammar is perfect.
  • Read a minimum of 2 novels a month.
  • Read a range of books, magazines(automobiles, fashion, gardening etc.) and please do not read local newspapers.
  • Speak to your family and friends in English, ask them to correct you when you speak.
  • Learn to pronounce words the right way. Visit Cambridge dictionary it gives an option to pronounce the word.
  • Experts say that a child adds 5000 words a year to its vocabulary whereas adults add not more than 100 words. Make it a practice to add a minimum of 5 words a day. When you hear a new word, jot it down and look up the dictionary later or ask your friend, remember a person telling you the meaning of a word is more effective than referring a dictionary.
  • Watch English channels - BBC, CNN, Star World etc. See how the native speakers speak.
  • Please do not stop this practice after you get a job. Continue this practice it will eventually build your confidence.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tips to improve your thought flow

  1. Keep yourself updated with the current affairs, most of the time a topic will be given on current affairs, specially in a group discussion. And this practise of updating yourself with current affairs will help you in building your vocabulary.
  2. When given a topic, ask these questions to yourself - Why, When, Who, What, Where, Which, How....

Ex: Topic - Speak about India's first gold medal.

  • Who - Abhinav Bindra won the first individual gold medal for India.
  • For What - For Air Rifle event.
  • When - After 28 years.
  • Where - In 2008 Beijing Olympics, China.
  • How - Through hard work and determination.

Thought flow

In a call center you may be asked to speak on a topic at anytime, during the operations round in the interview, in the training period or during your final evaluation. In the beginning when I joined a call center I found it very difficult to speak on a topic during training, as I had stage freight, and also during attending interviews I did not know what to speak on a topic. I approached my trainer and she asked to practise at home, to choose a topic on my own and try speaking to myself. To be honest it helped.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Inbound CallCenters in India

Inbound means incoming(calls). It is usually called Customer-service. In this type of call centers the customers call the company, it could be to know some information about the product, to raise a complaint as the product is not working properly, to do the payments etc. Inbound can be of different types - customer service, technical support, finance, billing, cancellation(saves) etc. In a customer service process the customer calls(usually facing a problem), the advisor helps the customer and leaves notes on the customers account. I worked for customer service for a year. The process that I belonged to was a U.K process. The same process was based in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Capetown in South Africa.
Outbound CallCenters in India.
Prepare for a Call Center Interview.

Outbound CallCenters in India

Outbound means outgoing(calls). In this type of callcenters the agents make calls to the customer. It could be to sell a product(telemarketing), for a survey, for a customer feedback on their product etc. On a telemarketing call the agent calls the customer and presents the product they represent. Once he/she convinces the customer and if the customer agrees to buy the product, the agent asks for a few sensitive details about the customer to fill a form. The information of the customers could be his full name, residential address, credit card details etc. Once the form is filled by the agent and submitted, the product would be sent to the customers residential address (given by the customer) in 7 working days at the maximum. The agents would be given targets(no.of sales) for a month to be achieved. And their incentive is based on the number of sales. This also accounts for the promotion of an agent.
Inbound Call Centers in India.
Prepare for a Call Center Interview.

Friday, August 15, 2008

American Holidays

Federal Holidays
January 1 - New years Day
Third Monday, January - Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Third Monday, February - Washington's Birthday
Last Monday, May - Memorial Day
July 4 - Independence Day
First Monday, September - Labor Day
Second Monday, October - Columbus Day
November 11 - Veterans Day
Fourth Thursday, November - Thanksgiving Day
December 25 - Christmas Day

Holidays in callcenter

A callcenter agent gets two offs every week. It could be the weekend or two days during the week. And these offs can be rotating offs in some processes. Apart from these the employee gets a minimum of 10 offs per annum. These offs are not Indian national holidays, they are either the national holidays of the U.S, U.K or Australian. We do not get to spend time during our national holidays, festivals with our family and friends. This is one of the things that we loose when we get into a callcenter. However when you work on an Indian national holiday, you will get a compensation(comp) off which can be taken on another day or can be cashed.

American Holidays.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quality Team

A Quality team is the team that monitors calls of agents in a call-center, and give scores to the agent on different parameters. These scores are very important when you apply for a promotion and incentives. The agents are given scores from 0-100 based on parameters like call-opening, hold and transfer procedure, call-closing etc. The parameters differ from one call-center to another. The agents are given feedback so that they can improve their performance. An agent can apply for a promotion to the quality team provided he has achieved the criteria for a promotion.

Education for a call center agent

These days you find people from different field working in call centers. Graduates from engineering, law, dental etc., work in a call center. The most common are the undergraduates, students who would have lost a year in their 12std or 2 PUC. And the next common of all are engineering students who would have quit their engineering or who would have lost a year in engineering would have joined call-centers as a stopgap. In the course of time, engineering students or the undergraduates who would have joined call-centers just as a stopgap would take this as their profession. Please do not loose your focus, a degree is very important. You can work and still get a degree through various universities that provide degree through correspondence. I will try to get some information on this that will help you further your educational qualification. Meanwhile please share your knowledge in this field to help others who read this post.

Handling stress at work

Handling stress at work is very important for a call center employee as you're working in the most stressfull shift, the graveyard shift.
  • Drink a lot of water. This universal solvent is the best lubricant for your brain.
  • Take deep breaths. Take the elevator once a while or if its just two or three floors always take the elevator.
  • Do not work overtime for some little money. Remember a good balance of work life and your personal life is the key to success. Or if thirst for success is what is causing stress, dont just work hard, work hard to collect facts(knowledge), but start thinking how to use those facts.
  • Team outing is good but once in a while. If you ask me I would never want to see the same faces again on an outing, so I try to stay away from most of the team outing.
  • Do not sit for a long time. Stand up, stretch, walk around this would help circulate blood to your brain.
  • Punch a pillow, if you are provided with one. I've seen most of my colleagues punching the walls of the cubicle to let their frustration out.
  • Socialize: Not always do you get to sit with your friends in a call center. And if you dont socialize you will feel bored and the day(night) may feel long.
  • If its a person at work who is causing the stress, talk to him/her if he is approchable, else ignore him/her.
  • Time management: Learn to manage your time. If you are spending too much time in travelling to work, find a way to cut it down.
  • Take up a hobby like singing, reading, anything that interests you.
  • Sleep well: A person working in a call center do not get a lot of time to sleep, sleep well.
  • Find some of your own ways to handle stress at work.
  • Okay i'm not an expert on this but I think the best way to handle stress at work is to give up the idea that you are stressed or just dont think too much about it.

Please share your ways of relaxation, even if its funny.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Build your vocabulary

I've seen many employees in call centers who do not take vocabulary seriously. Build your vocabulary, it helps build your confidence. You work in a team and you may never know when you may have to address the entire team. Your team-leader may ask you to speak about a your experience on a certain call or any difficulty you are facing on a call. Trust me if your vocabulary is good, your fluency is good, and hence you would have tremendous confidence in speaking in a crowd. And I strongly believe that people with good communication make it to the top. Building your vocabulary would definitely help you in your IJP (internal job posting) interviews as well. Here's what I used to do when I took calls - I used to take down words spoken by the customers on a notepad and then check its meaning on Cambridge dictionary.This way I would know the meaning of the word and under what circumstances it is used. Englishdaily626 is a great site to build your vocabulary. Please share the words that you know that could be used on calls.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dress Code

Dress Code in a call center is formals from Monday through Thursday and business casuals on Fridays and weekends. However some call centers have business casuals through out the week. I heard someone say on TV that once a company introduced casuals on weekends the productivity dipped.

Call Center Training

Training in a call center happens in the company itself, sometimes it is outsourced to a third party training company. The trainees usually get trained on the following -
  • Grammer
  • Soft skills/Customer service.
  • Accent training.
  • US/UK Culture.
  • Process training.

Call Center Induction

Call Center inductions are usually held in a star hotel or in the company itself. During induction people from different teams come to explain how their team works and how they can help you. For example a person from the HR team will come to explain about the company, your growth in the company etc., Similarly a person from the finance team, Operations, training team etc may come to address you. At the end of the induction they may give you some magazines about the company and training materials or some goodies.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Interview rounds in a call center

These are the common interview rounds in a call center interview. Sometimes there may be additional tests like typing tests, listening test etc.
First round: Self introduction.
Here the interviewer will ask you to introduce yourself (will be looking for MTI - mother tongue influence, sentence contruction etc.,) keep it brief. You may want to follow this order.
  • The place you are from.
  • Your educational qualification.
  • Personal information - your family, your interests and hobbies.

Second round: Written test.

  • Grammer test.
  • Analytical test.
  • Technical test. (If you're attending interview for a technical process)

Third round: Operations(Ops) round.

Operations round is the most critical round, usually conducted by a team-leader from the operations or the operation manager. You can expect questions like -

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Why you want to join a call-center ? (If you are a fresher)
  • Why this company ?
  • May ask you to read a passage.

Here the interviewer will try to know more about you, how well you answer the questions (remember answer the questions in favour of the company). His looks may be intimidating but dont worry he is as nervous as you are (probably thinking of the next question to ask).

Fourth round: HR round.

Once you clear the Ops round, HR round is very easy. The HR may ask you a few questions like - whats your salary expectation, will you sign a bond for a year etc., And then give the offer letter to sign and will explain the salary structure.

Please leave your comments.

Prepare for a call center interview

Most common questions asked in a call center interview.

Prepare for a Call Center interview

This post not only prepares you for a call center(centre) interview but also these points mentioned below help you in training in a call center after the interview as well.
Know more about the company - Do a small research and know the different types of processes they have. For example, one of the company's that I worked for had only inbound UK processes, and these processes were Insurance, Collections, ISP processes.
Know the interview rounds - before you attend the interview, as different companies will have different interview rounds.
Know the basic technical questions if you're attending an interview for a technical process.
  • Prepare a good resume, with not more than two pages.
  • Get dressed well, have a clean shave.
  • Be there before 15 mins, you will feel comfortable. Speak to people around you, do not be an introvert, specially in a call center or any other industry where interpersonal relationship is important.
  • Have a good meal before you attend an interview, it helps you sound energetic. Drink water but dont drink too much, you dont want to visit the restroom quite often and miss out a few things in the interview waiting room.
  • Learn to smile when you meet people, again very very important in a call center. Give a firm hand-shake, dont over do it and hurt the other person.
  • Do not fake an accent, speak in a neutral accent. Speak slowly, as rate of speech is one of the parameters they assess you on.
  • You may be asked to read a passage, so before attending an interview practice reading out aloud. Remember to pause for a second when you see a comma, more than a second when there is a full stop. Stress on the adjectives.

Interview rounds in a call center

Most common questions asked in a call center interview

Inbound Call Centers in India.

Outbound Call Centers in India.

Please leave your comments.