Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Different "Calling"

- Rene "Pixel" Ong


"We can't make you look like Brad Pitt.
But we can make you talk like him."

With a nice big heading like this, who would not want to enter into the call-center business? Teasing adverts, but not at all inappropriate.

We all know the score here. The call-center industry is still booming with over 50,000 agents needed by call-center companies in the next two years. Plenty of opportunity but what are the odds? Statistics say only 3 out 100 applicants gets the job.

Why?

Well, communication skills play a big part. Its the biggest determining factor that'll snag the job for you. Second, you need to have confidence when you speak. Your boss won't thank you for stuttering your way into a frantic customer. Last is your ability to think and, if you're applying for technical-support, your overall technical know-how. You may have Brad Pitt's voice, and all the confidence in the world, but if you cant tell which one's the plug and which one's the mouse, you're lacking in some serious education.

This is where a training program come in useful.
The school is currently running its own training program to interested applicants. Special summer classes will be offered to the students as well. When I say 'special', I meant that we, that is to say, the students, are given 50% off on the total fee. So there's no room to excuse any students wanting to try it out.

But what exactly is there to try, you say?
Well, the classes themselves are straightforward enough. They teach you mostly about proper English grammar, correct pronunciations and usage of words, or, case in point, common grammatical errors typical of the native Filipino tongue. (An even more specific example is the confusion between pronouncing 'th' and a 'd', 'f' and 'p', so on and so forth...)

A year back when I first entered into an exact same program as this, I heard many, and believed many testimonials from the instructors and applicants saying how programs like these can invoke dramatic changes in your communication skills. This as much, I say is true. But if and only if, you took the matter seriously. Shyness goes out of the window, as is withdrawals.

To sum things up, the call-center industry is wide open to all people. Whether you're twenty or forty, fresh-from-college or an undergraduate hopeful, looks doesn't even matter (like I said, its all in the voice). If you've understood most of the things that I wrote in this column, then you're a keeper. The application forms are right at the front desk. You can't miss it. I'm sure Ma'am Sweet and Ma'am Anne will be happy to accommodate you.

Otherwise. There is no otherwise. Like I've said, unless you've managed to reach through the bottom of this column, there will be no point putting in an 'otherwise' statement.

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