30 Jul 2006

The call centre phenomenon

When you take a look at the local newspapers in India, you will come across endless call centre related job advertisements. Even with limited educational qualifications, it is now possible for people to get a decent paying job at a call centre in India today.

However, a call centre operator job is not exactly as easy as the companies make them out to be. Yes, they pay you well, but as the old adage “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” goes, the work comes with its fair share of problems.

As a result of numerous American and European companies outsourcing the call centre duties, it is not uncommon to see call centre employees waking up at 5.00 pm, get ready and go to their office, as most other people are just returning from work. These people literally lead a double life. During the day, he is the sleeping Krishna. During the night, he is the customer support officer Kris. Believe it or not, some companies train their staff until they speak with almost flawless American or British accent.

Yet, the entire call centre job scenario is fickle. The extreme pressure (some companies record every single conversation for quality check) and the odd working hours mean that people join and leave at will. And similarly, many companies hire and fire as and when they want.

For now, as I see it, most people are using call centres as just a stepping stone to advance their careers. The mentality is to join, get some working experience (and English communication skills) and then job hop. And it seems the companies are fine with it.

No loyalty asked, none given.

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