Posted by: hoz49 | February 18, 2008

On “being nice”

Since it heats up pretty quick here Fe and I get up about 4:30 and go walking early. The sun comes up around 6am so we get to experience the city waking up. Even at that early hour there are jeepneys, taxis and cyclos on the streets. The one thing that has to work on a Filipino vehicle is the HORN, brakes and lights are optional.

We have developed two walking routes. One is around a nearby area called “I.T. Park” or  ‘Asiatown“. It is a commercial development with several high rises, office buildings and small restaurants, all surrounding a central grassy park. There are several call centers located here and a couple of new buildings are under construction.

Many call center workers are just coming off their shift and congregate at the small coffee shops, breakfast bars and convenience stores, smoking, chatting and unwinding from their night on the phones.   They work all night to be available for the daytime callers from the US.

This morning I spoke with three workers  from Chase,  Expedia and Orbitz. These young people sit all night at the phones taking calls from often irate people wanting immediate help with their problems. When pushed, they admitted they were often treated rudely by the callers, people making fun of their accented English,  asking to speak with someone who knows “American”.  Let me say the workers have all completed university and have degrees, no high school dropouts need apply.   No matter the insult they are required to respond in a pleasant manner at all times or lose their jobs.

Some of these young adults  come from many miles away and other islands to get what is considered a good job here in the Philippines. Their starting pay is 15,000 pesos a month. That’s $375 US folks!  In addition, the workers are required to switch shifts from days, to nights to afternoons as call volumes dictate.  From their meager earnings they often send money back home to help support their parents and siblings. I was told the burnout rate is pretty high.

The next time you have a computer,  bank card or other call center problem try  being nice to the person on the other end of the line.  There may be many other people depending on him or her besides you.



  1. Thank you for recognizing the hard work and effort that call center agents put in daily to provide excellent service to consumers and callers. Cheers!

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