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Call waiting

A customer care executive (also known as agent) works in a BPO centre, an offshore unit for ‘client’ companies based abroad. The executive answers calls made by the client company’s customers.

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:14 IST

The lowdown
A customer care executive (also known as agent) works in a BPO centre, an offshore unit for ‘client’ companies based abroad. The executive answers calls made by the client company’s customers. For instance, in the case of a telecommunication company based in the UK, an agent sitting in Gurgaon answers calls made by British customers. Before an agent is put on the job, s/he gets product, voice and accent training.

Clock Work
The work hours are erratic and might start from 5.30pm. This is how it is likely to go
5.30pm: Meet with team leader and get feedback on the last days’ performance
6pm: Start attending calls
9pm: Have dinner in the cafeteria
9.30pm: Take calls again
10.45pm: Tea/coffee break
11pm: Resume work
12.30am: Tea/coffee break
12.45am: Resume work
2am: Log-out time. Take the cab and go home

This profession allows you to be part of a rapidly growing industry. The industry is projected to grow fast, and the job prospects are always good.

Gaurav Rastogi, assistant manager- operations with Jindal’s Intellicom Contact Centres

The payoff
Initially, an agent gets a salary of Rs12,000 to Rs15,000 a month with perks. Most BPOs offer pick-and-drop facilities and a free meal to employees. Over and above the salary, employees also get huge incentives and overtime allowance, depending on their performance. The incentives can range from Rs2,000 to Rs12,000 a month. At the managerial position, one can earn between Rs50,000 to Rs70,000 a month. If one does really well, the pay is Rs1 lakh-Rs1.5 lakh a month at the assistant vice-president position

Skills/TRAITS
. Extremely good, verbal and written, communication skills and reasoning abilities
. Being well-versed in computers also helps
. All skills needed in any service industry – patience and inclination to serve – apply
. In the technical processes, it is preferred if the agent has some software background, like a diploma or degree in software programming or computer science

Getting There
Any graduate who cracks the written test and interview (held by various BPOs) can grab a job in a BPO company. Walk-in interviews are held often. One can also apply through a placement agent

Institutes
. IGNOU
www.ignou.ac.in
. NIIT Uniqua
www.niituniqua.com/ContactUs.aspx
. Hero Mindmine
www.heromindmine.com/global_bpo.asp

Pros and cons
. A vibrant work culture
. Besides the salary, one also earns handsome incentives
. One does not need to worry about conveyance or food
. Erratic work shifts can mess up one’s biological clock and social life
. Attrition rates across the industry are very high