Sunday, February 13, 2005

In Defense of Call Center Agents

** This was an article I wrote before as a response to this one halfwit I encountered in my Friendster network.Anyway, here's what he said:
"una sa lahat,, ayoko ng mahilig mageenglish!!! badtrip un!! lalo na pag paslang pa!! okay lang kung pabiro,, pero kung serioso?? naku!!!"
And here's what I said...

I've been in the call center industry for a year and six months now. Because of our target market is an english-speaking environment, and since we're speaking mostly with Americans during the 7.5 dialing hours of the shift, it's just natural if I, we, were to acquire a certain slang with the way we're speaking our American.

See, it's my profession, it's the job that I do, and I take it seriously. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to excel in this industry, starting off with the slanged tongue.

When people start disliking me for this acquired asset, it's either one of two things: maybe they failed Accent Training, or they just don't understand the near-necessity of speaking with a twang in this industry. I'm thinking it's more of the latter.

It takes a halfwit to start attacking the things they don't comprehend, and it takes a greater pail of phlegm to utterly despise this particular necessity. The one thing I really don't get with people of "white matter," (white matter is when the gray matter of the brain's gone so obsolete it faded) is that they have this amazing inclination to start hating, fearing, or maybe even groaning at things they don't understand.

Case in point: "una sa lahat,, ayoko ng mahilig mageenglish!!! badtrip un!! lalo na pag paslang pa!! okay lang kung pabiro,, pero kung serioso?? naku!!!"

This is from an actual description by one of the people here in my personal network in Friendster. I don't really know why this was posted, but I'm thinking that must be the SAME reason why I'm posting this short defense. I'm challenging whoever that was to read between the lines. I think that IF EVER the above statements (IN TAGALOG, previous paragraph) was directed to anybody in the same industry as I am, then here's your explanation:

"I am a call center agent, and I speak with Americans every single day in the work week. Americans are really not comfortable being pitched at by some 'Puerto Rican/Indian/whathaveyou,' and they tend to disagree with the sales pitch because 'they're not understanding' what we're saying. So, we try neutralizing our accents to sound less like 'Puerto Ricans/Indians/whathaveyous,' and we try to develop a certain accent for our personal well-beings as well as CSR's. If this rubs off in our daily 'kuwentuhans' with the people around us, don't even dare accusing us of being frustrated conversationalists or wannabe Caucasians. And if you're not comfortable hearing what we have to say with our acquired accents, it's not our fault, and I could never stress that enough."

If you're so beyond stupid you can't construct a sentence in English, let alone speak it okay, then put your finger out of my ass. It's not comfortable for either one of us. I'll start hating you not because you don't like the way we speak, but because you're starting to insist this particular dislike with an unnerving intensity. Yes, we are in the Philippines. And in this Tagalog-speaking community, there probably is no real reason in trying to speak in English with an accent to match. However, when your job depends on it, and your performance even more so, then you'll have no other choice but to learn. I really don't imagine that sick fuck to be able to reach this part of my article on account of all these straining sentences constructed in English, but I really would like to direct my point.

I would like to add something else to this, but I would prefer to adhere to the standards of diplomacy and refute the enchanting invitation to offend. Or to rephrase that in a manner which he would perfectly understand, "hindi bale na lang."

And in case you were wondering, I was writing this with a slang.


  1. Anonymous8:34 AM

    I'm not in any way related to call center and I like what you wrote. Some people are really just narrow minded. It's good for them to hear this.

  2. i used to work in a callcenter and working there wasnt as easy as it looked like.

  3. Anonymous3:49 PM

    i really wanted to work in a call center industry but i want to make sure that my english is really good before doing so... sad to say, i am not that good yet when it comes to doing the conversation stuff... maybe you could be my trainer, if your schedule permits.weheheheh...

  4. Anonymous5:08 PM

    trainor, i mean.

  5. I'm working in a callcenter and this job isn't as easy as what people think it to be. And this company isn't even contented of us speaking in English in ALL of our calls that they're even implementing an English-only Law whenever you're in the company premises. It sucks. But people can't hate us for knowing English better than they do. It's not our fault to have better accents nor it is our school's fault to teach us better in English.

  6. Exactly! @ Ira

    Read a lot of books @ anonymous and don't stop. Familiarize yourself with their language, enjoy the suggested medium, and we might work for the same team leader soon.

    Or I might train you. Whichever comes first.

    The accent, I think, is but another unmentioned perk we have in the industry. @ third

    It might be an unwanted perk, but it's still a benefit nonetheless.


  7. Hello, Momel! What's up?! Didn't know that you're such a wizard! I often see you at the office, but, I didn't know that you've got the skills far from my expectation. Your blog is awesome!!! You are right, in our job, we have to adapt the natural American accent, otherwise, racist and customer's who love to stereo-type could ruin our scorecards. As a Call Center agent, I understand and really appreciate what you wrote here. By the way, I've added you on my FRIENDS list, I wish to be added here as well! CHEERS! =)



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