Friday, July 13, 2007

Surrendering to your Employers


Recently I had the chance to go through Patrick Barnard's article "Finding out the Hard Way" on Hawaiian Airlines facing a tough time after opening up their Call Center in Philippines. (http://blog.tmcnet.com/makingcontact/finding-out-the-hard-way.asp)
The problem arises, as he rightly pointed out, when the outsourcers don't spend enough time training their agents. I have been an agent for Travelport's Cheaptickets call center operations based in India and found it out myself when I was trained. Not more than 3 out of the total batch of 20 were well abreast with the process when they hit the floor (higher attrition might be one of the cause but then they do nothing to retain people!!). And this was known to the trainers and the managers but because the management cannot wait to prove their effectiveness to their clients, they deliberately push them to work even before they are ready. Further, no requests are entertained for a re-training as that would mean 'loss of time and energy'.

Such approach ultimately displease the clients and the customers equally and the outsourcer and the outsourced together have to bear the outcome. The working environment, too, is not amicable but extra burdens (that are really not needed) are put on the agents pushing them to work (irrespective of whether they like it or not). Also, no requests are entertained even if the agent wishes to switch his process where he thinks he can do better as that would again mean a re-training and a search for his substitution! Even the BPO aims at cutting their costs and sometimes even create a hostile environment for the employees to leave as they know that more people can be hired to work on a lesser salary. Thus, just adding to more attrition.

Two reasons can be attributed for a person to join a Call center job, one, they are easily available and are always on the look-out for the people and secondly, they pay well. But money is not just everything and many of us when realize it, we switch jobs just to escape from the harsh fact. I would not comment on any other Call Center as I had an experience (which was clearly not pleasant enough) with travelport only, from whereon I decided to give up on call centers.
It goes without saying that you should always respect your employees and value their input. And a company's growth is undoubtedly driven by its employees. No flexibility, meek incentive plans, no appreciation and recognition clearly has posted Travelport as an uncompetitive entity in the industry. What with so many top-executives from top Business Schools benching the management.

The client would be pleased only when it finds that its customers are pleased by the services otherwise time is not far when all the Call Centers would be returning back home. With protests in the home countries now, this might only expedite it.