Interesting Article! I actually meet Butch at few times at BPAP meetings. The circle of SME Call Center owners is a fairly small one. When most people think of call centers, they think of the big multinational ones that employ thousands. However, a very significant % of call center jobs in the Philippines are with much smaller ones, like DMAI.
There are a number of pros and cons about working for big or small call centers. As my staff can certainly attest, it’s a big trade off when you leave behind the big call centers and take a job with a much smaller one. There can also a big difference in terms of Filipino centric culture that varies between the two and is based on the mix of the management team.
Based on consistent feedback, industry research and my own experience, I started with Wells Fargo as a call center agent and helped set up call center teams here in the Philippines, here are some of the pros and cons of each type of call center.
1. Huge, Multinational, Multisite BPOs.
PROS: Large structure allows for a variety of job experiences, pay is generally higher, company tends to follow labor laws closely. Very consistent daily experience with clearly understood expectations.
CONS: Easy to get lost in the shuffle and just be a number, very production orientated, not many accommodations made for work-life balance, strict attendance policy. Can quickly devolve into a monotonous routine that is very unhealthy and draining.
2. Small and Medium Sized, Generally Filipino Owned/Managed, Single Site BPOs.
PROS: Smaller structure allows for more diverse training and experience, scheduling is generally more flexible with much better work-life balance accommodations. Smaller teams tend to become much closer and are more relationship driven teams. With the exception of outbound sales, you generally don’t feel that things are as metrics driven.
CONS: Pay is often times less, with many smaller BPOs not as consistent with labor laws.
I have seen many people thrive in the big environments with all the structure and high developed policies and procedures and I have also seen many Filipinos crushed by the often cold and numbers driven management.
I have also witnessed many Filipinos taking the opportunities presented by a smaller company and parlay them into significant career advancements and even ownership. On the flip side I have sadly watched people fail to survive the myriad challenges of a small business and find themselves wishing to once again go big.
So every Filipino who thinks about a call center career, needs to weigh the Pros and Cons to going big or going small.