Teaching in a Call Center
Up until a few years ago, no one had even heard of call centers before. Now they are a booming industry in the developed world and all across Asia too. Companies save money and deal with customer issues more effectively by using customer service experts whose job it is to deal with enquiries and problems. The tools that call center employees need to do this are product knowledge, customer service skills and communication skills.
Since most call centers are operated by multinational corporations as a part of their sleek global supply chains, you would think that they would be pretty slick operations. However, this is not always the case. Remember that the industry is quite new and there are still a lot of wrinkles to be ironed out. However, these wrinkles may well translate into opportunities for ESL teachers to branch out into a new field.
Working in a call center as a trainer or training manager is, in my opinion, more interesting than teaching conventional ESL classes. It is a vibrant environment and you will generally be teaching young and enthusiastic fresh graduates. The nice thing is that whatever you teach them, they can use straight away. So you get a good sense of job satisfaction. On their part, too, they get more job satisfaction when they communicate more effectively and they get a lot less angry callers.
If you work in a call center, you can expect to come up with your own materials. There is no equivalent of ‘Headway’ for call centers, and the skills that the operators need are at the higher end of the spectrum. For example, some call centers want their employees to speak with a certain accent; this is called ‘accent neutralization’. In general, though, a call center operator needs to attain a natural rhythm and intonation that callers from anywhere in the world can understand.
The hotspots around the world for call centers are Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Eastern Europe, but most of all, Bangalore, India. Call centers are a massive industry in India and training for call centers is growing there, too.
So if you are an ESL teacher and you fancy a change in the direction of your career, why not give it a shot?