Despite the upsetting manifestations of the global recession, the business process outsourcing or BPO industry has successfully managed to retain its glory as one of the most promising employment sectors, with boundless job opportunities and multiple exciting avenues for career advancement!
The term ‘outsourcing’ refers to an organisation having a contract with an outside organisation or person, to perform tasks or provide services.
As opposed to the popular belief, being employed in a good BPO company is not just about dealing with the queries of overseas clients at ‘call centres’ or ‘contact centres’. Even though voice processes happen to be one of the most integral aspects of this industry, non-voice processes too have been steadily gaining popularity recently (wherein the customer support executives offer solutions via emails or live chat).
With the exponential rate of employment, rising pay scales, fast-track career growth opportunities, additional perks and global exposure, the BPO industry continues to lure young, zealous talent who aspire to make it big in the corporate world. Apart from being one of the hottest picks for fresh, non-technical graduates, the BPO sector has also been witnessing an increasing inflow of a pool of qualified professionals such as M.Tech, MBA or CA degree holders for high end, domain specific processes to work as business analysts or consultants.
What Are the Essential Qualifications Required to Get Hired?
The biggest advantage of the BPO industry is that it provides you with the opportunity to start earning right after completing school or college! You can join as a technical support executive or a customer care agent without being highly qualified or experienced. So if you are a fresher and eager to build a career in this sector, you can easily use the online job portals to find openings with leading companies.
Despite the fact that lofty academic degrees do not have much relevance for beginners in this sector, here is a checklist of key skills which not only multiply your prospects of getting hired but can also help ensure that you achieve a stable and rewarding career in the long run:
- Excellent communication skills with particular emphasis on voice and accent
- Proficiency in English with sound grammatical skills (for international processes)
- Basic computer knowledge – MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel and internet operations
- Flexibility, willingness to learn and an ability to learn quickly
- Pleasing personality and multi-tasking abilities
- Patience along with tactfulness and diplomacy
- Sincerity while addressing problems reported by clients
- Effective stress management skills, ability to work coolly under pressure
- Sound cognitive and decision-making skills with leadership qualities
- Open to working in a 24X7 environment
In addition to your IQ and soft skills, you also have to work on developing your EQ and sharpening your critical thinking abilities, to come up with spontaneous, out of the box solutions when confronted with complex issues. Considering the option of relocating to a different city often helps in expanding your list of options and finding more suitable and lucrative offers.
Ensure that your C.V. is presented in an impressive manner highlighting all your academic milestones and proficiencies. Since rigorous background checks are carried out on behalf of the recruiting companies to verify the authenticity of details mentioned by the candidates, the qualities of honesty and transparency are of immense importance here. Do not forget to have original copies of all relevant documents to verify the information on your resume.
What Are the Various Options Available for Job Applicants?
Depending on the educational qualifications as well as area of specialisation, job seekers in the BPO sector can select from a wide range of services at the entry level:
Software development – Software developers are entrusted with the responsibility of developing, testing or maintaining software systems used by foreign clients of the U.S., U.K. or Australia.
Eligibility – Preference given to software engineers with degree or diploma. B.Tech or BCA degree holders. Other types of engineering are also considered.
Contact centers – Accounting for the lion’s share of this sector, contact centers offer technical support and customer support services to clients. There are multiple channels of communication for handling all sorts of queries and concerns of customers, including voice calls, e-mail and chat round the clock.
From verification of accounts, to checking the order or reservation status and providing information on the products or services of that particular company, these are a few of the basic functions performed by customer care executives in a contact center.
Tech support services include troubleshooting 24X7 to help customers overcome challenges pertaining to technical and operational issues of hardware/software installation, usage and running support for various devices.
Eligibility – Graduate in any discipline with good communication skills. Must be well-versed in English for international processes.
Back end process – As the name itself suggests, back end processes do not deal with inbound or outbound calls. Besides attending to customers via e-mail or chat, back end services include data entry, data conversion or data processing tasks for numerous databases across various platforms.
Eligibility – Graduate in any discipline with proficiency in typing.
Telemarketing services – Telemarketing or telesales involves interacting with potential clients and generating interest regarding a particular product or service being offered by the company. These processes are aimed at both, up-selling as well as cross-selling. Outbound calls are made to clients by the agents for promoting the sale of credit/debit cards, wireless services or new packages.
Eligibility – Graduates in any discipline with good linguistic skills and a convincing personality.
Healthcare services – Healthcare services include coding, billing, drug safety monitoring, medical transcription, clinical data management and handling of queries by patients.
Eligibility – An additional certificate program or associate degree program in medical transcription is required for assuming this role. Medical professionals including nurses are heavily sought-after in this field.
Insurance process – Insurance processes revolve around offering specialised solutions pertaining to issues reported by clients in the insurance sector. Core functions of agents include policy management, processing of claims and business promotion.
Eligibility – Graduates or post-graduates/diploma holders of any discipline, preferably commerce graduates or those with a background in finance.
Support/shared services – Services included in this domain are HR outsourcing (related to recruitment, benefits, payroll and others), finance and accounting, market research and legal transcription.
Ascending the Corporate Ladder
Over the last five years, fresh graduates hailing from varied disciplines of study have been flocking to this sector in huge numbers for long term careers, full of challenges and tremendous growth opportunities.
Fresh recruits in the BPO industry are usually required to undergo an intensive training program of 4 to 6 weeks consisting of several interactive sessions to hone their communication skills, along with voice and accent training. Mental preparedness for regular assessment and feedback is another prerequisite.
A number of leading companies offer specifically designed training programs to their employees in collaboration with some leading educational institutes. Top companies also provide additional self-learning and self-improvement tools. Apart from being promoted to the post of team leader or operations manager, an agent has the scope of lateral movement through IJP or Internal Job Posting. He/she can avail the option of shifting to other functional areas such as training or recruitment.
People with higher qualifications such as postgraduate degrees can get hired in KPO or knowledge process outsourcing units, which demand highly qualified personnel (lawyers, statisticians, bio-technologists, architects, medical professionals, CA, CFA and MBA degree holders) for specialised services, namely – medical services, engineering, finance, animation, network management, content development, data analytics, IP research, educational and legal services.
The Compensation Packages and Benefits Enjoyed by Employees
The Average salary in BPO in BPO is $20,000-$38,000 at entry level and can be higher depending on your role and company.
A lot of resilience is required to cope with the shift timings, along with the flexibility to work for extra hours as per situational demands. However, you can be rewarded with many perks including attendance and loyalty bonuses, performance-based incentives, free pick-up and drop facilities, subsidised food, gym and recreational facilities, attractive discounts, corporate credit cards, subsidised loan schemes, provident funds and health insurance schemes covering your parents, spouse and kids.
Before choosing a particular company, it is highly recommended that you do a bit of online research to verify its legitimacy and check out their values and goals, to ensure their compatibility with your personal objectives.
Are you considering working in the BPO sector? How has this article affected your decision? Let us know in the comments section below...