Call Center English and Grammar

Among the many interactions I've had with call centers around the world, I have mostly interacted with those in the Philippines, India, Mexico and some in Europe.

Since this post is about Philippine call centers I'd like to share my experience and suggestions. Overall, the reps are pretty good. Although, I will say that a large percentage can use coaching in how they interact along with speaking English properly and grammatically. There are some reps that are pretty good. I am not referring to accents although that helps.

Among a few issues, there are 2 main things I will point out that I find should be addressed. There is no need to address the customer as "Sir/Miss/Mam (first name)". If you really want to call them by their first name, ask them. "May call you Robert?" - Not Sir Robert. "May I call you Mary?" - Not Miss Mary. I know people in the Philippines do this to customers bc they think its respectful. But remember - you are not talking to people in the Philippines. This is not about your culture. I can see that reps actually think they are being respectful and nice but what I see are cultural habits that other cultures find strange. You can also address them with their last name like Mr or Ms Smith.

The second suggestion is about getting to the point. Filipinos are culturally notorious for being too wordy and going round and round when explaining something instead of getting to the point. I always find myself shaking my head as I am listening to them on the phone trying to explain or apologize about something. Remember, customers want to hear results. Not drawn out excuses or useless statements. It’s the same comment as above about cultural habits that need to be addressed.

There are a few other issues but these 2 stand out. I’m originally from the Philippines but have been in the US for over 40 years. I also speak other dialects and am quite in-tune with the culture. I may have a leg up with the English language bc we spoke it very well when we were growing up.  And my 40+ years in the US has helped me understand American culture. I think better training in these areas it will make your organization more marketable to companies and your customers be more receptive to your Call Center representatives.

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