Jan 312013
 
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7 Steps to get a good sleep after night shift in Call Center

We saw in the earlier post that due to irregular shifts a lot of BpO and Call Center employees are unable to sleep properly leading to a variety of health problems.  But since most of us do not have the luxury to change our shift we need to ensure we get a good workaround to get a good night or should we dare say a good day’s sleep?

Let us give us some things that you can do to get a good sleep even during the day. The points are based on our discussion with some people who are working in the  BpO and Call Center business for many years.

Free College Pathology Student Sleeping Creative Commons

Trying to sleep- pic by “D Sharon Pruitt”

  1. Consistency: Try to sleep at the same time every day. Even if you reach home early or have nothing to do, wait for your regular time to sleep and only then go to bed.
  2. Befriend the Dark Side:  Make sure your room has thick curtains and no light sneaks in, as a double precaution cover your eyes with eye pads like they give you in long haul flights. Remember even when your eyes are closed they can still sense light leading to less than optimal sleep so your aim should be to give them complete darkness when you are sleeping.
  3. Switch off the Cell phone: If you work in a voice process and still want to take calls after night shift we salute you. But if you are like the rest of us who have had enough after the shift, switch off that cell phone or give it to a family member who can announce your beauty sleep to the callers.  Come on even President Obama sleeps with all the problems of the world he is supposed to solve, so the world will not miss you if you miss some calls.
  4. Avoid Caffeine: The earlier your last dose of caffeine is before you go to bed the better are your chances to get a sound sleep. Remember you drink tea or coffee to stay awake in night, so just do the opposite when you want to sleep. Have your last sip of coffee/tea a minimum 2 hours before the bed time. Also what you need to remember is tea and coffee are not the only beverages with sleep killer chemicals your cold drinks and energy drinks are also buzzing with sleep killing demons. Some people swear by some herbal teas that help in sleeping, but we have not tried them so would not comment about the same.
  5. Eat light: While it is tough to sleep on an empty stomach, it is tougher to sleep on a stuffed stomach. So before bed time make sure there is some gap between your last meal and nap time. You can have a light snack if you feel hungry but do not stuff yourself, it will only increase your weight and decrease your sleep.
  6. Exercise regularly: If your body is physically exerted your chances of a good sleep increases exponentially. You don’t have to exercise before bed, but any time during the day if you have done some workout like walking, running, weight training or simple climbing of stairs, your body will want to recover, and we all know body recovers when we are sleeping.
  7. Read a Book: Remember when we were in school and the thought of reading itself use to make us yawn? Try something similar take a book to bed, just ensure it is not a stomach churning murder mystery, try a book on politics or history they are known to be the best sleep inducing invention of mankind.

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Bonus tip: No TV while in bed, yes as with the remote you will be compelled to keep on flipping the channel and will not sleep.

These 7 Steps to get a good sleep after night shift may seem  simple and commonsense but a lot of us do not implement them. Do try them and inform us if they have helped you in any form. Also if you have any tip of your own please write to us.

man sleeping on bench

Its easier to sleep in dark 

pic byVicente Alfonso

 

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 January 31, 2013  Posted by at 5:08 PM Health in a BpO, Life In a BPO Tagged with: , , ,  Comments Off on 7 Steps To Get A Good Sleep After Night Shift In Call Center
Nov 212012
 
 

  What is Best time for Call Center Training?

—We received a good response on our post “A Perfect Candidate for Call Center”

We have mentioned that some of the freshers join a call center or BpO and leave the same after completion of training when the time to go to production comes.  This is a trend most of the companies have been observing and some of them have devised ways and means to overcome the same.

One of the suggestion that come from our reader Shoeb Ansari was why the companies are not conducting training in night shift?

He has a valid point and some companies have actually tried this with better result as the absconders vanish in week one rather than vanishing after completion of training.The point to note here is that people abscond early when you start the training in night shift. So it saves the salaries paid to them. It is still not overcoming the problem of trainees absconding. Which brings us to another problem is the filtration process for selection of candidates robust enough? It is obvious that short-term players are getting selected only to leave at some stage in next few months.

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We will talk about this issue in a later post; let us focus on the pros and cons of conducting training in night shift in this post

Pros

  1. One can filter the non serious players at early stage
  2. Better utilization of infrastructure 7*24
  3. Employees get acclimatized to the client timings early one
  4. Real practice calls with clients as well as side jacking to live calls early on

The above factors make sense to start the night shift as early on as possible for the employees who will work in the night shift eventually.

Let us look at the cons now the challenges of training in night shift. The biggest bottleneck is point number 2 in the pros.

The primary objective of any BPO center is to do live transactions and they are designed in a way that maximum space is used for live production work that brings in the revenue.  A typical center will not have more than 2-3 training rooms and they are booked well in advance.

So while one would like to conduct all trainings in night shift for any contact center of even 1000 employees with a low attrition rate of even 20% per annum at any given time you will have on a lower side 100 trainees at different stages of training varying from

  1. Voice and accent
  2. Process training
  3. QC
  4. Management development programs for supervisors
  5. Rooms occupied for client visits etc.

All this makes the training rooms a very scarce resource for any company. Not just training rooms the trainers also need to be available.  We need to remember that trainers are a cost to the company and while they add a lot of value by training the future revenue generators they themselves do not directly contribute to the revenue of the center. This creates a very peculiar situation and no cost center head wants to have trainers beyond a particular ratio.

This brings us back to the earlier input by Shoeb Ansari, while it will  help to  identify potential attrition cases much earlier it still does not solve the problem of hiring non serious players in the first place. This is where the HR team can play a critical role.

But still as they say something is better than nothing; it makes more sense to conduct training to the live process time an employee will work in.

We would love to hear your inputs about the same. If you have liked this article feel free to share with your friends, and colleagues on your social networks like Facebook LinkedIn etc. If you would like to receive regular updates from CafeBpO please use the subscribe by email option on this page ( We do not sell, rent or donate your email address to spammers)

If you would like to contribute  for CafeBpO please use the Contact CafeBpO form to get in touch with us.

 November 21, 2012  Posted by at 7:16 PM Business of BpO Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on Call Center Training in Night Shift-Two sides of the coin
Nov 192012
 

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A Perfect Candidate for the Call Center

 

Most companies have learned the hard way to go for rigorous employee background check in the BpO business. Every one is looking for a perfect candidate for the call center who will be happy to work in night and give productivity with quality. It became even more rigorous when reports emerged in media about some employees in a bank back office in BPO were found to be misusing the credit cards of customers to do online shopping. This is serious fraud and not just fudging the CV, fortunately a lot of employees are restricting to just lying on the CV,  fortunately a lot of employees are restricting to just lying on the CV. No we are  not condoning the practice of giving wrong information on CV, but only saying that it is very common and practiced in both BpO and ItO. While companies have put in processes to do verification for lateral hiring a lot need to be done in case of freshers. A case study is given below.

Take case of Amita S. (name changed).

Amita is what we call the perfect candidate and trainee for call center. She is willing to work in any shift, is an energetic fresher, speaks very well comes  and is a perfect candidate for the voice process of the call center as per the recruitment team of the call center who hired her. Why we say candidate and trainee? Because that is all she does, you see she comes from a family where night shift is not permitted. This leads t o interesting things. Amita wants to work and make some money but her family will never let her work in night shift. She is not very keen to work in a back office process and wants to work in a voice process where the money is supposedly better.

Solution? Simple.  Amita joins a company as a fresher undergoes voice and accent training for 15-days to month, scores very high. Then undergoes process training for another 10-15 days, by this time she has received about 20-30 thousand rupees in form of salary depending on one or two salary cycles with the company. Now comes the time to join live process and that is in night shift and suddenly she develops cold feet and vanishes. The cell phone is off and she is not traceable the HR team is able to locate here land line number with great difficulty or a cab is stopped at her home one day to find out about her. The gentleman who opens the door is not very receptive and shoos the caller away.

In the mean time Amita has joined as trainee in another call center as a fresher trainee and undergoing voice and accent training.  If you are part of a recruitment team or training team of a call center this must be a familiar patter you would have noticed. Perfect candidates just vanish after receiving a salary or two. What can be done to avoid these things?

Well we will talk about this in a future post, before that would love to hear your inputs on the same. If you have liked post feel free to share it with your friends and follow us on Facebook.  If you would like to receive all future posts then subscribe to our  free email alerts for our readers.

 November 19, 2012  Posted by at 4:59 PM Career In a BPO, Case Study Tagged with: ,  4 Responses »
Oct 212012
 

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In the last post we talked about why it is a myth that BPO job is an easy job. Part of the reason to believe that BPO jobs are easy is as a lot of companies have expanded at a very rapid pace in last 10 years, leading to an explosion in the growth of jobs in the BPO  field. But as we analysed it is not an easy thing to perform in a BPO and one need to have different skills. This post we will look into why the back office jobs are also not as easy as they are made out to be.

Typically the BPO jobs are divided into 2 categories at 30,000 ft. level.

  • Voice jobs
  • Non voice jobs

This is a very high level division of the BPO jobs, and of these the non voice jobs are typically considered to be easy jobs by most people.  We would like to break this myth, as whether a job is easy or tough has got nothing to do with voice or non voice. In our opinion it is based on the  decision-making authority vested in the person performing the job that should be decide if it is an easy job or a tough job. We will analyse these jobs later in a future post. Today let us analyse one of the jobs that is considered to be easiest in the BPO industry namely data entry.

Data entry process is considered to the most easiest of the jobs in the BPO industry. A typical data entry operator is supposed to Key in the information she sees on a scanned form into a software. Sounds easy? Sure let us look at it at a more granular level.

You have a scanned form in writing from a loan applicant who has scribbled his application on a paper with a hundred cuts, over writing, entries into wrong field etc. you get the gist. Now the Data Entry Operator is supposed to not only understand what the applicant has written, decipher the cuttings and over writing, and also find out if the written information is in the right field. All this they have to do when typing at a speed of 45 wpm with an accuracy of 99% or above. I hope you get it.

So our point is not that you can not do it, thousands of people in India do it day in and day out but it requires specialized training, discipline and dedication. On day one no body who joins a BPO company is geared up for all this. Due to which all BPO companies maintain training department who work round the clock to train the new hires into the basics of a process before they are handed over to the operations team for more in-depth training.

The point we are trying to make here is that while BPO field is full of opportunity it is not a cake walk and it is a tough job which requires specialized training and discipline. If you are geared for the rigours of training and hard work and follow the process nuances every single day only then come and join the BPO business. Please so not think about getting a BPO job considering it to be easy money. Trust us it is not easy money it is a lot of hard work, as we will demonstrate in future posts.

Team Cafe BPO

 October 21, 2012  Posted by at 10:57 PM Career In a BPO Tagged with: , ,  Comments Off on Are You Cut Out For BPO Jobs-II