Home > Get Ahead > Careers > Jobs
'BPOs are a stepping stone to greater things'
December 20, 2005
Here's a bit of advice for those who of you thought a career at a call centre couldn't move beyond a point. "If you are able to sell the fact that, because of your BPO experience, you now possess soft skills to complement your technical skills, it may be appreciated. You have to make that case."
The advice comes from BPO training expert Nasha Fitter, who chatted with Get Ahead readers on December 15.
Nasha Fitter is the CEO of Fitter Solutions, a communication and training company. She is an expert in vocational and communication skills management for BPO and service-based organisations and conducts private classes for individuals.
She is also involved with the upliftment and development of rural youth through basic education, vocational training and entrepreneurship, and writes for a variety of publications.
She has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:
Part I: 'BPO has definite growth prospects'
dkuttappan: Hi ! good to find you replying the querries of the youngsters. In fact we are in the IT industry since more then 2 decades. But presently we are giving our services in a small town having a population of around 10lac. We have heard a lot about the BPO and are little aware also about the same, but the exact kind of working looked after by BPO is still not very clear.In fact we are interested to start a BPO and would seek your guidence from where to start and what kind of investment would be required ?
Nasha Fitter: A BPO is just a fancy acronym for a company in India that does work for companies outside of India. For example, Americans need their taxes done, and Indian accountants fill out the forms. To open a BPO, you need to market your services to clients abroad. That will be the key challenge for a small town. But you probably won't face the key problem facing big-city BPOs: attrition.
Arvind: Hi Nasha don't you think that a BPO can be a hindarance is someone's career?
Nasha Fitter: Arvind: Everything is how you sell and package it. It is true that some engineering companies and IT companies do not value BPO experience. But if you are able to sell the fact that, because of your BPO experience, you now possess soft skills to complement your technical skills, then it may be appreciated. You have to make that case.
umraz: Hi nasha, how would you consider BPO for a person who would like to establish his entire working career(say till he is 45yrs) into it.
Nasha Fitter: Umraz: I am a big believer that the BPO and KPO boom will continue and that these are exciting industries for any entrepreneur. BPOs are not just call centres. They involve doing process-driven work for clients abroad.
manish_kh31: hai nasha,i am working with a domestic bpo co.would my future is better in it or else i have to try an international bpo co.
Nasha Fitter: Manish: Domestic BPOs are good places to start. But you will grow your exposure to international clients and working conditions if you join an international BPO. That will put you a step closer to being part of the global economy.
sasi: Can u suggest how to improve the communication skill? Is it difficult for the pupil who studied in the some regional schools. I am trying from the fast 2 years to improve my communication skill. Result is in that much positive way.
Nasha Fitter: Sasi: If you've already tried grammar books and self-learning, you may be frustrated. Many books are either too complicated and unappealing; too basic; or simply not tailored for the Indian customer. I would suggest taking interactive classes where you can role play and learn by doing.
Arvind: Nasha what do you feel about this statement "Call center are a way of expolitation of the English speaking 3rd grade countries like India, China, Pakistan".What is career options do you have after working in a BPO for 3 years?
Nasha Fitter: Arvind: I don't believe it's exploitation because outsourcing has significantly helped India's historic GDP expansion. Also, outsourcing has allowed many young people to go from making Rs 3,000 a month to Rs 15,000 a month -- much more than their parents ever made.
jiban: hi nasha..should girls be allowed in the night shifts of BPO.
Nasha Fitter: Jiban: What centuries of protests have failed to achieve, call centres have achieved within a decade: Call-centre jobs, being neutral between the sexes, have created a wonderful way for women to leave the home and gain professional respect. The night shifts are just a part of that and, as long as you are responsible and prudent, there is no reason that a night shift is any different from the day.
aditya: Please say something about the KPOs and opportunities existing therein . Thanks
Nasha Fitter: Aditya: KPOs are booming, especially in financial services and legal services. Thus, if you're a banker, accountant or lawyer, there are many opportunities. The one problem many KPOs face, though, is that their employees find it difficult to make insightful syntheses of vast quantities of data and to write in a high-level way.
bpoisshit: mam why r u misleading ppl we all know itz a job for ppl way down the value chain....who r losers and can do nothing btr ..if u really want good life guys study ..u know cause that is the only door to success..not taking calls from dumb americans...
Nasha Fitter: bpoisshit: It is happy for you if BPOs are not necessary. But 390 million Indians live on less than Rs 50. 700 million Indians live in 650,000 villages where opportunities remain a distant dream. In my experience, many of them don't see BPOs as something for losers, but rather as the first step on a long journey of self-development.
arvind s: Nasha I agree with your explanation of BPO contributing to GDP, but I would like to know your feeling about these same Engineers and Professionals who are have ATKT's and work in BPO's for shortwhile only to realize later that they cant study anymore and don't finish their degrees, as they need money to maintain their standard of living. These same Professionals could have completed their respective degrees and would have contributed more to the GDP as Professionals.
Nasha Fitter: Arvind: Every independent human being is responsible for her own future. BPOs and KPOs are an opportunity. What you do with that opportunity is, in the end, up to you. A BPO can be a stepping stone to greater things, or a dead end. For instance, I worked as a customer-service rep in college. Some of my colleagues then are still doing that. I have moved on, became a Wall Street investment banker and now run my own company.
mukeshn: WHAT IS TO BE DONE WHEN THEIR ARE MORE THAN ONE PERSON TAKING INTERVIEWS TO AVOID NERVOUSNESS
Nasha Fitter: Mukesh: First of all, everyone gets nervous in interviews. The key is to use that nervousness to your advantage, as a way to keep you at your peak performance. Use each interview to learn, and if you don't get the job, be sure to ask the interviewers what went wrong so you can learn. If you start enjoying your interviews and using them as learning lessons, you will be able to get stronger with each grilling.
Gokul: Do BPO willing to take postgraduates ?
Nasha Fitter: Gokul: If you are a postgraduate, perhaps it is better to look at a KPO. KPOs are higher-end BPOs, and you can use your postgraduate experience while still working for companies abroad and earning higher pay.
Viral: Nasha-"700 million Indians live in 650,000 villages where opportunities remain a distant dream" - you want to tell us that Call Center jobs are for this class? I'm sure you're kidding. I always think BPO jobs as an option for lower-educated urban kids. Do you have any statistics which can turn my assumptions wrong?
Nasha Fitter: Viral: Economies are not bubbles isolated from each other. They are completely interconnected. Our company has actually been working to train people in villages to improve their villages, so hopefully, as call centres move outside too-expensive cities, village dwellers will form the next wave of agents.
Krupa: Why do girls and guys working in BPO had dress so crazy...Agreed they work for western clients and spaek western tone that does not mean they have dress so crazy..!!
Nasha Fitter: Krupa: I could not agree with you more. I think BPOs have taken the worst of the West in many ways. There is not one financial services company in the West where you will see employees wearing sandals and jeans, and holding hands with their sweetheart colleagues. Yet in most call centres this is, sadly, the environment that has been created.
joslyn: Is your company catering to the needs of BPO's or else are you looking at traning indian companies. I read on your site that Yes Bank is using your company to train their employees...
Nasha Fitter: Joslyn: Yes, we train BPOs and KPOs and many Indian companies, as well as universities and individuals who come to us directly.
Part I: 'BPO has definite growth prospects'
Part III: Don't want to do night shift in a BPO?
DON'T MISS!Want a piece of the BPO pie? Want to crossover to a BPO? How to make BPO jobs interesting Where BPOs advertise for managers Got the skills for a BPO career? Assess your BPO skills! Why do people join BPOs? Want excitement? Step into a BPO! Rise fast in a BPO! MBAs can work in BPOs too! How to handle abusive BPO customers