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Do I join the IT or BPO industry?
Career vs money -- which is better?
Let's say you have a professional degree, but are keen on riding the BPO wave. Should you branch into a career related to your field of study or opt for the latter? That is part of a question posed by Get Ahead reader Anita.
BPO training/communication consultant Nasha Fitter of Fitter Solutions has an answer for her.
Do you have a question for Nasha, too? Ask us!
"I have completed my BE in computer science and would like to join a BPO. I have a year of experience in an ITES project. My current work is done mostly through e-mail and telecom. If a situation is not in control, we call a customer and get their exact requirement before proceeding with the work. Is this what 'inbound calling' means?
Secondly, what is the growth like in a BPO firm, as compared to a job in the software industry? Most of my friends say there is no growth in the former � you retain the same position until you leave the organisation.
Thirdly, what is a voice-based and non-voice-based job? Which of the two will suit me better? Do I have to undergo any courses before entering the BPO industry? What sort of salary can I expect?"
I will try answering your questions in the order asked:
Firstly, if you are calling customers to verify details or for any other purpose, you are doing what is known as 'outbound calling.'
Secondly, if you are a computer programmer and are interested in software, I would suggest you find a job in a software company. There is a huge demand for computer engineers and, if you have the right skill-set, you should be able to find a well-paying job.
It is not true that there are no career prospects in a BPO. However, the prospects are more business-focused. For instance, if you are a good agent, you can get promoted to the post of Team Leader. If you do well, you can become an Assistant Manager. You can keep moving up the corporate chain into higher management positions. You can also become a trainer if you are a good communicator and are interested in that field. If you are not interested in management or training though, from a career prospective, I don't believe there is any point in your working for a BPO.
Now, if you are interested in merely improving your communication skills, working for a BPO would be a good idea. Voiced-based processes involve you calling customers or them calling you (hence, the usage of your voice). Non-voice-based processes include e-mail support functions and other back office functions that do not involve you speaking to customers.
Lastly, the average pay at the agent level, at most international BPOs, is Rs 15,000 a month. This may be more than what you would make as a programmer at your level. But, I would seriously advise you to not consider how much money you will make today, but focus instead on how much you will be able to make in coming years. When you are young, you should be thinking about your future career; not just near-term cash flow. In your case, especially, it seems you have already had some customer service experience (both voiced and non-voiced). Thus, if you are not interested in management and business, I would suggest you do not waste time working for a BPO as a customer service agent.
Do you have a question for Nasha? Write to us!
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. 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.
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