How to break cultural barriers in a call center in the Philippines

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A quick trip to any call center in the Philippines will make you realize how diverse these workplaces are. There's a good blend of language, nationality, beliefs—in other words, Philippine call centers are culturally diverse.

Ever since the outsourcing industry became big in the country, everything has changed. Managers, trainers, and even call center representatives have come from abroad to either supervise operations or train people. And now, it's already a common occurrence to see American bosses working with Filipino customer sales representatives and vice versa.

It's no longer rare to see a Filipino trainer coaching a European agent, or hear a Chinese representative speaking the language of a French customer on the other line.

But the question is: how can call center companies in the Philippines manage to break cultural barriers? And if you plan to put up your own contact center firm, would you be able to do it with diversity in mind?

The solution is pretty simple. These are how you can break cultural barriers inside your call center business:

You need to start it with yourself

It's difficult to commence an advocacy or any drive there is if the one who wants to start it doesn't believe wholeheartedly to it. Hence, it must start with you. How could you create a diverse environment if you yourself have prejudice over race, skin color, sexual preference, or race? Enjoying milk tea would be hard if you have lactose intolerance to begin with.

With equality in mind, you'll be able to hire future employees with just skill and competence as qualifications. You must see a person as a person and not as "an American," as "a brown," or "as Catholic," and so on.

You should pass it over to your employees

There's no point in creating change if it's just the head that works on and towards it—the arms, legs, and heart must follow suit, too. The same goes with your company.

Embracing tolerance and equality will be the key factor when you finally decide to draft your would-be company rules and policies. And it goes on when you are training your staff and employees. The moment they see the sincerity of you being fair and not minding each others' differences , they'd naturally follow.

Bring equality and diversity into practice

Writer Van Matre once said that he Earth is in trouble because many people "have literally 'lost touch' with the other life of their planet and they no longer have the necessary strong emotional attachments to sustain them in a healthy relationship with the Earth."

That said, your stand on breaking cultural barriers inside the constraints of your office must be found in every nook and cranny of your business. For instance, you shouldn’t put up posters or office decorations that may offend a specific belief or culture. Also, you shouldn’t mind if an employee comes to the office wearing traditional clothing.

Holding equality and diversity training will also help your entire business environment to be more tolerant about these. It helps everyone understand the cultural makeup of one another and create bridges to understand their differences.

Trainings like this would also help break down linguistic barriers, explain variance in expression or colloquialism, or improve accent to converse in English better.

Your cultural education will go beyond your business. You'll be surprised that by simply having culture and difference-tolerant employees, you're already gaining positive responses from your global clients. Indeed, it must always begin with you, your company, and everything will follow.

While headquartered in San Carlos, California, Open Access BPO's main operations facilities are located in the Makati City, Philippines. We are a multi-cultural outsourcing company that employs workers from different cultures and serves companies from all over the world. Visit our website or join us on Google+ to learn more about our multi-lingual solutions can help your business.