Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why does Globe discriminate call center agents?

 *This post also appears on

I am basically a nobody. I am just a relatively newly-hired call center agent with enough salary to keep me going. All I wanted– although I knew it is a luxury to have such– is to have a fancy phone as a pat on my back after working so hard every night, staying over the phone and listening to at least 2 Westerners curse at me. The previous sentences are out of the question but then again, I can’t help but feel disappointed when I started to apply for a postpaid plan. I felt disappointed that I can’t get myself into Globe Telecom’s policies.
Actually, not only am I disappointed. I felt discriminated and insulted.
As a Globe Telecom Prepaid user for years, I have been so satisfied with the services they offer. Even though I was with Sun Cellular for a brief period, I still went back with Globe because for me, nothing beats it. So when I set my goal to have myself enrolled in plan for a smartphone, I chose Globe already without any apprehension.
So there I was few hours ago: It was payday and I have the money for the deposit they required. I spent the past two months earning my keep just to have the money for deposit. Also, I already have all the requirements set up. I went to the store and presented all the documents they needed and lo and behold, I was asked if I have a credit card with me. I asked why and double checked the list of requirements they gave me. Credit card was never a requirement according to that list but when I asked, they said that for BPO employees applying for a postpaid account, a credit card IS a requirement. When I asked why this requirement apply specifically to BPO employees, they are so quick to reply to say it is the company’s policy.
I felt that I was discriminated and being looked down upon right then and there. Why isolate BPO employees? Why is the credit card requirement for BPO not listed on the requirement list? The only reason I can think of behind this policy is that they profiled BPO employees as “bad-payers” and by requiring us with a credit card would mean assurance that they will get paid. Obviously, such equivocation is a quick generalization and a head-to-toe insult to the whole BPO industry.
It was unfortunate that a telecom company who advertises it self with the slogan “Abot mo” (Within your reach) seem to have itself difficult “to be reached” for call center agents. I know they are up for business and want to secure their revenues, but having a special-case system with BPO employees is way out of line. Are they trying to impute that the BPO industry is so volatile that its workers can’t pay their monthly dues? Are they insinuating that call center agents are irresponsible when it comes to paying bills? Worse comes to worst, do they think that BPO call center agents are too poor to afford their plan? I would understand it better if they do this with all of their applicant, but no, call center agents are singled-out of the group. Had they backed this out with a plausible explanation, it would be more understandable but no, we can only hear them saying, “It’s company’s policy. The End. Goodbye”
Yes, the “protecting the business” part is quite understandable, but putting down a discriminating policy is what irks me the most. It is sad that even though one has already complied with the necessary documents, the application is being denied just because he is working in a very volatile industry. They may argue that call center agents may have their jobs unstable because they keep on shopping from one company to the other and not staying in one company for quite some time, but that is out of the question. They may also argue that US is passing anti-outsourcing law and endangers the entire industry as a whole, but that also is out of the question. One thing is obvious though, they don’t want– or at least it seems to be– call center agents as their customer mainly because they are JUST call center agents. Adding “uneducated” and “inexperienced” may be too harsh and exaggerating but that is how their message came to me.
If I were to give them the benefit of the doubt, the only question in my mind is so simple: Why this policy?

Updated 8:00 PM
Attached is page 1 of 4 of the Globe Price Bulletin as of January 20, 2012. As you may notice, credit card is given only as an option but not as a requirement. Also, there is no special note there saying that BPO companies should have a credit card and enroll in an auto-debit system.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Delving into the Specifics of Globe’s Anti-BPO Policy

 *This post also appears in

Last Friday, I wrote about the apparent discriminatory policy of Globe telecom against call center agents and since then, I received messages from people I didn’t expect to contact me. After posting last week’s article, Globe Telecom denied that they have an anti-BPO employee policy and they don’t require for credit card for such applications. Globe Telecom, through its representative, also contacted me and the representative said that he will get back to me the soonest he hears from their internal team.
Five days and a thousand hits later, I still have yet to hear from them and I am totally confused because the representative and the Globe stores tell contradictory statements. So, I did some clarifications by calling their postpaid hotline and tried to inquire about the requirements.
This time, the Sales Specialist I talked with was very specific with the requirements. For BPO applicants, aside from the 3 major requirements, a credit card will be required for BPO employees working less than 2 years in the current BPO company. Also, the credit card requirement is not mandatory for BPO employees with managerial positions. I was also told that the minimum gross monthly income required to apply for a postpaid line is Php 10,000 (No problem with that as BPO employees, generally, earn more than that). Again, I also asked for explanation about this “mandatory policy” but I was denied of hearing one.
These specifics now raise few questions and let me enumerate them. (For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume we have Employee A who has worked for BPO Company X for more than 2 years and Employee B who has worked for the same company for less than 2 years). Why is Employee A not required to present a credit card? Apart from the duration of tenure, what is the difference between Employee A and Employee B and how can Globe Telecom arrive at the conclusion that the former will pay more faithfully than the latter? Also, how can Globe Telecom know that Employee C- let’s assume this employee has a managerial position- can pay more faithfully than Employee A?  With all of these, it is getting more apparent to me that there is a deliberate intention to make the application more difficult for BPO agents. Furthermore, what is more apparent- and this is my paranoid mind talking- is the assumption that call center agents can not and would not pay for their bills should their application be accepted.
A reply from Twitter said that Globe Telecom has the right to choose which person they will enter a contract with. I totally understand such  but then again, they could have phrased this policy in  a non-discriminatory manner. Whether the reason behind this policy is the high attrition rate or the relatively volatile nature of the industry, the sad thing is that they could get away with their discriminatory remarks. Such generalization hurts me because no proper disclosure was made and this policy remains to be told orally and not in writing. It appears that they have the intention to lure BPO agents into applying then drop their discriminatory policy right into our face.
I know that such policy may not be illegal and Globe Telecom has no legal liability in this particular case but they should be more sensitive enough to their consumer’s feelings. Yes, business is business and safeguarding revenue is their primary goal but that doesn’t excuse them to look down upon BPO agents who apparently are working as hard as the rest of the work force. With the BPO Industry’s relatively significant contribution to our economy, Globe Telecom should really study this specific policy. Better yet, they should refrain from making discriminatory and insulting policies at all times.