Nine Years as a Call Center Agent

It was back in the year 2009, I chanced to read a book which I would later be thankful for influencing my life in a way which that it helped me grow into an audacious and strong-willed person that I feel I am today. Chetan Bhagat’s One Night at the Call Center, a profound masterpiece would later encourage me to become a part of call center industry in Nepal and would also set a benchmark for my professional conduct.   

As a sixteen-year-old teenager, now free and directionless, thrust directly and unprepared from a decade of hostel life at Budhanilkantha School (BNKS), I was now seeking for job opportunities. In school, everyone was equal but now the financial disparity between me and most of my batch mates were real and wide. To survive in Kathmandu, I had to fight against all odds set before me and in the meantime, discover myself.

As fate would have it, I chanced to stumble upon a temporary job opening at a Call Center. I had but little clue that I would work and hone my professional skills as a call center agent for a long time to come. Another decade long journey ensued (in this field) and my journey so far has been exciting, adventurous and filled with of setbacks and comebacks. At this point of time in life, I am proud to say that I am now working as a Freelance Sales Consultant at my own home-based office, registered as NEXT WEB LLC. at United States of America. The memories that have been created through this long and arduous journey will stay with me forever.

Prior to landing my first job as a Junior Sales Executive at Uniweb Technologies, I had to go through weeks of extensive training at Kumaripati, Lalitpur. Based in Kathmandu, Uniweb Technologies was one of the most thriving Call Center at that time. A two week call center sales training would cost me twenty-five hundred rupees; but to my dismay, I had but mere seven rupees in coins in my pocket. I nervously borrowed five hundred rupees from a close friend of my brother and fifteen hundred rupees from an aunt. I was still short of five hundred rupees. But as luck would have it, the owner of Uniweb Technologies chanced to be a maternal uncle of a BNKS junior. He amicably waived the remaining fee.

I learned a valuable lesson that day: No matter how diligent and honest one may be, knowing people was important too, for chances to good luck grew.

During the entire course of this Sales Training I would walk for about three hours from Gongabu to Kumaripati and again walk back the same route in a day. For the next two weeks, I kept the momentum and never missed a class walking for almost six hours a day. I sat for my first job interview after the training with a company called Web Link Solutions. I was in desperate need of this job, for I had managed to pay back all my previously borrowed loans and was again back to clinking the same seven rupees in coins. I didn’t get the job. I was told by the company that I lacked good English language skills. It was probably for the first time in my life that I realized how miserable one feels when one doesn’t get what one needs in life so much. I grew dejected and thought that I will return to my village in Dolpa. I called my mother with the intention of telling her that I longed for home. She replied bravely and tenderly that she will pray for my next interview, if I ever landed one. I started preparing unambitiously and with scant hopes for any such interviews.

About a week later, to my surprise, the same company which had facilitated sales training called me up for an interview. I sat for four decisive hours for the interview along with twenty other potential Sales Agent candidates. I thought that the interview was average. I didn’t mention anything noteworthy. But again, I was lucky. I must add, apart from Chetan Bhagat’s book, I am very grateful in life to a certain movie, The Reader (2008) which I had watched the same week just before the interview. The interviewer, Santa Sir asked all of us in a group discussion session, to brief about the latest movie we had watched. Among all twenty candidates, I was the only individual to have even watched a movie that was released the same year let alone having watched the newest movie. Most of them merely babbled about renowned movies like The Terminator, Titanic and, Jurassic Park.

Being a student of BNKS, I was in habit of watching a movie every Friday and that somehow, uncannily conspired to land me a job in Kathmandu. The interviewer, Santa Sir would also become an important part of my life and career. I got the job. 

I worked at Uniweb for a year. The job started at 8 PM and would end at 5 AM. I gave all I had to this job. It required nine hours of continuous dialing and calling to people on the phone, pitching for sales and pretending to be an American based in U.S.A. We even had a pseudo American names for ourselves. In the first two weeks, I changed my pseudo name four times. I became David, Peter, Ronald, and then Dave, cracking two transfer sales in the first month alone. The first month, known as honeymoon period, is a lenient stretch of time on the contracts of Sales Agents. My Immediate Supervisor and Team Leader, Subash Tamang quickly became my role model. He was a seventeen-year-old Indian-Nepali with unparalleled confidence, attitude, and hunger for sales and numbers. He was my first role model, and I knew that I wanted to be like him and walk in his shoes. Consequentially, I broke the sales record of Uniweb by being in the top of sales chart every month for a year. By the end of fifth month, almost every agent from my batch had left the job and I was the oldest agent already.

I went on to join a startup Call Center called SPARKLEWEBS where I was offered the role of Senior Sales Executive and Supervisor. In addition, owing to my performance at Uniweb, I was also offered a partnership with the apartment-based company. The startup was initiated by Pranish dai, Roshan dai, Bindo dai and Dipesh dai. Pranish dai and Late Roshan dai were colleagues from Uniweb. Joining SPARKLEWEBS turned out to be a right decision for me. I worked enthusiastically and energetically. I learned a great deal of sales techniques. And the added responsibility of a Sales Supervisor helped me grow a lot professionally.

Thereafter, everything changed for good. If it wasn’t for dogged dedication, I doubt I would have made it this far. In the next three years, I worked in two different companies as Sales Supervisor and Sales Team Leader, respectively. By 2013, four years after having left BNKS as a young, anxietic, unprepared, and skeptical individual lacking the wherewithal to survive in Kathmandu, I started as a Freelance Web Consultant and by 2015, I would end up registering my own business in the U.S.A. Today, I am running my own show and I am so damn proud of it.

Most interesting & catchy conversation between Sales Agents and customers I have heard while working at Call Center Web Campaigns:

Conversation One:

Rabbie (Agent) : Sir Can you turn on your computer for me now?
Customer : Sure, what is it you would like to do me now
Rabbie ( Agent ) : Now, can you click on my computer
Customer: Buddy, I am in the USA, How do you expect me to click on your computer from here

Conversation Two:

Bob (Agent): Hello, I would like to talk to Mike ( Customer Name )
Lady on the other end of the line (Customer): Sorry Honey, Mike isn’t in today, I am his mother can I help you with anything?
Bob (Agent) : Hajur Namaste Aunty, Sancahi hunu huncha

Conversation Three:

Customer: I would like to have this advance feature and some other new features integrated in my website
Dave(Agent): Sure, that will cost you additional dollars
Customer: How much extra?
Dave (Agent): $200 at least
Customer: Woe! whay is that so expensive
Dave (Agent): Sir, website is like PAISA FEYKO TAMASHA DEKHO KIND OF STUFF, THE MORE YOU SPEND THE MORE YOU GET.

Lessons I have learned so far: 

  1. You will make a lot of friends.
  2. It can be a long-term career.
  3. You’ll have a lot of fun. That’s very important in work life.
  4. You’ll get chance to enrich your communication and manipulation skills.
  5. You’ll learn to cope up with the dynamics of work pressure and reaching targets.
  6. You sure will be accepting a lot of bullshits, but you’ll learn that, to succeed in life you need to listen more than you speak.

Some Photo Memories I collected along the way in this journey

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