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Time to Love Work Again

Written By Pinoy Tekkie on Huwebes, Pebrero 14, 2013 | 6:33 PM




Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A "you can do it" when things are tough.— Richard M. Devos    

C3 is a Company “Where Love Is In The Workplace”


The holidays got everyone caught up in the hustle and bustle of year-end work, shopping, gift-giving and endless parties. For many, this signalled a winding down of the seasons. For others, it was a time to recollect and think about the year that has just passed and prepare for new beginnings. For those who are looking for a new direction – especially regarding their careers, and are deciding on a different course to take, make that leap; start early, start now. For those who are looking into joining the call center industry, look no further than C3.

            As a contact center in the Philippines, C3 continues to be a breath of fresh air since it was established recently. It passed the 1000 employee mark and now has close to 2,000 employees and five accounts. One cannot deny that its growth is exceptional, but its rise to success is because of the contact center industry experience that its core of leaders brought to C3, along with time-tested methodologies and singular focus on customer solutions.

   More known as C3, but its very essence is found in its full name, C3/CustomerContactChannels. Customer pertains to C3 as a company that serves the customer above all else, with full intent to resolve things quickly, and to do things excellently. Contact means C3 is an expert in contact center management. Channels refers to the way C3 says that for every issue, there is a way, there is an answer.

        

The culture at C3 is anything but ordinary. In fact, a visit to their site at Fort Bonifacio would take you by surprise. All around the halls are posters about Love. Slogans shout out, “Love what you do!”, “Love who you work with!”, “Love learning new things!”, “Time to love coming to work!”
           
The idea about this theme is at the center of C3’s existence. As an offshore Business Process Outsource (BPO) company, C3 Philippines has become a major player in this competitive industry. It fosters an environment where employees take pride and joy in their work.

It is the biggest site of C3 Global. The company founded by David Epstein together with former colleagues at Precision Response Corporation (PRC), is a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company that provides customer management solutions worldwide. The company has customer contact centers throughout the Unites States, Asia, China, Europe and Central America and boasts several Fortune 500 companies as its clients. C3 has become a pioneer in handling multichannel customer care and has created a unique, employee-centric culture that is innovative for the contact center industry.  C3 prides itself in having an entrepreneurial spirit that encourages everyone from the top down to suggest new ideas and try new things to make the company better. Its senior leadership is hands-on and personally involved in all corporate accounts.

It is quite fitting that love is in action at C3. Formed by a small group of friends, colleagues in the call center industry for more than 10 years, this Dream Team became the hotbed of ideas for the ideal call center – the one that is housed in state-of-the-art facilities, the one that utilizes the best practices in the industry, the one that can employ the brightest talents.

Andy Sarakinis, the Philippines’ country manager, first called this group together in the middle of 2011. By then, he had been in the Business Process Outsourcing industry for well over a decade.  He and his close friends had been musing for some time, dreaming of a perfect company that they could put all their skills and efforts in. Because of their history, they brought years and years of experience and tenure. They knew what worked and systems were in place that were adapted to the Filipino culture.

C3 is like an extended family. Andy Sarakinis and Kevin Urrutia are like older brothers to everyone there. As a testament to this atmosphere, the employees call Andy and Kevin by their first names, and vice versa. The management team is often seen on the floor, involved in the work of their people and is available to help in any situation.

If that is not a perk in itself, hear this: C3 has one of the better pay scales in the contact center industry and its benefits package is highly competitive. Yet in spite of its success, C3 prides itself in taking care of its employees first and foremost in more tangible ways than one.

C3 takes a unique approach in hiring employees. ”It’s a very effective way to communicate our overall operating practices – the way we like to treat people and the kind of community we’re aiming to build,” says Rick Ferry, COO. “Essentially, we want our staff to enjoy what they do and be proud of it. Your workplace should be a place where you feel at home and feel valued. With that in mind, we have created a place that has been acclaimed one of the finest facilities that people have seen in the Philippines in recent years.”

Come be a part of an exciting adventure at C3. It’s time to love to work again!





Life Lessons at C3

MANILA, Philippines (December 27, 2012) At only 22, Keshia Faculin, a new employee of C3/CustomerContactChannels, a leading provider of Outsourced Customer Management Solutions, can teach us a thing or two about how life could be lived in a dynamic business environment.
A graduate of the Philippine Normal University with a BSE English degree, Faculin had her sights on becoming a teacher.  “I love to teach,” said Faculin, adding that even before she graduated from school, she, like most of her classmates, had already spent time visiting Koreans to teach them the English language. She was so proficient with her tutoring that she was actually offered a job in Korea—an opportunity she let go of to get her teacher’s license instead.
It was at this point that Faculin’s life changed.  Even though she was set on becoming a teacher, Faculin’s professional goals altered when her sister, who was working as an analyst for a Business Process Outsourcing company, encouraged her to try the contact center industry instead. Her sister said that the job could provide her with the opportunity to teach in the future—should she choose to become a trainer. 

After she heard of C3, Faculin asked her friends who were already immersed in the contact center industry for advice and did her own research on the web. Convinced by the company’s record and word-of-mouth reputation, Keshia applied and was immediately put through training at C3.

Trained as a teacher, Keshia expected the process to be somewhat cut and dry. But the experience was exactly the opposite. “There were no PowerPoint presentations,” she said, noting the interaction that the trainers promoted. “The trainers didn’t see us as employees, but more as colleagues and encouraged us to be motivated.”

In fact, she enjoyed C3’s interactive training program so much that her perspective on her future there became clear. “The facilities are not just built for company success, but are built to enhance individual performance as well,” said Faculin.

The company’s offices in Fort Bonifacio show how the company has grown quickly.  Located on four floors of the building, C3 is equipped with the latest in computers and facilities, including rooms for resting and four cafeterias.  

What’s interesting about the cafeterias, Faculin observes, is how they actually reflect the company’s values.  The company encourages the families of employees to become concessionaires, supplying food to C3’s staff.
What struck Faculin the most was how serious the company practices its core values, which include open and honest communication, accountability and to be supportive of each other and the community.

Faculin appreciated the open channels of communication that were impressed upon the trainees, as the practice enabled them to voice their concerns, develop solutions and apply it to real-work situations. “The training helped people to become responsible,” said Faculin.

Faculin experienced firsthand how C3 helps the community during times of disaster. When monsoon rains flooded Metro Manila and surrounding areas a few months ago, her family was affected. Faculin’s family along with other C3 employees, were offered transportation from the nearest possible point from their homes to take shelter at C3. She wasn’t at all surprised that C3 also allowed employees and their families to use the company’s offices as a place of refuge.

To date, Faculin is a full-fledged member of the C3 family. “I just got regularized,” Faculin announced with pride. What makes her job different is that half of the time she works as an administrative assistant to a company officer, and the other half she spends manning the phone lines as a contact center representative.  This provides her with a unique opportunity to see how open lines of communication work with her colleagues and her immediate superior. 

Faculin appreciated that her fellow co-workers go in and out of the supervisors’ offices like clockwork in order to discuss matters that they think are important. “In other BPOs, when call center agents fail, it’s their own responsibility. But at C3, the practice is that when call center agents fail, he or she still has to take responsibility but the company looks at the process to identify how to overcome the next hurdle,” said Faculin.

Faculin realized her goals have shifted since she joined C3. “My goals when I was a student were very different from those that I have right now. The choices that I make now will clearly determine my future.”
Fortunately, the company’s ethics are comparable with her own. “I can’t speak for all, but I am quite happy and satisfied with my job,” Faculin said.

The company provides activities and opportunities that enable its employees to reinforce company camaraderie, as well as career advancement. These include bazaars, vacations as rewards for accomplishments, sports fests, tree planting, museum trips with family members, financial wellness seminars, etc.  

The C3 University platform focuses on self and career development curricula. It houses the courses under a free program which is open to all employees regardless of their tenure. Those who are willing to attend classes in their spare time for career and skills enhancement undergo particular courses that fit the level of skill that needs to be enhanced. Other various training programs are also offered like the C3 Plus and C3 Labs programs, which can likewise spell a faster climb up the corporate ladder.

Faculin is happy that C3 offers a range of opportunities for enhancement of its employees, while keeping sight of and rewarding their accomplishments as they grow at C3.  She credits this to C3’s capacity to think out-of-the-box as embodied in MAD4C3, an acronym-cum-mnemonic device that means, Making A Difference for C3.  As it turns out, the company provides tokens, whether in the form of gift certificates and movie tickets for employees who become exemplary models of conduct worthy of rewards.

To Faculin, it all boils down to the respect that the company extends to its staff, as well as its willingness to instruct its employees through positive actions. “People are willing to learn from you, but only if you teach them,” Faculin said.




Let the good times roll: Redefining 'call center' work


Working at a call center for over six years now has proven to be worth the extra effort, contrary to common perception.

While being at the front line of customer service may be more financially rewarding than working outside the BPO (business process outsourcing) industry, some misperceptions tend to make potential employees call center shy.

26-year-old Marc Espinosa, admits he was drawn to the BPO industry because salary packages are typically higher. “I’ve been in the call center industry for six years now,” shares the young agent who works at CustomerContactChannels (C3). “I started in the BPO industry in 2006 when it was still relatively young. The company I worked for was already quite established and had multiple sites in Manila. I was already a supervisor then, but I felt that the pay I was getting wasn’t really worth the workload I was putting in,” he shares.

But working for his current company, shares Espinosa, paints an entirely different picture. For one, the company walks the talk when it comes to the culture and core values it proudly promotes: open and honest communication, accountability, and recognition of its people. “The culture is different in C3,” says Espinosa. “It fosters happiness, encourages employees to realize their full career potential, and C3 makes work fun.”


Rules of engagement

Since people tend to spend more waking hours working than doing anything else, work happiness plays a huge part in overall happiness. This is exactly the principle behind C3’s unique and empowering culture.

“In an average call center, what the management team normally looks for are the wrong things being done. But what we do in C3 is highlight the good things,” says Director of Operations Kevin Urrutia regarding one of C3’s internal programs dubbed “MAD4C3”.

“MAD4C3 basically means ‘making a difference’,” Urrutia explains. “The management team goes around the office, sees an employee, for example, sporting a very pleasant face while talking to a customer. We sense that it’s a good call so we go up to him and say, ‘you know what, you’re MAD for C3.’ Because of that, he gets an incentive. And it doesn’t just pertain to calls,” Urrutia injects. “It’s a culture thing; we dish out recognitions every time somebody does well,” he says.

Some may deem this approach to agent engagement quite unconventional, but it actually gets the job done. Espinosa shares that working for C3 has made him more at ease with working at a call center. “It’s not always serious stuff at work. At C3, you can meet your targets and have fun at the same time. I enjoy doing my job not because I have to, but because I actually like what I’m doing. It’s a great environment that encourages us to be professional and have fun at the same time. It’s a more relaxing atmosphere, which actually motivates people to deliver better results,” he says.

Espinosa adds that it really matters that management encourages open communication at all levels. “Anytime we have a concern or issue we would like to address, or have an idea that could make us do our jobs better, our management is always willing to listen. That’s important to me,” he says.

“It’s also great when you work hard and you get rewarded for it. There are always incentives that motivate us to perform. They give that on top of our monthly pay, and it’s not hard to get if you’re very dedicated. There are also monthly raffles wherein they give out mobile phones or even trips to Boracay,” Espinosa enthuses.


Where smiles lead to profits

No matter what size a customer contact center business you work for, the same holds true: people are more productive when they have more positive emotions.
In an industry where the average monthly attrition (employee turnover) rate stands at 10 to 15 percent, C3’s is quite low. “Ours is at three to four percent (3% to 4%) attrition. That’s a very big difference. The bottom line is if you show your people you care, they are better employees on the phones when they talk to customers,” Urrutia asserts.

Once an agent himself before climbing up the proverbial corporate ladder, Urrutia says that he knows what it’s like to be an unhappy agent. “When I worked as an agent 11 years ago, I wasn’t happy and motivated. At that time, nobody talked to me about my performance, I didn’t know what my goals were, there were no incentives in place, and I didn’t even know the boss of the company. I had no open line to talk to any of my managers,” he shares.

Having been exposed to the different aspects of the call center industry, C3’s management team—comprised of BPO industry veterans—knew that if they were to set up the company, they had to do things differently. “We wanted to take out all the negative industry practices,” shares Urrutia.

Today, the call center industry has completely evolved. The C3’s training methodology and how they track the performance of the employees are all well in place. At the end of the day, it becomes a profession of skill or will.

“You’d rather hire somebody who has the will than the skill, because if they lack the skill, you can train them. If you have someone who has the will,” Urrutia concludes, “he or she would come in everyday with the attitude that he wants to make a difference. And that will be felt on the call. That’s the kind of employee we’re after, and it’s why we’ve set up our culture the way we did. It’s a people business, and if you want happy customers, it has to start from within the company. You need to make your employees happy first.”

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