5 Misconceptions about working in the BPO industry

confused young people looking weirded out
You’ve probably heard a lot of things about what it’s like to work in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. You might’ve seen one of your neighbors casually strolling at night on their way to work, then thought, “Maybe he’s a call center agent.” You might’ve seen countless customer support job openings online. Maybe you have a vague idea, but you don’t really know what it’s truly like to work an outsourced job.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about the life and career of contact center employees. Here are some of them.


1.     “BPO” is synonymous to “call center.”

confused flabbergasted asian female call center agent

Not necessarily. Customer service is only one aspect of outsourcing. This encompasses voice support (phone calls) and non-voice support (live chat, email, and social media). BPO offers a wide range of services. Apart from customer service, another aspect of the BPO industry is back office processing. These departments don’t necessarily engage customers. Rather, their functions—such as data entry and content moderation—are geared towards the handling of a business’ administrative functions. Then there’s knowledge process outsourcing, where specialized processes are provided, such as web development, graphic design, legal processes, and research.


2.     All call center agents follow odd schedules.

yawning sleepy call center worker

Again, this depends on the account an employee is working under. Agents should follow the time zones of their customers. If your account is US-based, your shift will most likely be at night, which is what they call the graveyard shift. But most contact centers have rotating shifts, since they need to operate 24/7. For an Australian account, however, you might have to get up earlier than expected in the morning since they’re three hours ahead of Philippine time.


3.     Working in the BPO industry is a mindless, easy task.

stressed office working holdin pen over stacks paperwork alarm clock

The outsourcing sector offers a lot of knowledge-intensive tasks. And even customer support, which is often stereotyped as boring and routine-based, is far from being a mindless job. For instance, it would require your full concentration. You’ll need to handle irate callers and solve a lot of issues within eight hours. If anything, that’s not brainless and easy—it’s tough.


4.     It’s a dead-end career.

stressed office employee

There are many ways to build a long-term and fruitful career in the BPO sector. Continuing to perform your best can may earn you promotions, until you’ve reached a managerial position. Your career will move forward if you work hard for it and commit to learning new skills continuously.


5.     BPO workers aren’t given any growth opportunities.

confused office employee scratching head looking at open door sealed with red brick wall

Fact is, outsourcing companies invest in career development practices for their employees in order for them to grow. Employees may undergo skill trainings, leadership development programs, and more. Some call centers may even offer financial aids, such as tuition reimbursement, for those who want to continue their education.