Being an outsider is a feeling Omar Tolentino knows very well. He was born to a Filipino family in Saudi Arabia, where they lived for 15 years until they returned to the Philippines in 2013. The 16-year-old Omar found himself struggling to adjust to the culture in the Philippines, especially that he spoke very little Filipino.
Somehow, such experience has served him well as a professional in the business process outsourcing industry. As a customer service representative in Sitel, he helps customers who are having trouble with a product or service. His background － a Saudi-born Pinoy figuring things out in his parents’ homeland－ makes it easy to empathize with them. Customers and managers have taken notice: in 2019, he was hailed a CXpert, a recognition Sitel gives to its best customer service representatives.
Omar with his Sitel Kabarkadas
Excelling in customer service isn’t what you would expect an introvert kid like Omar to be when he grows up. As the eldest child, Omar thought he should contribute to the family income. So, with the blessings of his father, he left school to look for a job. He was 17 when he first joined the Sitel Barkada back in 2015.
English being his first language, Omar didn’t have a hard time communicating with customers. His goal was to make the customers feel “comfortable.” So comfortable customers did become, that they were often surprised when they found out that he was not American.
Work and help people out— this was the mantra he lived by. His hard work eventually paid off. While other agents only got 20 surveys in a month, he received as many as 60. It was only a short while before he was informed that his calls were one of the chosen few to be evaluated as Sitel Philippines’ entry to the CXperts Challenge Award, a prize given to excellent Sitel agents across the globe.
Omar with Sitel leaders during the Connect APAC Leadership Summit in El Nido, Palawan last February
He won the award and was invited to the awarding ceremonies in the picturesque El Nido in Palawan. It was the first time he was able to visit the island where he was also able to interact with other Sitel leaders during the APAC Connect 2020 Summit. He said that this was one of his biggest triumphs in life.
“I was happy and honored at the same time. I did not expect to win it because I was just doing my work and helping people,” he recalls. It was a surreal moment for him not only because he made it to a world-famous tourist destination but he also got to meet Sitel leaders from the Philippines and other countries.
Now, his calls are being used as an example during training for Sitel agents. He can’t believe that doing his job helping out customers would take him places. The recognition has boosted his drive to succeed in his career and improved his outlook on life. That’s why he welcomes the chance to climb one more step up the career ladder. “If I get offered a higher position, I’ll be optimistic and go for it.”
The family breadwinner, Omar says working in the BPO industry has helped his family a lot. Moreover, he learns new things every day. Among them is the importance of patience. Omar compares it to installing a new software. It happens slowly but results in something great.
To people who wants to work in the BPO industry, he has three pieces of advice: 1. Always pay it forward; 2. Be patient and understanding; and 3. be optimistic. In his 23 years, he has always believed that having a good attitude at work won’t hurt and helping out people will always have a good return.
You can find this and other Sitel stories at voices.sitel.com.