The Face Behind the Phone

Driving for 2 hours to get to work may not be most Australians cup of tea, but for many Manila-based telemarketers it is a small price to pay for a rewarding career.

“Welcome to the Philippines, a place that is now one of the world’s thriving hotbeds of outsourced call centres or better known as BPOs — Business Process Outsourcing”, Trent Leyshan joyfully booms.

Founder of BOOM! Sales, Mr. Leyshan recently visited Manila to develop AGL Energy’s offshore sales capability. Not only was it exciting to be in a new country, but it was also an eye-opening experience that formed the basis of his mini-documentary “The Face Behind the Phone”.

Philippines is the second largest global BPO behind India. As Leyshan explains, “If you think local jobs are being lost to offshore, you are right. Give me the best person for the job, someone who cares and someone who is passionate.”

The documentary

His 7-minute documentary provides a detailed snapshot of five Manila-based employees and their insights into working in the sales industry. It ranges from 23-year-old Deborah, who quit school at 17 and works “tremendously hard” to pay for medicines for her brother, to a new dad Karl, who lives outside of Metro Manila and invites Leyshan to celebrate his daughter’s first birthday.

The documentary gives a palpable sense of family values, gratitude, enthusiasm and a deep-seated desire to create engagement with Australian customers. Leyshan admits nothing could have prepared him for the first day of his sales training. “They were so excited by someone coming over to train them, which made a real impact on me.” He says, as a corporate training professional, “It is in complete contrast to how some people and some companies value training back here in Australia.”

The answer lies with leadership. “Most training fails, as it is not lived and breathed by the leaders of organisations — and I mean live and breath.” This is the fundamental difference between an employee lamenting, “Here is another training session that will go nowhere” and employees “wanting to learn more and more” and have passion for what they do.

Leyshan’s aim is for people to see “the faces behind the phone” and understand that “they are not soulless, faceless manipulators trying to sell products. They are trying to make their way in the world and see this role as a real opportunity.