If India is moving up in the outsourcing market, the Philippines is gaining a fair share in the customer-contact call center business.
It might be low-margin and low-end, but it is still considered an employment boom for the Philippines.
For the last five years, the call center business in Makati City, Philippines, has grown 100-fold with as many as 200,000 workers; even BPO companies are looking for ways to double their workforce.
In previous studies, India was still the best choice for American companies seeking outsourcing services.
However, those who are seeking cheaper options for more essential services have discovered the Philippines.
With a long history of contact with the United States, the Philippines are far more attuned to Western culture than most Asian countries.
Employees at call centers find it easy to relate to Westerners and are also quick in adapting a variety of accents.
Additionally, most call center agents are intensively trained to achieve the accent of the country they will be calling.
The Philippines have the lowest unit costs, highest quality, and lowest attrition rates of any call centers globally. The country is very well placed not only to compete but possibly to dominate the sector.
The Training and Responsibilities
Although call centers in the Philippines began with simply providing e-mail responses and handling services, these aspects have developed to almost all types of customer interactions, including travel services, technical support, financial services, customer care, online business, and business support.
Like most call centers, the calls handled by call center agents in the Philippines are categorized into outbound and inbound calls.
Outbound services available include telemarketing, advisories, reactivation of accounts, loyalty program benefits, sales verification, and more.
On the other hand, inbound services cover a broad range of services from all types of technical help, transcription, inquiries, complaints, and billing.
Philippine call center agents adhere to strict performance metrics and are typically assigned in graveyard shifts. They usually interact with customers from all around the globe, mostly from the United States.
In addition, call center agents from the country have undergone training processes, which generally entail phone screening, initial interview, examination, and a final interview.
Top Call Centers in the Philippines
In recent news, a major United States newspaper has outsourced customer care to the Philippines. MediaNews Group, one of the largest newspaper companies in the United States, has chosen the APAC Customer Services Inc. to outsource their customer care.
The call center employs about 4,000 college-educated, English-speaking Filipinos in many contact centers. The services will include subscriber retention, delivery, billing inquiries, and fielding inbound customer calls.
Aside from the APAC Customer Services Inc., other call centers in the Philippines have gained global appeal. The LogicaCMG is one and is also a major international force in business and IT services.
The company focuses on enabling customers to build and maintain leadership positions through in-depth industry knowledge.
Call center operations in the Philippines have been credited by several Global BPO providers based in the United States, mainly due to its world-class productivity and the ample supply of highly cost-effective human resources.
It is also projected that Philippine call centers will have over 300,000 seats, fully employ up to 500,000 Filipinos, and yield as much as $7.3 billion in annual revenues by 2010.