The Philippine Call Center Industry Ranks # 1
There’s a reason why in 2010 the Philippines became the world's #1 offshore call center outsourcing destination. Now, more than ever, business decision makers know that success leaves clues and results are the bottom line. The BPO and the call center industry in the Philippines presently employs more than 600,000 people in total, staffing over 600 call center companies and, as the largest and most profitable single sector of the Philippines economy, is projected to surpass its revenue target of US$12 billion for 2012.
What accounts for this meteoric rise to world dominance in the highly competitive, high-tech, and skill-intensive industry BPO and Call Center services industry? And here’s why:
One of the primary reasons to outsource to the Philippines is because Filipinos have a strong cultural affinity to the West. This of course comes from their long historical association with Spain and the US. Filipinos watch US movies, read US magazines, buy US fashions, and use US products... all of which gives them a more natural familiarity with the products and services they support in call centers where they work.
Obviously this cultural familiarity is highly conducive to a high level of proficiency in using and understanding contemporary English language. In fact, English is the official language of the Philippines. It’s taught in the schools right along with Tagalog, the native Filipino language. Since Filipinos are so deeply immersed in English on a daily basis, amongst the English speaking world, the Filipino English accent is recognized as being the easiest to understand and the most neutral. This is one of the main reasons why Filipino agents do so well.
Another reason to outsource to Call Centers and BPO
companies in the Philippines is the large, well educated and highly motivated labor pool. The best and brightest Filipinos gravitate toward Manila and the BPO and call center industry primarily centered there because they recognize that’s where the best career opportunities are.
No matter what skill your inbound, outbound or BPO process requires, it’s available through Philippine BPO and Call Center service providers. You’ll also appreciate the work ethics of Filipino agents because they truly appreciate and enjoy their jobs. Unlike the worker and working climate in Western
countries, you’ll find virtually no labor problems with Filipino agents. Related to the labor pool is also the fact that the cost of living is relatively low in the Philippines that also means that respectable wage levels are lower. Wages average 50-80% less than in developed, Western countries thus you get an excellent ROI and lots of highly qualified labor for a very reasonable price when you partner with a BPO or call center services company in the Philippines.
Call Centre Philippines - Destination of Choice for UK & Australian Businesses
The most recent trend surfacing in the Philippines inbound and outbound call centre industry is the growing recognition of what it has to offer for cost and quality conscious businesses and industries in the UK. Whereas the Philippine call centre industry is commonly recognized as the offshore inbound and outbound call centre outsourcing destination of choice for US companies, 2012 is seeing major recognition of the importance and value of Philippine contact centres to UK and Australian markets too.
The Philippine call centre industry, representing both inbound and outbound call centre processes of all types, is expected to bill over $12 bn (US) in 2012, of which 30-35% is projected to come from the Australian and UK customers. Currently 18% of Australian call centre outsourcing goes to the Philippines whereas only 4% goes to India.
Another example of the importance of the Philippines call centre industry to UK and Australian markets is the declaration of Philippines as the “Offshoring Destination of the Year” by the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) in the UK.
This marks the third time that the Philippines has won this coveted award in the UK. The first was in 2007. This is, in fact, a ‘big deal’ because the NOA is the only outsourcing trade organization in the UK and it represents the interests of end users, vendors and other types of companies related to outsourcing of call centre type services.
And it’s not just in the area of inbound and outbound call centre services where the Philippines is getting major attention either. Industry observers note that the Philippines is also becoming stronger and stronger in multi-channel contact centre services,
BPO services and IT services and support. This trend, relative to UK and Australian markets, is accelerating as the global economy continues to experience rough and uncertain times. UK companies wanting to outsource their contact centre requirements such as telemarketing, lead generation, customer service and tech support have discovered the advantages that the Philippine call centre industry has to offer.
UK companies are attracted to Philippine call centre outsourcing providers such as PITON not only because of the excellent, high-tech facilities and infrastructure available but also because
of the tremendous cost advantage. Another important reason is the customer experience in general. PITON’s call centre agents get very high marks from UK consumers for their high level of English proficiency and courtesy. In earning this recognition, it’s also interesting to note that the Philippine contact centre industry beat out several other high-level provider destinations in the industry…i.e. India and South Africa.
Several other factors contributing to the emerging dominance of the Philippines contact centre industry include the following:
- • The Philippines is the largest English speaking country in Asia and in fact English is one of two official national languages of the country (the other language being ‘Tagalog’).
- • The Filipino character is especially comfortable and proficient in ‘service’ type functions whereas other nationalities don’t score as high relative to ‘service’.
- • Filipinos have always had very close cultural ties to the US and the UK and therefore are very comfortable marketing to and servicing US and UK consumers, products and services.
- • Even though the Philippines is considered a ‘developing country’, Filipinos travel a lot and often are very familiar with the areas and markets they service.
As this trend continues, call centres in Manila, the largest and most sophisticated hub of both inbound and outbound call centre services in the Philippines, continue to get more inquiries and visits from UK and Australian business leaders and decision makers who are looking for the advantages of offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) which they’ve been hearing so much about.
The Philippines Call Center King of The Jungle
Any time you have a business where large amounts of money are being spent by consumers and/or customers, you’d expect it to be very competitive. Such is the case with the call center and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry. It seems like the whole English-speaking world is suddenly waking up and discovering offshore outsourcing.
A recent article in Asia Times Online suggested that, because of recent significant improvements in the Philippines economy and a recent increase it the country’s debt rating by Standard
and Poor, the country rightfully deserved a position as the newest of the SE Asian “Tigers”. This is remarkable considering that it wasn’t that many years ago that the Philippines was considered the ‘sick man of Asia’.
The article went on to describe how the primary causes of this economic miracle are the country’s very healthy export sector and its dynamic call center and business processing outsourcing sector. In fact, currently the call center and BPO industry accounts for approximately 10% of jobs offered to new college graduates.
PITON has been been deeply involved in the call center industry since its inception in Manila, and we see the progress first-hand. Walking around in the vicinity of our office in Ortigas (one of the main call center hubs of several such areas in Metro Manila) we daily observe thousands of young and middle aged Filipinos coming and going to their jobs in the many dozens of large to mid-sized call centers just in our area of the city alone.
If your business is considering offshore outsourcing any portion of its customer support, the Philippines (and Manila in particular) is the first place you should look.
Call centers like to base in Manila because it’s where all the young Filipinos come to go to the best colleges and universities and, after graduation, to get good paying jobs. Jobs in the call center industry are highly prized.
Filipinos in general are very proud of their country’s stature in the emerging high-tech call center and BPO industry and without a doubt the jewel of their pride is the industry as seen in mighty Manila, a very diverse, busy, crowded city of approximately 14,000,000 people (depending on how you measure it).
Even though the labor market is a little tighter in the Philippines than it used to be back in the ‘early days’ of the 90’s when the call center business was just transitioning from a ‘back-office’ process oriented industry to a voice-based inbound/outbound oriented industry, good talent is still available at rates 50-60% less than US, UK or Australian ‘on-shore’ rates.
Of course it’s not an ‘either-or’ proposition of what types of services are available. Whatever you want in call center or BPO services is available in the Philippines and particularly in Manila. The Philippines became the number one outbound
destination for voice based call center services in 2010 and, when the final figures are in for 2012, is expected to also be number one in the BPO services sector too. Now….we do it all bigger and better than anybody else. An article in another news publication recently stated that part of the attractiveness of the Philippines as a place to establish a corporate hub or start a business is the very positive growth rate in the population in comparison to not only the US but also even to other Asian countries. This means there’s no shortage of labor competing for jobs that come to the country through the booming call center and other industries.
Everybody in the Philippines wants to work in a call center and when trained and managed properly they’re the reason why Filipinos have such an outstanding reputation for patience, courtesy and problem-solving ability among Western consumers.
At PITON we’ve taken the best talent that Manila has to offer and added our own thorough training in call center best practices, management techniques and cross-cultural awareness to build a truly unique ‘tiger among tigers’ in the Philippines call center industry.
The Philippines - Open for Your Call Center Business
If you’re one of the hundreds of businesses considering offshore outsourcing all or a part of your business operation you’ve obviously got choices. Up until just recently India was the major player in the offshore call center and BPO business. And there’s also much smaller service sectors for offshore call center outsourcing in Latin American and even South Africa.
But there’s a new tiger in the jungle. No country compares to the advantages of the Philippines as evidenced by the fact
that this year (2012) the Philippines will surpass India as the number one offshore destination for BPO services and they already were the number one offshore destination for call center, voice related services.
Why is that?
A big part of the secret is the cultural affinity that the Philippines and Filipinos have with the West and especially the US. Going back to their quest for independence around the turn of the 20th century, the Philippines has learned a lot about Americans, American culture and Western products in general. They’ve also learned a lot about Western and US style
business practices. So…if you’re going to trust a part of your business success to the hundreds or even thousands of agents who typically staff such operations, wouldn’t you prefer to employ workers and managers who understand your language, culture, and commerce?
A recent article in the Global Business section of the NY Times stated that the Philippines is, “the world’s leading provider of voice-based outsourcing services….” and further called the Philippines “…an economic bright spot in Asia.” The primary reason they said that is because more and more US, Canadian,
UK and Australian companies are finding just the right type of call center services and employees they want in the Philippines especially in Manila, the leading and primary call center hub in the country.
What especially makes Filipinos such a perfect match for English-based customer service is that most Filipinos speak good English and are very familiar with US and Western products and culture. Manila is where all the biggest and best call centers are based because of the excellent labor market there. The Filipinos who are fortunate enough to meet the
stringent qualifications of most call centers in Manila earn very competitive salaries, have above average benefits and a solid career path if they so choose.
A recent article in Rappler.com stated that the Philippines will be the 6th fastest growing economy in the world between 2010 and 2050. A big part of that is because it is ideally situated both culturally, geographically and even politically to be the perfect intermediary between US and Western English speaking markets and the fast growing economies of Asia and the Pacific Rim. If you’re like so many companies and considering offshore
outsourcing to the Philippines, you’d be strongly advised to take a serious look at PITON, one of the leading mid-sized call center groups in Manila. PITON has been active in the Manila and Philippines call center market for over 10 years and offers a highly unique blend of local cultural awareness coupled with US and European management expertise. PITON operates multiple call centers in the Manila area and specializes in highly English-proficient agents, well-trained, well-managed and properly motivated to give you the absolute best in service to boost sales, service and support metrics.
Advantages of Outsourcing to The Philippines
Any time a company makes a major ‘move’…i.e. comes out with a new product or service it usually creates a downstream need for more support of various types. One such need is usually inbound and outbound marketing but most technical products, whether hard goods or software, will also require an increased need for Technical Support and Help Desk services.
Tech Support and Help Desk Services
Setting up an inbound process such as Technical Support,
especially when it is outsourced to a third party vendor, requires considerably more time and expense than a basic outbound sales or lead generation process, thus anything that expedites that for the company is worth considering. To the extent that a company can outsource such activities, it frees up valuable resources to allocate to their core competencies.
Trends in the offshore outsourcing industry show that the Philippines is making strong inroads in providing Tech Support and Help Desk services for US, UK and Australian companies and it’s not because they’re cheaper because either because
they’re not. In fact, agents in the Philippines do get paid slightly more than their counterparts in India. But there are other reasons why the Philippines is on the way to becoming the number one offshore destination for Tech Support and Help Desk Services.
Basically the reason is that the customers find working with a Filipino agents a much easier and pleasant experience. This translates into better ROI for the company. A satisfied customer is one much more likely to keep the products/services they’ve got and/or make further purchases from the same company.
There are three basic reasons for this better customer/agent experience. The first reason is that, generally speaking, Filipino English is easier to understand for Americans. This has a very positive effect on call handling time and the ultimate outcome when handling technical matters.
Filipinos learn their English based on a US educational model. In contrast, Indian call center agents are trained in the British educational model and they quiet naturally tend to use words and idioms that US consumers are not familiar with.....sometimes resulting in longer call handling times and frustrated customers.
The other reason is that Filipino tech support agents have a well-deserved reputation for being extremely patient and courteous in working through tech support problems. In the typical tech support process, as the client is ushered through various levels, they often also become increasingly impatient and sensitive, making agent communication skills even more important. Filipino agents are the clear choice over Indian agents in any process involving clear communication and English skills.
A third reason is that Filipino agents grow up and live in a
consumer economy more closely matching the US than Indian agents do. Filipinos buy and use US products, services, watch US movies, US TV channels, American sports, many of them marry from the US and many of them have family and friends who live in the US.
This means that the Filipino call center agent often has a much better level of empathy with the person they’re talking to on the line when they’re working through tech support problems or a Help Desk issue. It also often means that they have a more visual understanding of the person they’re talking to on the line
and/or their use of the product or service being discussed. Setting up a Tech Support function shouldn’t burden a company just because they want to bring a new product or service into the market. Those companies should be able to focus on their core competencies and challenges in understanding their market and their customer’s needs and coming up with new product or service ideas to address those needs.
Outsourcing to the Philippines allows them to delegate that responsibility to a company in the Philippines with the experience, management, infrastructure and technology to
provide the Technical Support or Help Desk support they need to maintain happy customers and a good ROI.
Inbound and Outbound Customer Service In Philippines Call Centers
The bread and butter of the Philippines call center industry is inbound customer service. Outbound processes are important too but they are usually marketing or sales oriented. Nevertheless they both fit in very nicely with the natural Filipino disposition of patience, courtesy and helpfulness. When the call center business originally came to the Philippines aver 10 years ago it was initially just some back-office function and nobody had any inkling that the Philippines call center industry
would eventually surpass the leader at that time…India. But that’s exactly what has happened. Today, not only is the Philippines the number one offshore destination for inbound and outbound call center services but it’s going to own the coveted number one title for technical support facets of the industry by the end of 2012 too. The Philippines, and especially Manila where all the largest and best call centers chose to get established, has so much to offer their clients that even major Indian BPO companies have been forced to relocate significant portions of their resources there because their customers, many of whom are Fortune 500 companies, are demanding it.
Although these Indian companies weren’t initially too happy with the expense of getting set up in the Philippines, today, because of the superior performance they get from their Filipino inbound and outbound call center service agents, they are all experiences greater growth rates in the Philippines operations than their Indian based operations. English speaking consumers in Western nations generally agree, in surveys, that the Filipino call center agent is the easiest to understand, the most patient and generally the easiest to deal with. Whether it’s inbound or outbound sales…the superiority of the Filipino agents is unmatched in the call center industry.
Many years of experience by hundreds of companies big and small (many of them Fortune 500 companies) have shown clearly that Filipino call center agents, when properly hired, trained and incentivized are capable of providing all manner of call centers services at quality standards very comparable to on-shore agents but at a fraction of the price. Filipinos relate very well to the people they service in their inbound and outbound sales duties for at least two reasons. One reason is that Filipinos are very knowledgeable about world geography because so many of them travel, or know people who have traveled or worked abroad.
The other reason is that by Filipinos grow up buying and using many of the same products that consumers in the US and other western nations use. This means that sometimes they’re talking about products and services they’re actually familiar with. The Philippines was just recently ranked as one of the ‘new Tigers’ of the Asian economy. And rightly so because the country has an abundant supply of ready, willing and highly able labor to staff the call center industry which has become one of the driving forces of the booming Philippines economy.
Lead Generation via Outsourced Telemarketing Business is tough today but there’s very few business problems that more and better lead generation won’t solve. Piton, well established as the premier medium-sized call center group in Manila, has found the ‘sweet-spot’ for what today’s ROI oriented companies want in telemarketing and especially lead generation call center services.
If you’re a company newly looking at offshore outsourcing for your lead generation or any other aspect of your telemarketing,
you’re no doubt considering the Philippines. In the Philippines, Manila proudly resides as the epicenter of both quality and value. In less than 10 years the Philippines and particularly Manila has skyrocketed from an ‘overflow’, non-voice to the number one offshore destination for voice-based, inbound and outbound call center services as well as first rate tech support services too.
Of course lead generation is one of the services most requested by the US, UK and Australian companies which Piton services and lead that requires a very precisely talented and
trained call center agent. Piton delivers the very best lead-generation metrics for our customers because of a unique blend of capabilities. First of all, Piton draws upon the large, well-educated and highly motivated labor market in Manila. Although there are smaller call centers in other areas of the country, by far the largest and best call center companies prefer to headquarter in Manila. One of the reason they prefer Manila is because it’s where the best infrastructure is.The other reasons the Philippines call center industry is centered in Manila is because, first of all, Manila is where the biggest labor market is.
All the young college graduates that make up most of the staff of call centers prefer to reside in Manila because it’s where they can have the best life and the most upward mobility.
Secondly, it’s also where most of the management prefers to live too.
Where Piton differs from the rest of the players in the mid-sized call center niche is that we are big enough to provide the quality of service of much larger (and more expensive) international call centers but small enough to operate within a much more affordable cost structure while still maintaining the highest quality standards and provide much more personal service.
Another key element of Piton’s success formula over the years is that we recognize the absolute critical importance of impeccable English among our agents and supervisor level staff who perform lead generation duties.
It is perhaps because our top management are all native English speakers that we’ve been able to recognize and hire the best English-speaking agents that Manila has to offer. We don’t need to train our agents in excellent English because they already speak it (although of course we do have excellent quality control too).
This excellent English language ability means excellent ROI for the money that you invest in our services. Offshore outsourcing is 40-50% cheaper than US, UK, or Australian equivalent services and we pride ourselves in delivering not only superb value, quality service and in making your transition from ‘in-house and on-shore’ to ‘offshore and outsourced’ easy and painless.
Don’t hesitate to give us a call at any time. Unlike many others, we will call you back!