Thousands of businesses have outsourced call centre services in the Philippines. The country is now the world’s favorite destination for call centres, having passed the once-dominant India as the leading choice. The growth of the industry in the Philippines has been explosive. At the turn of the century, there were only a handful of small providers. There are over 800 that collectively employ more than a million Filipinos at all levels. But how has the Philippines emerged as such a force in the outsourcing sector? In a single word: quality. “Call centre services in the Philippines have leveraged some natural advantages and their own investment and development to create a world-class service that is a natural choice for businesses that want to reduce costs but enhance quality,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a leading call centre outsourcing provider in the Philippines.
One of the huge advantages that the Philippines outsourcing industry can offer is its size. Despite its relative youth, it has become a mature economic sector. Outsourcing providers in the Philippines have developed beyond their small beginnings and now offer the full range of call centre services. And as the sector has grown, and providers began to compete, they have developed specialisation, so they are not just competing on price, but on service quality.
While generalist providers remain, industry-leading call centres will now specialise in certain industries and services. For example, providers focusing on the financial and healthcare sectors operate from buildings that have in-built security features to meet the strict privacy requirements of western regulators.
And all this is backed up by the unique talent pool that the Filipinos offer. One of the biggest causes of complaints by customers using call centres is communication. They may find themselves talking to a call agent with a heavy accent or struggle to make themselves understood to someone who is not fluent. This is simply not a problem for premium call centres in the Philippines. “Most communication issues happen with low-cost call centres,” says Ellspermann.
English is an official language in the Philippines, and the country retains a strong cultural connection with the West that dates from its time as a US protectorate. This means that most Filipinos will go to schools modelled on Western education, watch English-speaking films and television, and listen to Western music. When it comes to speaking with Western customers, they frequently have no accent and be fluent to a native level.
“In essence, the Philippine call center outsourcing industry has reached a critical mass. Big enough to provide the services their clients need, running from professional and well-invested operations and utilizing a well-educated and professional workforce,” explains Ellspermann.
And, because of the low-labor costs in the Philippines, they can do this at around 40–50% of the cost of an in-house operation or outsourced call center. Outsourcing to the Philippines enables businesses to reduce costs and enhance the customer experience. It’s an obvious decision to make.