Saturday, April 9, 2011

>Philippine Call Centers: Reinventing E-commerce

>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 as 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
much as 200,000 workers; even BPO companies are
looking for ways to double their work force.

In previous studies, India was still that best choice
for American companies seeking outsourcing services.

However, those who are seeking cheaper options for
more basic services have discovered the Philippines.
With the 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 not only find it easy to
relate to Westerners but 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.

Philippines have the lowest unit costs, highest
quality and lowest attrition rates of any call centers
in the world. The country is very well placed not only
to compete but possibly to dominate in 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 a 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 normally 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. for the outsourcing of 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., there are
also other call centers in the Philippines that have
gained global appeal. The LogicaCMG is one and is also
a major international force in the business and IT
services.

The company focuses on enabling the customers to build
and maintain leadership positions through the use of
deep industry knowledge.

Call center operations in the Philippines have been
credited by several Global BPO providers based on 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.

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