Costs drive many outsourcing decisions. Businesses facing the pressure of customers who demand the lowest possible prices also must meet the demands of investors who want to see profits and good returns on the money they have put into the business. “These competing demands form a pincer, and businesses must balance these demands if they are to succeed,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a leading call centre in the Philippines.
Outsourcing is often seen as an answer, especially offshore outsourcing, which usually offers exceptional savings that can help to meet both demands. One especially popular route has been call centre outsourcing to the Philippines. More businesses now choose to outsource their call centres to the Philippines than anywhere else in the world. And the growth of the country’s outsourcing sector has been remarkable. But what is the offer that makes the Philippines so attractive?
“Cost is, undoubtedly, a major component in the Philippines’ success, just as it is in the initial outsourcing decision. Call centres in the country exceptionally well-placed to serve Western clients,” says Ellspermann.
The scale of the sector is one of the most notable points of call centres in the Philippines. The outsourcing industry employs over a million Filipinos in more than 800 providers. The size means that it is possible to implement and scale contracts rapidly to meet the demands, planned and unexpected, of western clients. The quality if of the workforce is particularly notable. There are high levels of English fluency and education in the Philippines, frequently to the level that callers from places like Australia, the UK, and the US, do not detect an accent and realise they are calling from an offshore location.
The sector has also developed a significant degree of specialism. Operators compete not just on price but also quality. Call centre providers will each be able to offer different qualities, with some focused on exceptionally high levels of data security to meet the demands of finance and healthcare regulators. Other providers will have their own specialism, whether that’s more general customer service, technical support, or any of the other purposes that a call centre might have to address.
And with this comes significant and ongoing investment. The call centre sector represents a big part of the Philippine economy, so the government also supports the sector, setting policy and legal frameworks to help them remain competitive globally. The individual providers also invest heavily, ensuring their physical infrastructure is fit for purpose and developing their staff, offering training and opportunities that in-house services simply cannot match.
“But the biggest advantage is on cost. Choosing a premier provider offering approximately the same level of service will typically be 40–50% cheaper than running an inhouse operation. Indeed, many businesses will find that they achieve this level of service and that their customer satisfaction and retention levels increase as a result. Call centres in the Philippines offer a win-win for businesses looking to save money while improving the customer experience,” explains Ellspermann.