The Philippines is now home to the largest call center industry in the world, having overtaken the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) giant, India in 2013. Over one million Filipino skilled workers are directly employed in this human resource sector, and that number is expected to continue to rise to 1.3 million by 2016. The immense popularity of Philippines call centers in the BPO sector is due in large part to a perfect combination of two very important factors: Economics and Culture.
In Philippine culture, English is one of the nation’s two official languages and the primary language used in business, schools and government, not to mention television, radio and pop media! So from a very young age the majority of the population is natively fluent in English, with a Spanish-Asian influence that blends into an international accent considered “neutral” by US standards. In the world of outsourced voice-related services, a “neutral” English accent is a huge competitive advantage, especially considering the enormous American market for these global call centers and the very personal nature of the business being transacted one-on-one between the customer and agent. The majority of call center assignments are carried out most successfully when the contactee is made to feel comfortable by the agent, whether they are calling in to the center with a complaint, or receiving a call from the agent with a request for information or sales leads. Filipinos’ native familiarity with western sensibilities helps bridge the cultural divide between east and west, making contactees feel more comfortable throughout the call which feels less foreign than it otherwise might. This Asian ambassadorship to the Americas is nothing new for the Philippines who ran the world’s first regular Pan-Pacific trade route with Manila Galleons to Acapulco for two hundred and fifty years, and forged strong Asian-American cultural links that still exist today.
It’s also been suggested that compared to the western world, the disproportionate amount of tragedy and natural disasters that the Philippines have had to endure as a nation has imbued their culture with an especially resourceful perspective that has a very calming influence on the overall tone of a contact center call. The reality is that agents regularly find themselves having to communicate with angry and aggressive contactees, and so their easy-going, natural aptitude to resolve the call calmly becomes an especially valuable asset to the business brands they represent, like Citibank, Safeway, and Chevron, who all entrust their sensitive customer relations to the Philippines.
Economics is the other major contributing factor to making the Philippines the call center capital of the world. The nation’s financial conditions have allowed for massive, highly efficient call centers to be operated at only a fraction of the cost compared to most other native-English speaking countries where agents are paid up to four times as much just to meet the local minimum wages! This abundance of affordable human resources has encouraged strategic investments in the Philippines by leading BPO corporations, including Callnovo, whose combined operations have improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of highly educated and skilled Filipino workers. They’re providing steady, secure jobs with above average pay scales, on par with the incomes of professional accountants, doctors and lawyers! Indeed there are many examples where career professionals have crossed over to the BPO industry, bringing their specialized expertise to this growing pool of talent!
It’s estimated that the BPO industry will inject $25 Billion (USD) into the Philippines economy next year, representing 10% of the nation’s GDP and generating millions more indirect, spin-off jobs as this affluent work force buys new houses and condos, raises families and sends them to college, and spends on discretionary consumer goods and services.
It’s a Win-Win-Win scenario for the people of the Philippines, the BPO service providers and their corporate clients, and the individual customers! The customers receive the highest in quality service, the BPOs and their clients protect their bottom line and look great doing it, and the people of the Philippines enjoy a much needed human resources employment boom that makes them the number one in the world!
If you want your business to benefit from having a presence in the Philippines, whether you need one agent or one thousand, contact Callnovo to show you how you can improve your customer relations and save money doing it!
- Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India: India’s losing 70% incremental voice & call center business to Philippines: Study, http://assocham.org/newsdetail.php?id=4455
- Business Processing Association of the Philippines: Information Technology-Business Process Management(IT-BPM) and Global In-house center(GIC) Industry Road Map 2016 (Investor Version), http://www.ibpap.org/publications/ investors/it bpm industry road map 2016 investors version
- Philippine Star: ‘Accent’ matters: Philippines acquiring 70% of India call centers,
https://www.philstar.com/business/ 2014/ 04/ 07/ 1309878/ accent matters philippines acquiring 70 india call centers
- L.A. Times: The Philippines has become the call-center capital of the world, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-philippines-economy-20150202-story.html
- LikeJobs: Why the Philippines is the World’s Call center Capital, http://www.likejobs.com/hr-blog/why-the-philippines-is-the-worlds-call-
Key Reasons Why the Philippine Call Center Industry Attracts More Global Investors
Large corporations often outsource their call center needs to other countries for a variety of reasons. While the common stereotype is that everything is outsourced to China, when it comes to call centers, the Philippines is actually home to a very large number of these operations. In 2016, for example, the industry employed 1.15 million people and saw revenue of $23 billion. Businesses from around the world have heavily invested in the Philippines call center industry to great benefit. Here are a number of key reasons why these global investors see the Philippines as the ideal location for call centers.
Cost is often one of the driving factors behind outsourcing. The Philippines offer a high return on investment for investors with few risks. The operating expenses in the country are often lower than those in other locations due to the lower cost of living. This lower cost reduces the cost of the workforce, too. Many recent graduates enter the workforce with a monthly salary that, to workers in the Western world, would be impossible to live on. Due to the lower costs of housing, utilities, food, and other necessities, however, this salary is more than enough to cover these expenses.
The Available Workforce
The Filipino culture places a high value on literacy, education, and knowledge. The country has a literacy rate of over 95%, and education is not only available but easily obtainable to everyone in the country. Employees enjoy taking on new projects and learning new skills, and many have strong creative talents. Before global investors moved into the Philippines, the economy was actually fairly weak, and a number of highly skilled workers sought opportunities outside of the country simply because they felt they could not find work that made use of their knowledge and skills at home.
Today, that is no longer the case. Many works in call centers and other outsourcing industries. While the official language of the country is Filipino, English is used in schools and for business, creating a bilingual workforce. The influence of various cultures, including American, Asian, and Spanish, has also created a versatile people who understand others and their point of view, both of which are necessary for call center operations.
The Philippines call center industry is supported by the government, creating a stable industry with fewer risks. While natural disasters and other issues have affected the country in recent times, the supplemental assistance the government has provided to this business process outsourcing industry has continued to make it stable and profitable for all involved.
The Philippines is considered an excellent location for outsourcing. The country is centrally located in Asia and serves as a point of entry to the Asian markets for millions of professionals It serves as an international flight and shipping hub to the U.S. and Europe as well and is one of the key intersections between the Western and Eastern business worlds.
These are just a few of the key points that make the Philippines call center industry attractive to global investors. Many expect the industry to continue to grow and expand in the coming years, building upon the solid foundation it has established.