Philippines Call Center – Mecca For BPO

I first started writing about my experiences of opening overseas call centers back in 2004 and now with 2010 just around the corner; I’d like to reflect on the changes that I have observed over the years and give a few predictions of  what I think will happen in the near future.

My outsourcing experience started when I was looking for a call center to set appointments for my mortgage/real estate office in Orlando, Fl. I tried many companies and spent tens of thousands of dollars with little success. I finally decided to lease seats from a call center in India and manage the process remotely.   Within a few months I found myself on a plane headed for Bangalore, India. After the initial shock of leaving my sheltered life in America, I realized just how big of an industry call center outsourcing had grown to be.

My process grew rapidly due to the great cost savings.  After being in India for 9 months, I ordered phone service from Vonage and talked to their agent for almost 15 minutes before I realized he was not in an American based call center and in fact ended up being a Filipino. Then I noticed huge BPO operations that were all around me like Dell, Sprint and had shut down their Indian call center to transfer to the Philippines as well. I thought to myself that this must the beginning of a large migration.

Philippines Call Centers

Our company starting doing research and making contacts in the Philippines and only 6 months later I was sent to Manila to tour call center facilities. We were able to setup shop and establish our Filipino branch in Ortigas Center which is located in the heart of Metro Manila’s call center district. The Philippines was occupied by the Spanish for almost 400 years as well as America after the second world war so not only do they speak great English but they also have a very Westernized culture especially compared to India and other parts of Asia.

For the moment India still remains the number one outsourcing hub of the world but the signs of that changing are all around us and this is something everyone living in India already is well aware of. The BPO industry in India has slowed down considerably while the Philippines call centers have formed one of the fastest growing outsourcing hubs in the world and my prediction is that it will soon overtake India.

While I still work in our facility in India and may continue to do so for years to come, most of our call center processes are fulfilled in our Philippines call centers. Not only have we save staggering amounts on our overhead costs, we have also been able to increase the performance of the process. A few examples are increased collections, better customer ratings of help desk and customer services departments. 

The reason for this is simple, in the States telemarketing doesn’t require strict credentials to be employed and with the Philippines being a developing country, the unemployment rate and competition for good paying jobs are high. For example, you must have a collage degree just to work at McDonalds in the Philippines. In America I was only able to keep collage kids or drug addicts but in the Philippines you can get the cream of the crop and these are people that are looking for careers not just paycheck every week.

In conclusion I am convinced that Philippines call centers are going to form the outsourcing Mecca of the world. Business process outsourcing also known as BPO is already a 108 billion dollar industry and increasing and I think the Philippines will dominate the market share in the years to come.