In the age of globalization, businesses worldwide are increasingly looking towards outsourcing their call center operations. This trend is caused by several things, such as the desire to save money, the need to have access to a bigger pool of talent, and the desire to provide customer service around the clock. Companies continually strive to enhance their customer experience, and outsourcing call centers has emerged as a strategic move toward this goal. While this approach presents new challenges, the potential benefits prompt businesses to consider this global operational shift.
Moving towards the East, the Philippines is a prominent destination for outsourcing call center services. Known for its “can-do” attitude, warmth, and exceptional customer service, the Philippines has gained a reputation as a nation prioritizing hospitality. This characteristic, deeply embedded in their culture, is evident in their thriving travel and tourism sector and translates seamlessly into their customer service domain. The hospitable and customer-focused nature of the Filipino workforce has become a significant asset for businesses aiming to provide top-notch customer service.
So, why should you consider outsourcing your call center to the Philippines? The unique combination of cultural compatibility with the Western world, strong English language proficiency, and a deep-seated ethos of hospitality make the Philippines an attractive outsourcing destination. In the following sections, we’ll delve into these advantages, helping you understand why the Philippines could be the perfect partner in elevating your customer service operations.
The Significance of Call Centers for Business
The role of call centers in businesses is critical and multi-faceted. Call centers serve as customers’ primary contact points, handling their inquiries and assisting. Whether answering product questions or resolving issues, the call center ensures prompt and accurate responses to customer queries. Additionally, call centers are essential for delivering excellent customer service experiences. By employing skilled agents trained in effective communication and problem-solving, call centers can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, positively impacting the overall reputation of a business. Call centers also often manage order processing and transactional activities, contributing to smooth business operations and customer satisfaction.
Managing multiple communication channels is another crucial role of call centers. In today’s digital age, they extend beyond telephone support and are equipped to handle various communication channels such as email, live chat, and social media platforms. This versatility enables businesses to engage with customers across multiple platforms, meeting their preferences and enhancing overall accessibility.
Another essential role of call centers is building and nurturing customer relationships. By providing personalized interactions, addressing concerns, and actively listening to customer feedback, call center agents contribute to fostering long-term connections and customer loyalty. This relationship-building aspect is essential for sustainable business growth.
Advantages of Choosing the Philippines for Call Center Outsourcing
In-depth Discussion on Cultural Compatibility
The Philippines boasts a vast pool of English-speaking professionals, a crucial asset in delivering quality customer service globally. But what differentiates Filipino call center agents is more than their language proficiency. They also possess a keen understanding of Western culture that enables them to connect with customers on a deeper, more personal level. This understanding stems from their exposure to Western media and education and their country’s historical ties with the West. This cultural familiarity allows them to navigate conversations easily, anticipate customer needs and expectations, and build rapport with their customers, enhancing the overall customer experience.
Research has also shown that Filipino call center agents experience “virtual migration” as part of their transnational service work. This refers to the unique situation in which agents inhabit the cultural spaces of America and the Philippines. Agents cultivate and perform an Americanized identity as part of their job, which can lead to them becoming Americanized to a degree uncommon among Filipinos who have yet to migrate to Americanized spaces physically. This experience extends the diasporic feeling to call center agents who remain in their homeland.
Therefore, when you outsource your call center to the Philippines, you aren’t just hiring agents who can communicate effectively in English. You’re hiring individuals who understand Western culture and can connect with your customers on a personal level, offering a unique competitive advantage.
Emphasis on English Proficiency
A highly educated and skilled workforce makes the Philippines a prime outsourcing destination, and it ranks among the top countries for businesses to outsource customer service1. This is partly due to the country’s high proficiency in English, an essential aspect of effective customer service communication.
The Philippines consistently produces many post-secondary graduates every year, many of whom have a strong command of the English language. The Philippines received a high proficiency rating in the 2019 EF English Proficiency Index (Source). This level of English proficiency contributes to the ability of Filipino customer service representatives to communicate effectively with customers globally, ensuring a smooth and satisfactory customer service experience.
Further emphasizing the country’s prowess in English, the EF English Proficiency Index in 2022 ranks the Philippines as 22nd out of 111 countries and 2nd in Asia for English proficiency, clearly indicating its high level of competence in the language (Source).
The high level of English proficiency enables Filipino call center agents to understand and address customer concerns effectively and allows for more personalized and engaging interaction.
Outsourcing call centers to the Philippines offers a substantial cost benefit primarily due to lower labor costs. The average Philippine BPO employee earned $7,395 in 2018, compared to $30,000 for a call center worker in the US. This disparity arises from the Philippines’ lower cost of living, allowing Filipino agents to lead a comfortable life despite their comparatively lower salaries (Source).
Beyond labor costs, outsourcing also reduces overhead expenses like setup costs, equipment, internet, electricity, and training, as these responsibilities shift to the Filipino service provider. Furthermore, leveraging the time zone difference allows businesses to achieve round-the-clock coverage without incurring additional costs for night shift personnel (Source). Lastly, the Philippine government offers incentives such as tax exemptions and benefits for foreign investors, contributing to the cost-effectiveness of outsourcing (Source).
Quality of Workforce
One of the key reasons many companies outsource their call centers to the Philippines is the country’s English proficiency. The Philippines is the third-largest English-speaking country globally, and English is one of its two official languages. This ensures a high level of understanding and communication between the call center agents and customers from English-speaking countries such as the UK and the US.
In addition to language proficiency, the Filipino workforce is known for its positive attitude toward work. Filipino call center agents are often willing to take on shifts during nights, weekends, and even holidays, ensuring continuous coverage for your customers. They are praised for their professionalism, warm approach, and the high-quality customer service they provide.
Training programs for call center agents in the Philippines are comprehensive and rigorous. They cover various areas, including language and communication skills, customer service, technical support, sales techniques, and industry-specific terminologies. This extensive training prepares agents to address multiple client issues and inquiries.
The Philippines has a time zone in Asia that can complement other significant regions such as the United States and Europe. This geographic advantage allows call centers in the Philippines to operate during hours that may be late night or early morning in other countries, effectively providing 24×7 customer support. In-house call centers, particularly those based in the United States or Europe, are often limited to operation within similar time zones. Employing a separate set of agents for night shifts would be an additional expense for in-house operations. However, outsourcing to the Philippines eliminates this need, as Filipino call centers can take over the workload. This ensures 24×7 coverage without incurring excessive costs (Source).
Scalability and Access to Advanced Technology
Scalability is a crucial advantage of outsourcing to the Philippines. The nation’s vibrant BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry can quickly and efficiently recruit skilled agents as required, facilitating easy adjustments to operations based on demand. The Philippines’ cheap labor costs allow firms to save on HR and legal fees, office rentals, office supplies, and infrastructure. Companies can save up to 70% by engaging a Filipino customer service team, making the strategy particularly accessible to small businesses (Source).
Furthermore, the Philippines boasts a young demographic with a median age of 24.5 years, compared to the worldwide average of 30.3. This population has grown up with technology and naturally understands how it can improve business solutions (Source). Consequently, the country has seen a surge in adopting advanced communication technologies, allowing businesses to benefit from state-of-the-art solutions.
The Philippines’ call centers utilize sophisticated technologies such as automatic call distributors and dialers. These technologies ensure that incoming and outgoing calls are efficiently managed, directing them to the appropriate agents and maintaining balance in call distribution. This enhances the customer experience by reducing wait times and enables efficient workload management for call center agents (Source).
Call center outsourcing to the Philippines can save firms money and provide qualified workers. The cost of labor in the Philippines is roughly 50% lower than that in the United States and other Western countries. In addition, businesses can save on tertiary expenses such as HR and legal costs, office rentals, office supplies, taxes, and infrastructure. Companies can save up to 70% by engaging a Filipino customer service team. Furthermore, the Philippines boasts a young, tech-savvy workforce that can provide high-quality service. The education system in the country is similar to that of the United States, and the government subsidizes programs that develop BPO-relevant skills. This efficient recruitment of skilled agents allows businesses to maintain high service levels at a lower cost (Source).
In conclusion, outsourcing your call center to the Philippines presents a compelling proposition that combines cost-effectiveness, cultural compatibility, and operational efficiency. The Philippines offers a skilled, English-speaking workforce that understands Western culture, ensuring effective and personalized customer interactions. The lower labor and overhead costs significantly reduce operational expenses, while tax incentives from the local government further enhance the financial benefits. The country’s geographic position allows for 24/7 customer service coverage, and the robust BPO industry ensures scalability and access to advanced technology. By outsourcing to the Philippines, businesses can focus on their core operations while leveraging a highly professional and customer-focused service team. This combination of factors makes the Philippines an ideal destination for companies seeking to enhance their customer service operations through outsourcing.