Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has become a common business practice. Done well, it helps reduce a business’s overhead costs significantly. It can result in better quality services being offered to customers. And it can help the business to focus on its core product or service rather than diverting management capacity to ancillary services.
“However, the sector was bedeviled by the poor experiences of some of the pioneers of outsourcing. Attracted by low costs, they frequently chose partners who were unable to maintain the level of service required. Resulting in poor outcomes for customers and, inevitably, worse customer retention and lower profitability,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, an award-winning mid-sized BPO in the Philippines.
“BPOs in the Philippines, however, have emerged as world leaders. Offering not just substantial savings, a premier provider can be up to half the cost of an in-house operation. It also offers consistently high quality,” adds Ellspermann. This is down to a mix of the industry’s size, its competitive nature, and the talent pool provided by Filipinos.
The Philippine outsourcing industry is one of the world’s largest. There are close to 1,000 providers employing, collectively, over a million Filipinos. When indirect business support is added, its impact on the national economy is huge. The scale of the sector gives it several advantages. The government, for example, will use policy to support the sector, recognising the importance of the revenue it generates. But it is also a benefit for those looking for outsourcing partners.
Perhaps the Filipinos themselves have contributed most to the industry’s success. As well as being a naturally friendly and helpful nation, they are also highly fluent in English. An American colony for much of the twentieth century, the population still has a close cultural connection with the West. The consequence is that the best agents do not just know English; they are familiar with slang and colloquialisms they learn from film, television, and music. A caller from Perth may well not realise they are calling an offshore call centre because they are talking to an accentless fan of a locally set soap!
“In essence, BPOs in the Philippines can offer exceptional service because they have reached a critical mass. A large sector supported by a large and skilled workforce, outsourcing providers offer a combination that makes them hard to beat in the global outsourcing industry,” explains Ellspermann.