The Times
The Times

Why call centre in the Philippines are so unique

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Why call centre in the Philippines are so unique - and how that makes them the best value for companies

Call centre work in western countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States is not often thought of as a sought-after position. Most call centre workers in these countries skew older, many seeking it as a position of necessity after losing another job. It would be almost impossible to find someone getting a degree in call centre work or customer dynamics in a western nation, but this is common practice in the Philippines, a country which has quickly become the premier spot for many client-centered business process outsourcing (BPO) services.

With a culture that prides itself on hospitality and friendliness, especially in relation to customer service, it's no wonder that Western customers often find customer service calls to the Philippines a pleasant experience, even when dealing with a complaint. As many company leaders know - it doesn't matter what one does when things go right, but what one does when everything goes wrong. Contact centre outsourcing providers in the Philippines are well versed in the latter.

For young, college-educated graduates, BPOs in the Philippines are the place to earn a steady upper-middle-class income. The industry is doing so well, in fact, that many BPO workers in the country make more than $700 USD a month - that's a higher income than some doctors make in the Philippines, according to a 2015 LA Times article. Many professionals, sometimes those who have gotten highly academic degrees in law, medicine, social work, and nursing, leverage their superior customer service skills and knowledge base to work in call centres in the Philippines. In this way, foreign companies know that they're getting the best of the workforce when outsourcing to the Philippines, rather than handing off important tasks like customer support, IT technical assistance, and data entry, to low-wage workers without a higher education background.

The Philippines' culture is also very similar in ideas and values to the United States and other western nations, thanks to the Philippines' status as a former US colony. It's clear that the ideals of hospitality and pride in customer service have held strong since its' independence. Many Filipino call centre workers are trained in cross-cultural communication and respect for the customer and are able to handle a variety of situations without an issue. Because English is a highly-regarded language, students learn how to speak fluently from a young age, and college graduates are often so well-versed that they speak without an accent.

The status of call centre work as a high-income career is also beneficial for businesses that are looking for specialised work - especially creative work. Foreign businesses may have to pay workers like software developers, website designers, graphic illustrators, and content writers a high salary and added benefits if they choose locally. However, many college graduates from the Philippines' best universities have degrees in this exact work, and their hourly wages are less than ten times the cost of western workers. What's more, companies don't need to worry about retirement plans, paid time off, sick leave, or health insurance when outsourcing to the Philippines - that's all taken care of by the BPO companies.

By offering competitive wages and degree programs at partnered universities, the Philippines' BPO industry has built a strong, well-educated workforce. The country's high regard for service and hospitality and its cultural ties to America has also made it the ideal choice for many businesses' client-facing needs.