An excellent litmus test of how business is evolving in the Philippines is to consider call centers. The Philippines now has the greatest number of individuals involved in this key 21st century industry anywhere in the planet. Examining how managers are balancing the increase in demand with the need to continually improve the customer service their businesses offer is key to understanding business developments.
The way call center staff interact with their customers is now based on taking on-board a host of factors that are now prevalent in the contemporary world, such as the fact contact is just as likely to be made via social media outlets, web browsers or tablets as by telephone. Coping with variations in customer demand is causing call centers to undergo a dramatic shift.
One of the fundamental ways in which managers Philippines call centers are now acting differently than they did as recently as two or three years ago is in the degree of outsourcing. This has given rise to a phenomenon known as ‘business process outsourcing' (BPO), providing a service that, on the surface looks and acts like a call center, while actually being something altogether more complex. A BPO outlet will certainly satisfy customer demand as its ‘raison d'etre'. But in doing so it employs a diverse arsenal of tools and traits. It will include finance, accounting and human resources specialities; even, where required, a degree of paralegal work. For many onlookers, this is where the future lies for customer service.
In this respect it is worth considering the experience of India. Currently the Philippines employs far more call center agents than its distant Asian neighbor. However, India has a higher percentage of employees who work in BPO outlets. As time moves on, more and more of these agents are moving away from ‘traditional call center' type activities, and taking positions within BPO organizations which offer non-voice based work. This demands higher skills levels, as well as being more lucrative.
By considering the revenue potential of BPO compared to call centers, business leaders in the Philippines can see the obvious benefits to the economy. India's total revenue from BPO in 2010 was $70 billion, compared with the Philippines total of a mere $9 billion.