In the Philippines, call center firms remain the most dynamic sector in the business process outsourcing industry, reflecting growth in terms of the number of people employed and revenues generated despite having less than a decade of existence.
Some studies point out that revenues are over one billion dollars and the average number of recruits in call centers is 100 per week, making it one of most profitable and major sources of job opportunities.
Call center operations in the country are effectively wielding these key advantages:
- Large and employable workforce
The Philippines’ educational system is very much patterned after that of the United States, which is why its people have strong command of American English and affinity with the American culture and way of life.
In addition, they can be trained in voice/accent and culture in order to bridge language barriers. The offshore outsourcing industry’s employee turnover rate in the country is relatively low, as compared to other countries.
- Stable real estate and telecommunications infrastructure
The country’s Internet technology continues to be dynamic and expansive, which is vital in offshore call center operations. The population can easily and naturally adapt to the latest innovations in telecommunications.
The quality of life appeals to expatriates. Real estate and facilities are affordable and of high quality, with tax incentives being given to foreign investors by the government.
- Cost-effective labor and operations
Global firms turn to outsourcing activities in order to cut down their operational and labor costs, especially in a country like the Philippines where costs are relatively low.
Outsourcing operations and activities
How are call center operations in the country implemented?
Outsourcing firms such as call centers provide a wide array of services such as customer care, technical support, financial services, travel services, and others, handling both inbound and outbound calls.
The time difference between the Philippines and the United States is 12 hours. Thus, most call center agents have to work in graveyard shifts. To provide continuous services 24 hours a day, these call centers would typically operate in three shifts.
Usual shift is from midnight to around 8:00 in the morning, which is daytime in the United States. In addition to their basic pay, call center agents receive night shift differentials.
Many large call centers operations in the country have their main headquarters abroad, some of them, however, are owned by domestic telecommunication firms. These companies would have seats that range from as low as 500 to up to 5,000 or even more.
Recruiting and training agents
Typically, outsourcing firms are looking for aspiring call center agents who possess the following:
- Excellent English communication skills
- Customer service skills
- Problem-solving skills
The country is abundant of skilled workforce. Most college-educated applicants have these skills, owing to their proficiency in English and application of IT.
All call center aspirants undergo a rigorous recruitment process to ensure that those who get hired are competent and dedicated to their jobs. It all begins with a screening by phone to determine if the applicant has good voice and response quality.
After passing the phone screening level, applicants would be scheduled to appear for an initial job interview. They need to be able to express themselves confidently and clearly before a team of recruiters who would evaluate their attitude and skills.
Subsequently, they take tests in aptitude and typing, including call simulations. For the final stage, recruiters would evaluate specific skills such as customer service skills, technical skills, as well as sales and marketing skills.
Before they take actual or live client calls, successful applicants who get hired are obliged to complete a specific training period, which usually takes one month. This training includes:
- English and accent training
- Customer service skills training
- Product or service-specific training
Call simulations and other tests would be given throughout this period so they can listen to actual calls by call agents and handle live calls themselves with the help of their trainers or coaches.
Ultimately, outsourcing companies provide refresher courses and further training from time to time in order to:
- Maintain quality of service
- Update on upgrading of technology
- Familiarize with latest product and service offerings