Businesses are operating in the most difficult economic climate of modern times. Following a decade shaped by the effects of the 2008 financial crash, the pandemic has transformed everything again, leaving many businesses reeling in a new world where trade is very different. Although the world may have changed, some things, like the rationale for outsourcing, remain as true as ever.
“The pressures businesses face in this changed landscape remain familiar. Shareholders, concerned about the value and return on their investment, are looking to companies to return a healthy profit. Customers are ever more demanding, expecting high service levels as a standard. However, they also want lower prices, perhaps facing their own pressures from the pandemic or looking at the prices of competitors. And those competitors are ready to step in, eager to grow their own customer base. There have never been any guarantees in business, but COVID-19 has made many threats even more ominous,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a leading BPO specialising in high-performance call centre services in the Philippines.
“No business can survive without customers, so call centre services are critical. And while customers will make some allowances for the pandemic’s challenges, there will be a limit to their patience. Businesses have to ensure that their services can meet, and ideally exceed, customer expectations,” says Ellspermann.
This is true of both their front- and back-office support functions. Direct contact with customers, whether through customer support channels or sales, are important because of the impressions they form. If customers feel a business’s basic processes are unreliable or failing, they are unlikely to remain customers for long, no matter how well the support team resolves those complaints.
In-house operations are expensive. It takes considerable time and resources to establish and equip the necessary real estate, followed by the HR and management resources required to find and train staff. And, even when established, these services become costly overheads. Some savings are available through onshore outsourcing, where those overheads will be shared between the provider’s clients. But even they do not come close to the savings offered by call centres in the Philippines.
There is a large and well-established BPO industry in the Philippines. Today it represents 7% of the nation’s GDP and comprises over 800 providers. The nation has established itself as a world leader in outsourcing; more businesses outsource call centre services to the Philippines than anywhere else in the world. The sector can bring a range of expertise and experience to the table; if you get your requirements right, it can surpass the quality of in-house or domestically outsourced operations while still providing significant savings. And there are several advantages call centre services in the Philippines can offer over other outsourcing destinations.
The Philippines has an extraordinary level of English fluency—four times more people speak English there than in Australia. Coupled with the historic links and cultural affinity to the West, this means agents working in call centres in the Philippines often speak with no accent and can quickly build a rapport with Australian customers.
“The size of the contact centre industry in the Philippines also makes it a competitive market. To survive as a call centre, you have to invest in your staff and infrastructure but also keep your prices competitive,” says Ellspermann. Coupled with the country’s lower labour costs, it is entirely possible to maintain service levels while paying about half the cost of an onshore outsourced service.
“In challenging times, businesses must focus on what makes them distinctive. By outsourcing contact centre services to us here in the Philippines, they can focus on their core competencies rather than managing routine processes,” says Ellspermann.
While the instinct to protect customers is understandable, successful businesses will focus on the product that attracts them. Using call centre services in the Philippines allows them to do just that, all while improving the bottom line.