Study Evaluates Philippine Contact Centers and Potential Threat to India
April 01, 2008
No matter your ultimate opinion about offshore contact center operations, the reality is that for many U.S.-based companies, it just makes financial sense to send customer service operations to countries such as India or the Philippines as these areas offer educated and skilled staff, lower overhead costs and a history in the industry.
While India continues to dominate the offshore contact center industry, the Philippines continues to also make noise as a formidable competitor. While its size and available labor pool cannot compare, the country has made significant strides in developing its contact center infrastructure.
Research recently released by callcentres.net has found that while many Philippine contact centers are now revenue generating in addition to providing traditional service functions. Filipino contact center agents must improve their sales techniques to compete more strongly with Indian outsourcers.
This research was sponsored by Autonomy etalk and Genesys and involved interviewing 539 contact center executives representing 2,488 contact centers and 259,699 contact center seats across Asia, including 87 in the Philippines.
The result of this research, the newly released 2008 Asian Contact Center Industry Benchmarking Report, found that roughly 70 percent of contact centers in the Philippines are measured as profits centers, compared to 91 percent of centers in India.
"The results strongly suggest that the contact center industry in the Philippines has recognized the developing trend towards revenue generation" said callcentres.net President Dr Catriona Wallace. "The contact center is fast becoming an organization’s most valuable revenue generating asset."
Wallace also noted that India’s “classic” outsourcing model derives its strength from outbound sales. The strength of Philippines contact centers lie in customer support, which makes up the bulk of the contact center industry in that country.
In order to drive its competitive standing in the marketplace, the contact center industry in the Philippines must take a proactive approach in developing the ultimate role of the contact center agent. Will this person be primarily skilled in customer service or does sales capability need to be a consideration?
From the results of this research, it is clear that the ability to sell while also delivering customer service is an important aspect in not only the contact center industry itself, but also in competing with India for market dominance.
If the Philippines hopes to eventually give India a run for its money in terms of client investments, those contact centers operating there must make specialty training a priority for agents within the center. It will also benefit these centers to work with area educational organizations to implement fields of study that highlight those areas that will make students more appealing as potential employees.