Want to learn about the Filipino call center industry?
Since the Philippine is renowned as a top BPO destination, outsourcing your call center services to the Philippines is a smart business decision.
To help you with that, we’ll give you the low-down on the Filipino call center industry and highlight how you can outsource your call center operations to the Philippines.
Here’s what this article contains:
(click on the links to jump to a section)
- Why should you outsource your call center to the Philippines?
- Risks involved in outsourcing your call center to the Philippines
- How to outsource your call center to the Philippines
Let’s get started!
Why should you outsource your call center to the Philippines?
Here are the benefits of outsourcing your call center operations to the Philippines:
1. It’s less expensive
Here’s how you’ll be able to cut down on costs by outsourcing your call center to the Philippines:
A. Low overhead costs
There are significant costs involved in running an in-house call center. Remember, you’ll have to handle expenses like:
- Set-up costs.
- Equipment costs.
- Overheads like internet and electricity.
- Training expenses.
Plus, when you have to train and manage new recruits, you’ll have little time to do anything else. Additionally, with the detrimental economic effects of Covid-19, businesses are in no position to increase their operational costs.
Why put yourself through all that trouble, when a Filipino service provider can handle all of this for you?
Here’s how outsourcing can help you:
- You won’t have to worry about set-up costs since your service provider will handle it.
- You don’t have to spend on overheads like electricity, internet and call center tools.
Additionally, since the BPO companies handle all the operations in a call center, they’ll even take care of hiring and training new recruits.
This way, you won’t have to worry about a thing!
B. Lower salaries
This is another huge reason to outsource to the Philippines.
In 2018, the average salary of BPO employees in the Philippines was PHP 375,000/year. That’s around $7,395 per year. Compare that to the United States national average of approximately $30,000 per year for a call center agent, and you’re looking at tons of savings.
Sounds too good to be true?
The only reason salaries are so low in the Philippines is because they have a low cost of living. Even with comparatively low salaries, you’ll still be paying Filipino agents enough to live a comfortable life.
2. Cater to customers 24×7 with ease
When you run an in-house call center, you’re limited to a handful of time zones. For example, if your center is based in the United States, you’re limited to operational hours around the same time zones.
Sure, you could hire a separate set of agents to take over the night shift, but that’s just an additional expense! And having in-house agents around the clock can increase your salary expenses.
Instead, just outsource your call center to the Philippines.
Since they’re located in Asia, you won’t have to employ a separate set of in-house staff for your night shift.
Additionally, as there are so many call center agents in the Philippines, they can take over your entire call center workload – ensuring that you get 24×7 coverage without any excessive costs!
3. Filipinos speak fluent English.
Worried that call center agents in the Philippines will have trouble communicating with callers?
The Philippines is one of the largest English speaking nations in the world. English, along with Tagalog, is the official language in the Philippines and is also their primary medium of education.
Plus, the Philippines has a very high literacy rate of 98.18%, which means there are a ton of graduates entering the labor force each year. The government also offers programs through the TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) that focus on training graduates to take over BPO sector jobs.
These factors make the Philippines the top destination for call center outsourcing in the world. As your Filipino call center agents are fluent in English, they’ll have no problems communicating with customers and giving them what they need.
4. The Filipino government offers incentives for foreign investors.
Since the Philippines is a developing country, they’re eager for foreign companies to invest in their economy.
The government has implemented many tax benefits for foreigners looking to invest in the country. The Special Economic Zones Act is something that focuses heavily on bringing investments in.
Here are some of the benefits it offers investors:
- Four-year exemption of corporate income tax.
- Duty-free imports for equipment, supplies and raw material.
- Local tax exemptions and permits.
- Permanent resident facilities for foreign investors and immediate family.
In addition to these tax exemptions, if you register your business with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), you’ll get even more benefits and incentives like being exempted from expanded withholding tax.
5. Strong data security regulations
Usually, one thing you’d worry about when outsourcing is the potential for data security breaches, right?
After all, you’re trusting a third-party with valuable customer and contact data.
However, when you outsource to the Philippines, you can leave those worries aside!
The Philippines government has brought the Data Privacy Act into effect to safeguard the outsourcing industry and it’s foreign investors.
Anyone found guilty of violating privacy regulations can be jailed for up to 6 years and fined an amount of $20,000 to $100,000. That’s around 2 to 13 times the average annual salary of a call center agent!
With such strict laws and heavy penalties in place, your data would remain in safe hands.
Risks involved in outsourcing your call center to the Philippines
While the Philippines call center industry is one of the best in the world, there are a few risks associated with outsourcing there:
1. Agents may not know everything about your product.
Running in-house call centers can be costly, but they ensure your employees know everything about your products and services. Since they focus only on your company, they’ll know the business inside-out.
However, outsourced call center agents aren’t your employees as they’re not dedicated to your company. Most outsourced agents handle calls for dozens of clients as well.
This might be a serious issue.
Dozens of companies, dozens of products and services.
There might be a mix-up somewhere, right?
If an agent gets confused during a call, it can reflect poorly on your company. However, certain Filipino call centers allow you to hire dedicated agents, also referred to as full-time employees (FTEs) to overcome this problem.
2. Difficult to monitor quality.
Do you know how many customers stop transacting with a company over a bad customer support experience?
That’s over half of your client base gone – over bad phone calls!
When you maintain an in-house team, you have more control over your agents to ensure that issues rarely pop-up.
But when you outsource, it’s out of your control.
Outsourced call center workers are not your employees, so what they do is out of your control. This can adversely affect your customer satisfaction levels.
Luckily, modern productivity tools have made it easier to monitor your outsourced staff to ensure that they maintain quality standards.
How to outsource your call center to the Philippines
You now know the benefits and risks involved in outsourcing your call center operations to the Philippines.
There’s only one thing left:
How do you go about the process?
Here’s a rundown of the steps you can take to successfully set up and outsource your call center to the Philippines:
1. Identify your call center needs.
The first thing to do is to figure out what exactly you need from your call center. There are several types of call centers and each one caters to a different need.
If you need call center employees to function as customer care agents, you can’t expect them to handle lead generation as well, right?
Let’s take a look at the several types of call centers you can set up:
A. Inbound call center
These call centers don’t make any calls to customers or prospects. Instead, they answer incoming calls and provide information, technical support and record complaints on behalf of callers.
B. Outbound call center
An outbound call center focuses on making outgoing calls to customers and prospects. Outbound call centers are mostly used by businesses that require cold calling facilities to boost sales.
C. Two-way call center
Two-way call centers are usually divided into two departments: one for handling inbound calls, and the other for outbound calls. These call centers are used by companies that need to handle incoming customer inquiries and perform outbound sales calls too.
Once you’ve decided which functions you’ll outsource, identify the type of call center you’ll need.
2. Find a provider to outsource your call center.
Once you figure out which functions to outsource and which type of call center you’ll need, you’ll have to find a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) vendor to handle your call center operations.
There are two main factors to consider here:
A. Your budget
A critical part of outsourcing is deciding your budget and sticking to it.
Your outsourcing budget should be high enough for you to afford a quality team, but ensure it’s not higher than what you would pay for an in-house team. Outsourcing rates in Philippine call centers usually hover around $14 per hour.
However, this can vary based on how reputed your BPO provider is and if you want a dedicated team or not.
B. Your BPO services provider’s specialization
Many businesses think that all call center companies are the same.
But they aren’t.
Almost every call center specializes in one field. For example, some call centers may focus on the retail area, while others focus on finance or tourism. Find a call center that fits your business and aligns with the industry you operate in.
Here’s our list of the best Filipino BPO providers to look at.
3. Continuously monitor the call center for results.
To maintain your call center’s quality, you need to monitor it regularly. But how can you monitor the call center when it’s thousands of miles away from your location?
You need to know:
- What the call center agents are up to.
- How long they work for.
- How productive the call center agents are.
Fortunately, productivity management tools like Time Doctor can help you measure this.
Time Doctor is a powerful employee time tracking and productivity management tool. Time Doctor is used by giants like Apple and Verizon as well as countless SMBs to boost the productivity of their employees.
You can use Time Doctor to monitor how the call center agents utilize their work hours and measure how productive they are.
Here’s how Time Doctor can help you:
1. Detailed Reports For Insights On What Your Vendor is Working On
Time Doctor gives you access to multiple reports in real-time, so you know exactly what projects call center agents are working on. You can take a detailed look at these reports here.
2. Minimize inactive time with built-in inactivity tracking
Time Doctor features a built-in inactivity tracker that stops the timer if there’s no keyboard or mouse usage for three consecutive minutes. This way, agents can’t bill you for idle time.
Note: To ensure privacy, Time Doctor doesn’t track what keys were pressed. It only determines if there was any keyboard or mouse activity.
3. Minimize distractions to boost focus
To minimize distractions at work, Time Doctor has a pop up that asks users if they’re working when they open an unproductive site or app. This can help unproductive users to get back to work quickly.
Note: Depending on the nature of your business, you can choose which sites are labeled as unproductive.
Outsourcing to call centres in the Philippines can help the Filipino BPO industry and keep your business running smoothly during the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, outsourcing does have its risks – so it’s essential to do the legwork and find outsourcing companies that are reliable and align with your business’ needs. Once you find the right outsourcing partner, you’ll have no trouble satisfying your customers!
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor—a time tracking and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams.