Call Center Technology in the Philippines
New graduates like to call it a stepping stone to a better career while others see it as a glorified phone operator job. No matter what people think about the call center industry, there is no doubt that it has been a sector that has helped boost the local economy and has put our country back on the global trading map. Contact centers in the Philippines offer 24/7 multilingual and multimedia supported premium services for marketing, sales, customer care, crisis management, investor relations and other key business applications. It is considered as the sunshine industry of the Philippines today because of the oppurtunities it gives to new and post graduates and the salary it can offer. Plus, the two key requirements are fluent English and a college degree. The Philippines is rising to be the contact center capital of the world with more than 80 contact centers and if we strive to develop it, we might just beat our neighbor countries in Asia in this call center competition. Some of this countries maybe more advance than us in terms of infrastructures and techonology, two things that are truly a great factor in having a successful contact center. But we still have several advantages over them. We offer quality service, we have a warmth and natural [accomodating] attitude other nationalities lack. Plus, we have a more neutral accent. We are better than them in speaking English. The Philippines is considered as the best English speaking community in Asia. We are a society that equates speaking English with intelligence and we have a large English speaking workforce. So even if we cannot win the technological battle in the contact center industry, we can atleast be competitive in terms of service quality with efficient and skilled agents. Of course, the competition no longer just comes from India. There is a large number of developing countries jumping on the outsourcing bandwagon. However, in many of these countries, including those in Central and Eastern Europe, English is a weak third language and they are often lacking in quality communication skills. In fact, the real competition will actually come from Africa, most notably South Africa. According to every Asian call center review since 2001, the Philippines has proven to be the number one country in Asia to provide offshore English-speaking call center solutions. It has outpaced India in key areas such as English, standard of agents, telecommunications and quality of local management. This applies equally to call center activity from both sides of the Atlantic. But one of the big problems that the Philippines is facing is some of the people who are working in a call center has a global standard to work for a call center that would build the Philippines as the call center industry in the Philippines. One of the problems is the English standard. Some of the agents are not that fluent in English. And it is not just English that an agent should learn when he has to work for a call center that has hopes for being a globaly competitive call center, one has to learn even French or an European English Accent. To a British ear, a Filipino sounds very close to American. At first, this may appear to be negative but if used correctly, its effect can be very positive. Whenever a gatekeeper hears an American accent, he rarely thinks its a telemarketing call. It is unlikely that many of the expatriate American community in the UK would work as telemarketers so when a gatekeeper hears an American accent, it sounds as though the call has increased importance. This is one of a number of reasons why companies using Filipino telemarketers have shown increased performance compared with other offshore locations. Another is the technical know-hows. To effectively work for a call center, one must have knowledge in technicals, electronics, sales and marketing, computer know-hows and also one must atleast have an idea or knowledge about the culture of...
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