The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed life around the world. As memories of “normal” fade, people everywhere have got used to new ways of doing things. Whether this is wearing masks, limiting face-to-face meetings, or moving everything to online equivalents, the way the world does business has changed at every level.
“One of the more profound effects of the pandemic has been to accelerate the pre-existing trend towards digital delivery. While many were used to online shopping, and delivery services were proliferating to the extent that even minor purchases could be delivered within minutes, the pandemic has seen almost all interactions move online,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, an award-winning BPO provider in the Philippines.
One of the surprising beneficiaries has been call centre outsourcing to the Philippines. Despite a difficult start—COVID-19 hit the Philippines early in the pandemic—the move towards even more digital delivery saw increased demand for contact centre and back-office services. While most users will have seamless experiences with online services, those who have problems or difficulties still need a human to provide support or resolution.
“One of the first problems faced by companies operating in the digital domain was how to respond to the massive and rapid increase in demand. While businesses had anticipated growth, whether they were fintech, e-health, e-commerce, or any other digital-first business, they now had an influx of customers who could not, or did not want to, use traditional service channels. This provided not just a technical challenge—they had to increase the capacity of their systems and processes—but also a staffing challenge. Ultimately, they needed agents who could deal with both their existing and new customers,” says Ellspermann.
Contact centre outsourcing has long been a solution for businesses looking to cut costs while maintaining high-quality service, and those advantages have remained. However, one of the biggest advantages offered by call centre outsourcing to the Philippines is the ability to scale rapidly. The country’s BPO industry is a major part of the national economy, comprising 7% of its annual GDP, but more important for rapidly expanding businesses, the sector employs around 1.2 million Filipinos.
The sheer size of the BPO sector means that for businesses taking advantage of call centre outsourcing to the Philippines, it isn’t just a case of utilising existing capacity. It is a sector that can scale rapidly to meet the new demand. Premier BPO providers such as PITON-Global in Manila have long invested in their staff, technologies, and facilities, so digital businesses can rapidly implement their BPO requirements, taking full advantage of the high-quality customer and back-office support.
The Philippines has long been a world-leading BPO destination; more businesses choose to partner with contact centre and back-office outsourcing providers in the Philippines than any other country. Part of its attraction is the high level of English fluency. More than 70 million Filipinos speak English, and often, because of the close cultural connections with the US, they speak with little or no accent. In addition, because of the nation’s lower labour costs, choosing to outsource BPO services to the Philippines can save more than 50% when compared to in-house or domestic outsourcing, all while maintaining or improving operational efficiencies and customer experience.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Philippine BPOs have found themselves increasingly in demand. Using technologies like AI to reduce call handling times and improve customer experience, the industry has managed to rise to the challenges of pandemic and digital growth, offering the businesses that choose the Philippines for their BPO needs a unique mix of high-quality services and low costs that meet the challenges of our times.