The Philippines is just one of many countries, such as China, Brazil, Mexico, Poland, and Hungary, trying to tap into the rapidly growing offshore market. The country is trying to position itself as a major global outsourcing destination, which means the Philippines is going head-to-head with India. But recent developments give signs of the Philippine outsourcing industry’s future, as firms who are known to be Indian BPO’s big clients are now shifting to emerging outsourcing destinations like the Philippines. In fact, two large companies chose to outsource their operations in the Philippines last week.
The ICT Group, a Pennsylvania-based global outsourcing company, recently decided to start its operations in the Philippines instead of India. John Langford, executive vice-president of ICT Group, said in an interview with the Financial Post “We decided to start our operations in the Philippines rather than India, because the dialect here is softer. A lot of our clients in the U. S., and also the U. K. and Australia, find the Indian accent very harsh. The Filipino accent is more neutral. A lot of the time, our agents are mistaken for Hispanic.”
Last September 4th WNS Philippines signed a letter of intent with T-Mobile UK, one of the world’s largest mobile operators, to provide customer care services for its UK based customers. “WNS Philippines will handle inbound customer calls for T-Mobile UK’s prepaid subscribers. The WNS associates will support a full spectrum of customer care services ranging from price plan inquiries to handset issues such as lost, stolen or faulty phones. The contact center staff will manage queries on promotions, charges and credits and roaming, and alert new customers to the range of subscription benefits,” states WNS Limited in its press release. WNS Philippines is a joint venture between WNS Global Services and Advanced Contact Solutions (ACS), a BPO service provider based in Manila, Philippines.
The Philippines competitive advantage over India is its large English-speaking population. This is due to its historical ties with the West –the Philippines was colonized by the US for almost 50 years- and this is helping the country compete in the global outsourcing market. According to Paul Schmidt, partner and managing director at TPI –an offshoring consultancy firm, “In call-centre work, the Philippines is a strong No. 2 and is very competitive with India. The quality of their voice services is considered very high because of their English proficiency and cultural affinity, particularly for North America, which they have leveraged into supporting the back-end processes as well.”
Aside from the Philippines widespread use of English, it is also supported by strong telecommunications infrastructure, financial incentives and low wages. Firms are attracted to all four outsourcing benefits that the Philippines has to offer. “Many of the largest multinational participants in the O&O (global offshoring and outsourcing services) market, such as Accenture, Citibank, Convergys, Dell, and HSBC, have already made big investments here and are planning to expand their presence further”, states the Business Process Outsourcing Association of the Philippines’ (BPAP) ‘Offshoring and Outsourcing Philippines Roadmap 2010‘.
Today, the New Zealand Herald reports that “New Zealand businesses are planning to outsource more of their call centre work as they struggle to attract and retain staff to handle customer inquiries. Call centre outsourcing businesses based in countries including India and the Philippines have become an attractively cheap alternative for organizations wanting to cut costs.” This is another opportunity for the Philippine outsourcing industry that is vital to achieve its annual revenue target of $13 billion by 2010, as predicted by BPAP.
Author: Kim G.