By Roberto L Bacasong
Unique Interaction Philippines
IN A DAZZLING city of Manila, the capital of the Philippines is described to be as busy as as an anthill, thousands of call center agents are trooping to their respective workplaces not minding the bad weather condition due to rainy season and tropical cyclone that is commonly a normal event in the country's geographic condition. When the clock strikes from 8 pm until wee hours is officially the starts of the day for the Filipino customer service representatives. This is the scene which you will observe in the Philippines brought about by the fast growing outsourcing industry occupying the gleaming towers in metro Manila. Largest call center operators also brought development and new culture to the Filipino agents in a way of uplifting their lives and be fitted in a fast-paced environment like of this one.
These workers are dealing with clients from all walks of life in which some were using pseudonym American names, donning with their headsets and placed phone calls to their clients as far as from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia in promoting products like Timeshare travel, collecting billings, credit cards, among others. Even on special holidays, call agents workers are required to appear on their schedule on time since their holidays are based in the US.
This is another culture which practiced in the outsourcing industry. For instance, there were numbers legal and non-legal holidays celebrated in this country, but if you work in a call center, there's no break because you are dealing with 24/7 US office operations. Of course, the compensation is much different compared to the other field of professions. Even though you are required to render overtime or during holidays, everything is paid off, according to Florena V. Abanilla, a call center agent of Unique Interaction.
“It is hard at first but the continuous learning process I acquired from the training gives me the opportunity to improve my communication skills. Working in a highly regulated company is enjoyable,” the 30-year-old live chat support agent opined.
Ms. Abanilla disclosed that since the job requires a night shift schedule, she left her house in Bulacan, a province in the Northern Luzon at 5 pm in order for her to be at the office before her shift starts at 8 pm until 4 am.
“We are like nocturnal animals because we are awake in the evening and definitely sleeping in the morning. I am used to it and I am very happy with my job,” she said.
The former works previously as an area managers secretary at Prudential Life Plans Inc. for four years but quit her job and changed her career path to call center. She also narrated that she was chosen as the “best agent” wherein she was awarded the newest model Nokia cellphone.
The Philippines is considered to be one of the multi-cultural country in Asia. Its chronicle reflects the complexity of every Filipino because of its rich in cultural background, which is widely known in the world. The fragmented structure of the country because of its divided provinces in terms of island to island is also unique in some other countries. The country is also logging its best practices in terms of information technology which boost the country's economy. Not only the country is known for its sweet hospitality in treating their visitors, customer service is also a way of showing the Filipino values in a telephony technology.
The outstanding call center management expertise of the Filipino agents have been recognized in the call center phenomenon. Showing concerns and putting ones shoes to another is a way of emphatizing the customers. Filipinos are carried away with their emotions especially if the customers are affected with the poor service they got from the package they purchased. If the worst scenario came, American customers showed uncomfortable by being irate and angry if still the concerns were not addressed thoroughly. This is something what makes Filipino proud because of their patients and flexibility many customers were happy on how they assist help to the customers' concern. In a call center in the Philippines, the agents were trained the value of dealing all types of customers. The call center companies informed them that the customers are not angry with them, instead to the program they got. No matter the rudeness they showed, Filipinos still do their best to maintain the smooth conversation with them.
The trend of outsourcing is remarkable in the country because it now part of the government drive to maintain this industry. Every call center locators offered a world class facilities which makes their agents and employees feel the ambiance like that in their respective homes. The culture of working in a call center is inevitable. Many benefits also shared by 24-hour convenience stores circulated outside the skyscrapers offering different kinds of services. Young and older call center agents like hanging the finest resto and coffee shops spending their breaks together with other agents from different companies.
Call center brought wealth to the Philippines because of its tremendous success for a decade of its presence to the country. This was proved by the national government because they huge amount of revenues aside from the share being delivered continuously by the overseas Filipino workers (OFW). The world class facilities make the workers proud to work in an owned American company. This is only part of a burgeoning industry known as business process outsourcing (BPO) in which call centers is part of. The application of a Western management is delectable way because workers complies the US standards. Learning the American speech music is very interesting in dealing with clients. This cultural trend strengthen the relationship between the Philippines and the US in continue to provide hope for every Filipino from poverty. The good thing, most contact centers offer attractive pacemaker in terms of benefits to their employees. World class facilities like spa and fitness gym, gaming area, sleeping quarters and freebies are some of the rewards which make their workers stay on their company. The agents also enjoy the getaway vacation award they received and discounts to movie houses and malls. Filipinos are also known for its multi-lingual skills aside from English, they can speak Spanish, Australian and British accent and others.
This culture will continue to grow in the next following years because of the excessive performance in the outsourcing industry. The Philippine government still believes that they achieve their goals by collaborating with other investors and convince them to forge deal with them.*
Thursday, September 27
By Roberto L Bacasong
Posted by Roberto Bacasong at Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26
By Roberto L. Bacasong
Unique Interaction Philippines
HOW can we say that the Philippine outsourcing is ideal in the world? There are so many reasons why the Philippines is considered. This industry is truly amazing because the way it help the Filipino workers in terms of contribution to the large scale of development for the country. Working in a call center in the Philippines is worthy enough in helping the Filipino families boost up their morale and the level of their competent in terms of adopting English language.
Beyond expectation, contact center is widely known today in the Philippines. It is a word of mouth which now became a common trend setting for yuppie Filipinos strongly agreeing that there’s better future on working in call center. For instance, once they have graduated from their respective bachelor’s degree thousands of them employed easily to different world class contact centers in the country. It is with great knowledge that call center companies offer great package such as salary scheme and benefits which attract Filipinos workers grabbing the opportunity with no doubt. Despite the high attrition rate in this industry, looking for staffing and manpower services have never been a problem to the call center locators in the Philippines. Most of them, received volumes of applicants everyday in which the shortlisted applicants were thoroughly screened upon reaching the job offer. The ratio goes this way, only three out of ten successful applicants qualified were mployed in the call center arena. But this does not mean that the level of competency is affected, this only reflect how the human resources team of hundreds of call center companies in the Philippines doing stiff hiring process to fill in their vacant position.
Outsourcing in the Philippines is very ideal in the world, as what most commented by some international call center owners published nationally and internationally in different medium especially in the newspapers. In Asia, along with the Philippines that is known for outsourcing are India, China, Thailand, among others. With strong command in English is a great advantage among other competitors. The country has huge number of graduates from reputable colleges and universities which is also a factor to consider.
In a research entitled: “Outsourcing to the Philippines: Metro Manila and Beyond” by neoIT highlighted some economic activity which contributed by this industry. The report noted that Metro Manila is considered as the most popular destination for outsourcing. This is because that Manila has a large skilled resource based that assures smooth operation scale-ups. The city houses 81 institutions of higher education and 1,600 other schools, boast a literacy rate of 92.4, and is home to institutions such as the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle University, the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas. But not only this, the research further showed that not only Manila is the focus of call centers, it is also incubating other provinces such as Pampanga, Bacolod, Iloilo, Dumaguete, Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro. It further revealed that as an offshore outsourcing enters its next phase of evolution, the competitiveness of offshore nations will rest on their ability to develop multiple centers of excellence within their boarders – centers that satisfy the skill requirements, delivery capabilities,and risk appetite of outsourcing organizations.
Outsourcing continue to gather crowd of interest in the country. It opened opportunities to the Filipinos and combat the war against unemployment which is one of the major problems of the Philippine Government. The increasing demand in this industry has been given attention by the national government in order to attract other investors to stay in the country. It is no doubt that truly the Philippines is not only the land for its bountiful rich in tourism but also the home for the growing outsourcing industry.*
Posted by Roberto Bacasong at Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 18
By Roberto L Bacasong
Unique Interaction Philippines
For Filipinos who wants to earn high paying jobs found their home in vibrant outsourcing industry. This is because any contact centers in the Philippines offer attractive package and benefits which awaken the interest of the Filipinos to be part in this booming sunshine industry.
Career shifters from different fields of professions enrolled themselves in the call center industry because of the higher chances to be promoted and most importantly the benefits they will receive, which is far different from their previous employers. There are so many reasons behind on the continuing increase of Filipino workers changing their jobs to the outsourcing business. Frustrations from their previous employers is one of the many reasons why there are so many career shifters in the Philippines. They found new home in the business process outsourcing (BPO) with variety of fields include call centers, medical transcription, animation, litigation support, back-office operation or shared services and software development. It appeared that cyberservices now employs 250,000 workers and generates millions of pesos to the revenue of the country.
If you are articulate in English even if you did not finish your college degree, call centers have opened doors for career shifters, as well as to some people who previously could not find jobs. The good thing in working in a call center is that it caters without age limit. Despite the high attrition rate in working in contact centers many in the call center executives believe that staffing is not the problem. Everyday almost an average of 100 applicants or more than this were applying in call center companies. The advantage of the industry is that the recruitment process takes only 24 hours and once the applicants passed, they will then proceed to the contract signing. After the contract signing they are scheduled for a month-long training before they will allowed to take calls.
The Philippine Government is expecting the total number of BPO workers to reach the target by 2010. In a research conducted by one of the national daily newspapers in the Philippines since June 2006, about 27 percent of the 199,000 job advertisements from June to December 2006 were for cyberservices. The survey was based on the job advertisement monitored to the three national daily newspapers and three jobs online companies. It appeared that in terms of ranking, cyberservices occupy the top spot, followed by construction and engineering; manufacturing; wholesale and retail; hotels, resorts and restaurants; media and entertainment; transportation, storage and communication; financial intermediation; health and social work; and advertising and promotions. Consistently, job ads from the cyberservices sector have been growing at double-digit rates from its base in June in the last five months, an indication of the growth in job creation in the sector.
The education sector in the Philippines produce about 400,000 graduates every year which is higher compared to the other Asian countries. For the industry to grow into a million workers by 2010, the industry needs to recruit an average of 200,000 additional workers each year, a figure some industry experts say is probably not achievable. Even if the industry achieves half that target, recruiting about 100,000 new workers each year for the industry would mean that a significant number will have to come from career shifters. To achieve this goal, many call center and BPO companies designed specific programs for their employees to stay on the business. These graduates produce every year can speak English and have fair level of competency to be employed easily in a call center in the Philippines.
For instance, Beau Rudd, chief executive officer of Unique Interaction, disclosed that most of his employees in the inbound and outbound call centers and live support chat are career shifters. Mr. Rudd said that they welcome the fresh graduates to apply for the position and applicants who have experience in the call centers are advantage.
“Our goal is to provide unique solutions to our business associates. We value our clients and providing proper training to the agents should be given top priority,” Mr. Rudd said. So far, there is no statistics on the number of career shifters in outsourcing. But it is no doubt that in the Philippine call center arena, it continue to grow.
Among of the basic reasons why career shifters continue to expand because the agents learned new things in American way and they were able to financially help their respective families. Some considered the environment as progressive and organizational structure is rather flat, which provides doors of opportunities. Moreover, an employee doesn’t need to wait for an official appointment to get promoted. He/she can apply for the post aspired for. Many of the managers are young, and have equally progressive management style. They encourage direct interactions with subordinates. The company’s work ethic for managers requires them to provide support to their subordinates. Also, the work environment is fun and informal, while remaining professional in terms of delivering results.
The survey further revealed that its effect on other firms will probably have a limited effect. It noted that those who shift are those with technical skills for specialized accounts and are paid very well. In addition, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) expects on achieving the country’s job targets in the cyberservices industry. CICT believes that more than 40,000 career shifters are going this industry from 2006 until 2010. CICT also expects career shifters to make up 30 percent of new employees in the medical transcription business from 2006 to 2010.*
Posted by Roberto Bacasong at Tuesday, September 18, 2007