The Business Process Outsourcing sector is set to move resources to higher value services next year as the global financial crisis is felt in traditional markets. According to the results of a recent survey, the BPO sector sees “Good to excellent” prospects for non-voice services. The survey was conducted by the Philippine Business Processing Association (BPA / P) and Outsource2Philippines (O2P) and operated by TeamAsia strategic marketing operations companies. The results showed that 65 percent of respondents felt that the prospects for this year were “excellent outstanding.” Another 30 percent said the prospects for the next year were good, while only 5 percent said that company forecasts would only be “fair”. The results of the survey are among the fears of a sharp decline in the sector on which the government is banking to keep the unemployment rate at manageable levels. The survey results confirm that, despite the impact of the global financial crisis on economic activity in major markets, non-voice providers outsourced company process services are optimistic that they will continue to grow next year.
BPO industry officials estimate that over 400,000 will be employed by the industry by the end of 2008, although many admit that the government target of having 1 million call center workers nationwide by 2010 will be difficult to achieve. Combined gross revenues of businesses based on Philippine BPO is expected to hit $ 6.8 billion this year, from $ 4.9 billion in 2007. Along with a $ 14 billion estimate of remittances from Filipino expatriates, the industry is a source vital foreign currency for the country.
A total of 188 respondents participated in the survey, which was sent to 583 BPO executives, providing a 32 percent response rate, 84 percent of respondents providing non-voice outsourced business process services. Most respondents of 91 percent said the value of their services was moderate, high or very high, indicating that more non-vocal BPO services provided in the Philippines are at least reasonably sophisticated. Non-voice business process services include animation and graphics, back-office services such as HR administration and accounting, customer support, services, financial services, software development and other engineering services and technical support.
The Sydney-based online publishing company has recently come out with industry forecasts for the Asia Pacific region. Its studio covered nearly 2,500 companies with call center operation through Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. Filipino agents call centers need to improve their sales techniques to compete more strongly with outsourcing India’s giant, according to an industry observer. India’s “classic” outsourcing model derives its strength from outbound sales.
However, they recognized that the Philippines’s customer support force, which makes up the majority of the country’s contact center industry. This study showed that call centers are now in a period of transition from the provision of traditional services and support to revenue generation. Among the countries of Southeast Asia, Philippines is at the forefront of this transition from the initial call center model as a cost center.
The study shows that 65 percent of the contact centers recognize the opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell during a typical call, which means more opportunities to generate revenue, about 70 percent of the contact centers in the Philippines are already measured as profit centers. The findings strongly suggest that the industry has recognized additional opportunities and is on top of developing trends, and the contact center is rapidly becoming the most valuable income asset of an organization. However, the industry must continue to face the challenges of human resources as an agent friction. Research for people with the right skills still remains a major concern for Filipino-based call centers and that career-oriented training centers contact centers focus more on sales techniques, not just customer service or language skills.