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The future of BPO industry

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor .

MORE than three years ago, Patrick Ocampo, 49, decided to join the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry with the goal of securing a better source of income for his family.

“I came from the academe. I was a college professor for 24 years but because of the K to 12 implementation, my financial situation became unstable, so, I took a chance on BPO,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo said the school he was previously employed in could only provide its full-time educators nine units of teaching load per semester to accommodate senior high school teachers.

“Honestly, at first it was a financial reason for me, but now that I’m in the industry, I see my work a lot easier compared to what I used to do as college professor. This is really routine, taking calls, and talking to clients is just like talking to students,” he said.

Citing some horror stories from other call center agents, Ocampo said such unpleasant experiences might have been caused by mismanagement.

“Work here isn’t toxic. I think it depends on your co-workers, on the management, comparing it to a lot of other BPO’s management, we’re pretty lucky,” he added.

Industry capital

According to the 2017 A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index, a study that analyzes and tracks the contours of the offshoring landscape, the Philippines ranks seventh in the top outsourcing destinations category.

The ranking of the countries were based on different factors like financial attractiveness, people skills and availability, and business environment.

The index also showed that the Philippines has overtaken the position of its closest rival, India, with 16 to 18 percent of the global market share.

“The reason why Philippines is the best location for call centers is, first, the language. Whatever everybody says, it is still the only English-speaking country in Asia, unlike in India where, you can say their films, for example are in their native language, here in the Philippines, English is everywhere,” Benjamin Davidowitz, chief executive officer of Open Access BPO, said.

Davidowitz noted that the Philippines already established its credibility compared to other countries.

“And now, more than five or 10 years ago, you have all the major companies doing business in the Philippines – Apple, Google, Citibank, Microsoft,” he said.

“We had some challenges in dealing with the government but I believe the Philippine government has also made strides in making business easier for us, for the BPO industry,” he added.

Open Access BPO

Open Access BPO is a multi-lingual outsourcing firm headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. It started as a telemarketing company in 2006 and evolved into a full-suite provider of scalable multi-channel business solutions.

Its multi-cultural workforce situated in Las Vegas, Nevada; Taipei, Taiwan; Xiamen, China; and Manila, Philippines, provides a wide range of outsourcing solutions – multilingual customer support and content moderation in more than 30 languages.

“Open Access BPO is the go-to provider for complex business management work. Our clients have state-of-the-art requirements that can only be met with state-of-the-art facility and our new facility can support these demands,” country president Henry Chang said.

On July 12, the company opened its sixth international facility at the Glorietta 2 Corporate Center. The 1,000-seat facility was established to meet the growing demands of its clients and expanding workforce.

Chang said the expansion proves the quality of service they provide compared to other BPO companies.

“So, our basic requirement is for everyone to have language proficiency, so they (applicants) take language proficiency exam. We also look for good attitude because we can’t make them stay if they’re unable to work in a team,” he added.

More opportunities

When asked about a possible slowdown in the growth of BPO industry in the Philippines, Chang said the country had somehow set the mark in terms of customer service, with its large pool of English-speaking Filipinos who are culturally adaptive at the same time.

“Like here, in Open Access, they also do other skill sets like content-moderation and back-office services, providing the right outsourcing solutions for businesses,” Chang said.

“BPO industry is here to stay because there’s growth in terms of services that are international-based which we can cater, like games, travel and other interesting campaigns and not just customer support,” Ocampo said.

Stressing that the BPO environment welcomes diversity and rewards good performance regardless of one’s age and background, Ocampo urged Filipinos to apply for a job in the industry.

“Don’t be afraid to try but have the intention to do your best, perform well if you find it suitable for you. Also, I can say there’s career growth in line of work as I first started as a regular agent before I became a team lead,” he added. (PNA)

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