CALL CENTER INDUSTRY IN THE PHILIPPINES



The Philippines is now gaining a quick share in the customer-service call center industry, which is a steadfast business in the world today. The outsourcing business is something that is being given importance because for the Philippine Government, this is a huge economic boon in terms of employment since it had been operating in the country in 2000.

A call center in the Philippines is stable based on the recent State of the Nation Address of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last July. Arroyo highlighted that the government is seriously focusing on keeping this industry by putting satisfactory budget in the education sector which will be utilized in the conduct of trainings in the field of computer, Internet and English to the students and teachers. The call centers continue to grow and surpass the target of employment every year because of the high demand of the offshore business in any parts of the world. Over the past few years, the entry of the foreign investors owning small-and-big call centers company in the Philippines signified that business process outsourcing is considered as the sunshine industry. It cannot be denied that call centers is now playing an important segment in boosting the economic industry of the country.

When talking about this job, a call center is a communications-based company which serves as a support system for larger companies in first world countries like the United States. Call or contact centers handle customer complaints and inquiries and provide technical support for a wide array of products and services like electronics, e-mail management, mortgage, insurance, advertising, telecommunications and even volunteer and charity work. For a customer service representative, their job description is basically to receive from and make calls to foreign countries. There are two categories of call centers: inbound and outbound calls. And there are three types of accounts: telemarketing, customer service and technical support. Telemarketing belongs to the inbound category. However, customer service centers also engage in up selling, which means offering or selling services. With all these type of categories, Filipino agents are considerably tough and can employ further development in handling any types of concerns.

The conducive way of the Filipinos to communicate in English strengthen the campaign of the government to establish more contact centers. It is noted that this country has been referred to as an English-speaking, with almost 95 percent of the population can deliver fluency and understand it effectively. English, an outgrowth of American colonialism, was the medium of instruction in schools for decades. With a long history of contact with the United States, including several decades of American colonial rule, Filipinos are more attuned to Western culture than most Asians are. Call center employees in the Philippines not only find it easy to relate to Westerners but are also quick to adapt to a variety of accents. The intensive training which acquired by the employees prove their competency in dealing with their customers in no hassle anytime. In retrospect, the Philippines was placed under the colonial hostage by the three powerful first world countries the Americans, Japanese and Spanish colonialism. Their presence had brought tremendous change to the Philippine lifestyle and culture. If the Spanish rule (1521-1898) sharpened our religious belief in terms of Christianity, then the Americans (1848-1946) taught us the importance of education and used English as the primary medium, aside from the local dialect which is Filipino/Tagalog.

The call center phenomenon in the Philippines started in 2000 wherein it has been recorded that four contact centers started to do outsourcing business. After five years, potential investors started to outsource their business here until it continues to expand. To connote, the ability of the Filipinos to do better in customer service is a good advantage. Likewise, the Philippines geographic location which is the gateway to the other Asian nations maintain the interest the investors. Today, the Philippines is one of the world's key players in offshore call center business together with China and India. Investors are likely to place more contact centers because of the lower cost of laborcompared to the other Asian countries and better infrastructure including the state-of-the-art technology.

The Philippine call centers continue to caters clients from the US, United Kingdom and Australia. The hired customer service representatives are obliged to learn foreign accent and study the geography and cultural mores of these foreign countries and work on a graveyard shift. Being the third largest English speaking country in the world and with a high literacy rate, the Philippines is considered as one of the most competitive call center destinations in the world.

When it comes to the benefits, call center workers enjoy the premium salary package. They are also entitled to receive benefits like SSS, Health Insurance, Pag-big and salary loans. Aside from these, they also enjoy to receive commissions, night differential pay, bonuses and freebies from the company. Working in a call center in the Philippines will not require age limit, as long as the applicants can communicate English. The contact center companies also encourage fresh graduates from the universities and colleges to apply at them anytime. The successful candidates also learn the update of their application whether they pass or failed to make it on the list.

A call center in the Philippines is continue to be acknowledged as the sunshine industry because of the massive developments brought to the country. Not only, Metro Manila specifically Tortillasis housing the famous contact centers. It also starts to expand in the other provinces such as Baguio, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao, among others. Call centers in the Philippines continue to gather support from the government. With all these good development happened, the country will achieve its goal by 2010 by stabilizing this industry.

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