We’ve all heard the usual reasons why it’s advantageous for companies to put up a business process outsourcing (BPO) company in the Philippines: low labor cost, low cost of living for expatriate managers, and the Filipinos’ high level of English proficiency.
But to tell the truth, those advantages can be found in a few other parts of the world as well. So what sets the Philippines apart?
Government support. The Philippine government is extremely supportive of the BPO industry. The government-funded Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) offers free IT and customer service training courses to Filipino citizen, and this enriches the pool of qualified BPO manpower in the country, both in terms of number and quality.
The Philippines also has very BPO-friendly laws. The Foreign Investment Act of 1991 and its 1996 amendment, for instance, allow 100% foreign ownership of BPO companies. The Data Privacy Act of 2012, on the other hand, increases the level of state-granted protection for the confidentiality of personal data collected by the government and private sectors during their day-to-day operations.
All these can only be beneficial for BPO companies that choose to put up business in the country.
American culture. From 1898 to 1946, the Philippines was under the governance of the United States. And although America eventually left the Philippines, the Filipinos never really weaned themselves of America.
Today, most of the classes from preschool to college are conducted in American English. The Filipino child is exposed, from a very young age, to Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, Pixar, and Marvel shows in all their original untranslated glory.
So let’s say your Filipino tech support agent is waiting for her New York caller’s computer to reboot. How do they avoid dead air?
They can talk about what’s currently showing on cable. They can mull on who’s going to be the next American Idol. They can gripe about how much they both hated How I Met Your Mother’s final episode.
They can talk about everyday American stuff because these are the very things that surround your Filipino BPO employees in their everyday lives.
American names. In most BPO companies, offshore voice-support agents are asked to give American-sounding names: “Thank you for choosing So-and-So Internet Services, my name is Jennifer, how can I help you?” But in most Asian countries, “Jennifer” is really Saanvi, Meiling, or Nguyen.
Can you imagine having to lie at every call you answer? For those who are unaccustomed to dishonesty, this innocent-looking practice can eat away at employee morale.
Such an issue does not exist in the Philippines, where the population segment most likely to join the BPO industry is composed of people named Zoey, Ethan, Angela, and the like.
Should the day come when some smart-aleck caller says, “Listen – you and I both know your name is not really Jennifer,” the Filipino agent can answer confidently, “It actually is. I also go by Jen and Jenny, but to my closest friends, it’s JLo.”
You cannot put a price on the morale boosting an episode like that will create.
Unsurprisingly, more and more companies are wising up to the fact that the Philippines is truly the prime area for putting up a BPO company.
We at Dayanan Business Consultancy have a wealth of experience in helping investors gain a better understanding of the BPO business potentials of the Philippines. You too can benefit from this experience. Give us a call today.