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The forces driving the growth of offshore Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) have evolved as the consumer market has changed. Initially a process that was all about cost savings, BPO has increasingly been about providing quality. A major component of the success of BPO companies in the Philippines has not been that they are the cheapest, but that they offer high-quality services.
Early offshore outsourcing largely aimed at cutting costs. By using BPOs in countries such as the Philippines with significantly lower labor costs, the savings could be significant, and English’s status as a common language meant there were plenty of nations keen to attract the investment of Western businesses. The disadvantage was that service quality was often low. Agents might speak English but perhaps with heavy accents, or they would be caught out by idioms. Recruited largely on a cost basis, they could not always meet the demands of the clients. After the initial rush to offshore, it wasn’t long before BPOs started developing a negative reputation, and some businesses began marketing their onshore customer service operations as a selling point. Today, however, the tide is turning again.
“BPO providers in the Philippines have been part of the wave of outsourcing that charts the middle way, offering significant savings to businesses while giving high-quality service to customers. There are a number of factors behind the success of the Philippine BPO industry. A major one is cultural. Filipinos have a high level of English fluency, often without an accent and, because of the cultural influences of the West, they are familiar with American slang. It’s also a young and educated nation, providing an excellent recruitment pool for BPO companies,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a leading BPO in the Philippines.