Home Insights & Advice Call centre outsourcing Philippines: The three red flags

Call centre outsourcing Philippines: The three red flags

by John Saunders
27th Jul 21 6:00 pm

The Philippines is a world leader in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), and there are more than 800 outsourcing providers to choose between. The competitive market is great for your business as you are spoiled for choice. And because these call center outsourcing providers in the Philippines need business, they will offer the best services and the best rates, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

The contact centre industry in the Philippines has thrived because of its quality offer. Premier call center outsourcing providers in the Philippines will make sure they have the best agents, are using the latest technologies, operate out of state-of-the-art service delivery centres, and price their services at reasonable rates. Unfortunately, there are plenty of low-quality providers attracted to the massive, booming market in the hope of capturing a few clients lured by their promises. Inevitably, they are not able to fulfil their promises, leaving you with a failed program, wasted time and money, and unhappy customers.

How can you avoid making a mistake when selecting a call centre? It’s simple. You really need to do your homework. Here are the three things you need to think about to make sure your customers give you an A+.

Call centre with 100+ clients

There’s no shortage of contact centres that boast about the size of their client list. Unfortunately, they don’t realise it’s not actually a good thing. It might look impressive on the call centre’s website, but think about what it actually means: ‘we’re a mid-sized call centre in the Philippines, and we want you to be our client #137.’ Seriously, what level of service could you possibly expect to receive from such a company

When even the world’s largest and leading third-party call centre outsourcing providers will only have 50-60 clients globally, choosing any provider that boasts about the length of the client list is asking for disaster. Choosing a vendor that partners with more than 100 clients is like playing roulette and putting everything on 00. There’s a tiny chance it might work out well for you, but the odds are heavily stacked against you.

When you see any contact centre boasting about a three-figure client book avoid them like the plague. This is a big red flag

You get what you pay for

When you see a low-cost provider, just move on. You will lose far more than you think you will save. Many operators will try to lure you in with low prices. But however tempting those hourly service rates are, the simple fact remains: you can’t have low prices and expect to get high quality.

Instinctively, you already know this. You don’t expect a high-end restaurant experience in a cheap burger joint. The staff are not paid well and have a high turnover rate. The kitchen won’t use premium ingredients and the might not even be up to standard. It’s the same with call center outsourcing to the Philippines : you won’t get a premium experience at a rock-bottom rate. It’s common sense.

A highly educated and skilled agent, speaking fluent English with 3-5 years of work experience  will easily earn about £3-4 an hour, a good rate in the Philippines. Add in things like management costs, support like HR, finance and admin, facilities costs, telecoms, IT, and security, and it’s already well over the £4-6 that low-cost operators charge, and that’s without the provider making any profit.

Low-budget call centres offer low rates by skimping: they operate from poorer facilities and pay staff significantly less. When 70% of all call centre-related job opportunities are provided by globally leading third-party outsourcing providers and captive operators that pay top dollars to attract and retain the country’s best talent, it leaves the low-cost operators with no option but to employ much lower skilled staff. If you sign off on a low rate like this, you are effectively declaring you don’t care about customer service, and that’s never a good business decision. There aren’t many red flags bigger than unrealistically low prices that don’t make any sense to begin with.

A jack of all trades is a master of none

The final red flag is that of call centres claiming to be able to offer any service. Anyone who claims to specialize in everything, actually specializes in nothing. It’s a clear sign that the provider is more interested in touting for business rather than focusing on providing high-quality services.

In contrast, premium contact centers in the Philippines typically specialize in just a few industry verticals and call center services. The narrower the focus, the better they typically are. If you are in healthcare, financial services or e-commerce, look for a provider that works in that sector. Their facilities will be set up to meet the relevant compliance requirements and already have all the necessary processes in place for the sort of work you need. And they will come with deep domain expertise.

You wouldn’t expect a general practitioner to perform heart surgery, you’d look for a cardiologist with a proven track record. And it’s exactly the same with call center outsourcing to the Philippines. You are trusting the vendor with your customers, the life of your business. They need to know what they are doing. Making sure you find the experts will significantly increase the chances of a long-term and highly successful outsourcing partnership.

Ralf Ellspermann is the CEO of PITON-Global, a leading mid-sized call centre in the Philippines. Ralf has more than twenty years of award-winning call centre and back-office outsourcing experience in the Philippines. He has worked on both the vendor and client sides of the business, which gives him an unmatched understanding of the Philippine BPO industry, its vendor landscape, and service capabilities. An internationally recognised expert on call centre outsourcing to the Philippines, Ralf has been a keynote and expert panel speaker at some of Asia’s largest and leading outsourcing conferences and summits.

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