The Philippines excels and is considered at the top in the world in offering call center service as part of the booming business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. Late last year and early this year, many news articles have again been trumpeting how the Philippines has overtaken India in providing call center service. The country had taken the position of pre-eminence some years back, but has now cemented its reputation enough to be featured in foreign media such as the LA Times and Bloomberg.
Aside from the IT Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), which is the local BPO industry’s pillar in pushing for progress, there is the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) that is made up of over 100 member companies offering call center services. The CCAP recently held in January its 10th International Call Center Conference and Expo.
CCAP announced that both the number of full-time employees (FTEs) and revenues from the call center service sector of the industry had improved from 2013 to 2014, and were expected to maintain their healthy growth in the coming years. There were 586,000 call center employees by year-end 2013, growing by 100,000 to 686,000 by year-end 2014. The number of FTEs is expected to grow by 15 percent to 790,000 this year. Revenues grew from US$10 billion in 2013 to US$11.7 billion in 2014, and is projected to grow to US$13.5 billion this year.
These rosy figures are excellent for the country since the entire BPO industry is one of the current drivers of the Philippine economy that is considered one of the best performers in Asia. Economic gains come from increased employment and the benefits to whole families from increased income and spending power. Many other businesses also benefit from the industry, such as food, transportation, construction, retail firms, and more.
Agents providing call center services, also known as voice services, are estimated to make up between 60 to 70 percent of the total BPO industry that already breached the million mark last year. The US is the main market for call center service. Philippine agents provide good call center service because of proficiency in English, spoken with a neutral accent, customer service provided skillfully and pleasantly, as well as being from a large pool of university graduates with cultural affinity to western countries.
The country will be upgrading its offerings and implementing other measures not only to remain on top of the call center industry, but to try to wrest the overall BPO industry title away from India. With these prospects, the combined call center services and nonvoice services subsectors are expected to reach US$25 billion in revenues and 1.3 million FTEs by 2016.