Some forecasters are predicting the coronavirus recession will be the UK’s worst for 300 years when The Great Frost of 1709 plunged Europe into an unusually harsh winter, resulting in crop failures, famine and social upheaval.
While the Great Frost had the inevitability of warmer seasons ahead coronavirus might not be so quick to end. The development of vaccines offers some hope, but although vaccination programmes have started there is a long way to go until immunity levels are high enough for life to return to normal. In the meantime, the government has been unable to control a virus which has continued to wreak havoc, forcing the closures of businesses during critical trading periods.
For those companies trying to navigate the uncertainty it is a challenging time. As consumer behaviour changes there is more pressure than ever on company finances, keeping costs low and operations efficient while you retain existing customers and, hopefully, win new ones. With labour costs being the biggest expense on most budgets the attraction of call centre outsourcing to the Philippines remains as great as ever.
“It’s a do or die kind of situation for a lot of SMEs in the UK,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a leading call centre outsourcing provider in the Philippines. “If there’s ever been a best time to outsource call centre requirements to the Philippines, then it is now. Companies are under intense pressure to lower operating costs, increase operating efficiencies, and enhance customer experience.”
Call centre outsourcing to the Philippines has some compelling benefits. The biggest is cost, labour costs are 60% lower than in the UK meaning call centres in the Philippines can offer some big savings. However, this is not at the expense of quality. The outsourcing industry is a major part of the Philippine economy, affording it the resources to develop high-quality infrastructure and facilities; call centres in the Philippines are some of the best in the world.
The country also has a western outlook, significant levels of trade with countries like the UK has led to the adoption of western business practices, while the country’s history means that the people also have a cultural bond with the west, with a high level of English proficiency and little accent. Finally, the sheer size of the BPO industry in the Philippines means there is a huge pool of experienced call agents.
A number of household names already use call centres in the Philippines, with financial giants like HSBC and Prudential or telecoms companies like Vodafone trusting them with their customers. Some even establish their own, in-house, operations to take advantage of the local workforce: over one hundred thousand Filipinos are now employed this way.
“The fact that some of largest and leading UK-based companies have been outsourcing their call centre and back office requirements to the Philippines is a clear testament that offshore outsourcing works,” says Ellspermann.
But smaller companies can benefit too, the typical outsourcing client is an SME using 5 to 50 seats in a call centre. PITON-Global has assisted dozens of UK companies like these, helping them add value to their customer service, while still cutting costs.
“The key to a successful, long-term outsourcing partnership is finding a capable and experienced call centre outsourcing provider that can deliver the highest level of service at a substantially reduced cost,” Ellspermann explains. “By outsourcing their call centre requirements to us in the Philippines, they typically save 40-50% on costs.”