How the Philippines overtook India in call centers
January 19, 2011

Recently and according to various reports and industry experts, the Philippines “officially” overtook India in call centers and voice related work. In fact and in a December 2010 article in Business Week, the Everest Group estimated that the Philippines will have pocketed US$5.7 billion in 2010 for call center work from the US, Europe and Australia verses US$5.5 billion for India’s call centers (although India still leads in overall outsourcing revenue at an estimated US$70 billion verses US$9 billion for the Philippines) while according to IBM’s latest Global Locations Trend Annual Report, the Philippines is now the world leader in business support functions like shared services and BPO with India ranked as number two for the first time. Interestingly enough, the IBM report also noted that Sri Lanka was another Asian country that was succeeding in positioning itself as an alternative outsourcing destination to India.  Read more

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How to use behavioral economics in the call center
August 11, 2010

Recently, the Harvard Business Review and blog had a fascinating article entitled “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers” that was written by three executives (Matt Dixon, Karen Freeman and Nicholas Toman) from the Corporate Executive Board. In the article and accompanied blog post, the authors noted how many customer representatives are taught to use a checklist mentality when interacting with customers in order to be consistent. However and all to often, this tailored and low effort approach turns customer interactions into robotic interactions that fail to build customer loyalty. Read more

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More political grandstanding: Senator Charles Schumer proposes an offshore call center tax
June 6, 2010

Recently, it was reported that Democratic Senator Charles Schumer from New York would introduce a bill that would force companies to inform customers when their calls are transferred outside the United States and then charge companies a tax for those calls transferred offshore. The proposed bill would impose a tax of $0.25 per off shored call (there would be no fee for using a domestic call center) and consumers would also need to be informed what country their call was being transferred to. Companies would also be required to certify to the Federal Trade Commission annually that they are in compliance with the requirement or they would face (unspecified) penalties. Read more

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Callcenter outsourcing problems
April 1, 2010

Recently, two interesting and cautionary tales involving employees of a Manila based third party call center and a client based in New Zealand has come to light. In the first incident, five New Zealand Telecom customers had complained about receiving obscene messages, including one living in Wanganui who was sent a text message that said “f*** you customer” after she had complained about delays in receiving text messages. This customer then complained to the town mayor on his Radio Live talkback show which triggered an investigation that ultimately traced the messages to four employees based in the Manila working for Sitel on the New Zealand Telecom account. These employees were suspended pending a further investigation. Read more

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Egypt Offers Incentive Packages for Burgeoning Offshoring Industry
March 25, 2010

CAIRO – One of the emerging destinations in outsourcing is Egypt and its burgeoning offshoring sector is expected to generate $2 billion in revenues toward 2013. That figure is projected to climb to $10 billion in just a decade. The increase in outsourcing is assisted by planned incentives for foreign firms, according to an Egyptian government official. Read more

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Will domestic home-based workers be the future of call centers?
December 26, 2009

Home based workers who work via telecommuting is hardly a new idea. In fact, the term telecommuting was first coined in 1973 during the dawn of the information age but since then few companies have actually implemented large-scale telecommuting programs. However, the recent spike in oil prices followed by the current economic downturn along dramatic increases in broadband penetration rates is increasingly making large-scale telecommuting a viable and potentially revolutionary work option – especially for the call center industry. Read more

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India Vs Philippines: Outsourcing outlook
August 24, 2009

Whereas India is still considered to be the preeminent offshore outsourcing destination for IT services as well as in BPO, the Philippines has fast made a name for itself in providing offshore call center and BPO related services. In fact, few can argue that Filipinos, with their relatively neutral accents and better understanding of and affinity towards American culture, aren’t at least better at providing voice related work. Hence, the global economic crisis is affecting the outlook in both countries differently. Read more

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Is it because they can’t say g’day right or is something else to blame?
August 17, 2009

Voice customer service related work can be the most difficult work to outsource. After all, the general public can be very demanding and vicious over the phone – especially when they have trouble understanding the customer service representative or they feel themselves have trouble being understood. This is one of the major reasons why voice related work is migrating out of India and being sent back home or to other countries.

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If you can’t compete with them, why not join them?
June 18, 2009

Some years ago, I recall reading an intriguing article in Business week entitled Subcontinental Drift: More Westerners are beefing up their résumés with a stint in India. The gist of the article was that a new bred of expatriate worker, not the traditional Non-Resident Indian (NRI) or highly paid Westerners expatriate, were “chasing their jobs” to India and according to NASSCOM at the time, some 30,000 firangis or foreigners were already working for Indian technology and outsourcing companies – triple the number from 2004. Read more

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The Philippines: India’s outsourcing step child
May 31, 2009

The Philippines, with is 90 million plus people at home and a growing Diaspora abroad, has long marketed itself as the third largest English speaking country in the world and as an alternative location to India in the world of outsourcing – especially in voice related work (See the May 30, 2009 Wall Street Journal article entitled: Philippine Call Centers Ring Up Business). After all, even Indian based call centers will concede that the Philippines is a more attractive place to do voice related work as the Filipino accent is much easier on North American ears and bluntly speaking, Filipinos are simply better at being customer service representatives than Indians. Moreover, having been a former colony of the USA, there is a great affinity towards and understanding of American culture in the country. Read more

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