Ralf Ellspermann

Call centres sometimes have a bad reputation in western countries. Meanwhile, the image of call centre jobs is even worse, with staff working in regimented ranks, on repetitive calls, under pressure to meet targets.

The truth is typically far different. Indeed, what business would want to operate a call centre that annoys customers? Especially when it’s the main, or perhaps only, direct interaction customers will have with the company. And if you want happy, satisfied customers, would you trust customer interactions to staff employed at low pay, under high pressure, with no autonomy?

“In fact, the situation in Philippine call centres is the precise opposite of the stereotype. One of the reasons the country has become the world’s largest provider of call centres is because of the quality—of both its services and staff,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, an award-winning call centre in the Philippines.

“A significant part of the savings from call centre outsourcing to the Philippines is because labour costs are low, but this is a relative measure. The salaries of many Philippines workers are lower than their western counterparts, yes, but in fact, for many educated Filipinos with excellent English, work in business process outsourcing can be a well-paid start to their career,” he adds.

The job also differs significantly from the preconception. Because call centres vary enormously, depending on the level of security required by clients, their size, and the variety of outsourcing providers in the Philippines, no two call centre agents’ jobs are alike, and there are significant opportunities for progression. Indeed, premier providers will pride themselves on their training and development opportunities, recognising that business success starts with their staff.

Even within a single day on a single project, the job has challenge and variety. No two customers are alike, so even if their problem is the same, the call agent will need to use different skills and approaches with each one. PITON-Global in Manila gives call centre agents an artificial intelligence assistant, which will automatically retrieve relevant data and suggest solutions, freeing the call centre agent to focus on engaging with the customer and using their discretion to find the best solution.

And for customers, this means the outdated stereotype is far from accurate. Businesses, from giants like Optus and Jetstar to thousands of SMEs, have trusted their outsourcing requirements to the Philippines because of the exceptionally high quality it means for their customers.

A customer getting through to a call centre in the Philippines like PITON-Global can expect a superb connection, thanks to the country’s investments in infrastructure. Their conversation will be with an agent fluent in English, even to the level of understanding Australian slang, and who receives ongoing training and development. And, perhaps most importantly, the AI assistant, along with the agent’s skills and knowledge, will find an answer or solution as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Businesses benefit because outsourcing to the Philippines can offer significant savings, sometimes as much as half the cost of in-house provision, thanks to the efficiencies of a specialised provider and lower labour costs. Most importantly, though, they can expect improvements in customer service and satisfaction.

Next time you have to deal with a call centre, think a little about your expectations and about what is happening behind the scenes. If you are dealing with a premier outsourcing provider in the Philippines, you will find your expectations met or exceeded.