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Call Center / BPO industry in Philippines

Five questions about BPO

How long will the BPO boom last?
Nobody can say how long the BPO boom will last but the global trend is that with the cost of doing business being so much higher in the United States and Europe, companies there are looking globally for cheaper resources. The outsourcing of their various business processes includes technical support to payroll to legal and medical transcription and now market research.

Why do BPO jobs involve night shifts?
If you have companies from the United States and Europe setting up their BPO centers in the Philippines where we are in a time zone that's seven to 12 hours ahead of them, it is inevitable that shift work will be necessary. It's not only about them looking for ways and means of enhancing services for their customers. Most importantly, they are looking for reduction in cycle times of various processes. The Philippines is in an ideal time zone so if a customer sends their invoices raised during the day to the Filipino office, we'll be able to process it and respond to them at the start of the next business day. Also, there are some jobs which are to be done on a 24-hour basis such as handling customer complaints, such as insurance details and technical problems, etc. All this means you may have to work the night shifts on a rotational basis, which is what most BPO companies offer.

Will all BPO jobs involve talking on the phone only?
All businesses involve talking on the telephone to suppliers, customers, vendors, etc. It's all part of what we do daily, except that the length of time you spend talking will depend on the level you are at. For example, it is quite common that someone in customer service may spend seven hours attending to calls, a team lead may spend about five hours, a manager three hours, etc to different groups of people. But in the BPO industry, there are several non-voice communication alternatives that are coming in their own, such as emails, web chats, etc. This has created opportunities for technically qualified people in this area.

Will all BPO jobs turn out monotonous?
Not quite. Although there is bound to be many similarities in customer requests, every customer is unique and this makes each customer interaction process different. It's a learning experience wherein people learn business communication and problem solving skills.

Will I be facing rude callers?
On the contrary, most of the customers are very polite and they are only interested in getting their requests looked into and resolved. They can be quite appreciative at times. As for irate customers, you will find them everywhere. The trick lies in the ability to handle them professionally in line with organizational policies.

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