PH to keep leadership amid evolving global call center industry

Photo from CCAP's FB page

The Philippines has an edge in being the ‘location of choice’ by outsourcing clients as the global contact center industry transforms from an arbitrage-first to an experience-first model. This is the highlight of the white paper entitled ‘Philippines at the Helm of Delivering Customer Experience of the Future’ presented by global consulting and research firm Everest Group during the Contact Islands conference held on Wednesday (October 11) at Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa in Boracay Island.

“The Philippines has a unique opportunity to not just adapt but to innovate and influence the change,” said Everest Group Global Sourcing Partner H Karthik who presented the study on Day 1 of the two-day conference organized by the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP). “This will propel the Philippines to be at the helm of shaping future customer experience.”

The study underlined that while technology innovation will play a key role in upholding customer experience, high-skilled agents will remain as the key for delivering required services.

“The contact center industry in the Philippines is rapidly evolving to meet the requirements of customer experience delivery, and will continue to have a strong leading value proposition,” Karthik asserted. “Customer experience will continue to be heavily dependent on high-quality talent with high-empathy skills, and the Philippines is the leading provider of such talent.”

He also emphasized the advantage brought about by the fact that the country has among the world’s youngest population (with median age of 23 years). “It forms the perfect bedrock for serving the millennial customers,” he said.

In photo are (from left): Jojo Uligan, President CCAP; Mickey Ocampo, Board of Directors CCAP; Tonichi Achurra-Parekh, Board of Director, CCAP; Bong Borja, Asia President, Alorica Asia; Benedict Hernandez , Chairman, CCAP; Dan Reyes, Board of Director CCAP; Butch Valenzuela, Board of Director, CCAP; Jovy Hernandez, Board of Director, CCAP.

Meeting future requirements
The analysis by Everest Group pointed out that local contact centers have already started upgrading its capabilities to meet the changing requirements in the global industry environment. The study identified these current conditions of Philippine-based contact centers:

• Up to a third of the agents in best-in-class centers have already been trained to acquire multi-channel expertise.

• Up to a third of the agents in best-in-class centers have already been trained to acquire multi-channel expertise.

• Robotic process automation (RPA) solutions are starting to be implemented like rule-based chatbots for simple business processes and customer queries.

• Focus and investment on analytics for customer experience delivery is growing although analytics for operational excellence still has higher adaption.

• In line with global trends, adaption level of artificial intelligence (AI) and assisted automation solutions in the country remains in a nascent stage.

• Companies are actively redesigning their recruitment and training approaches to increase focus on multi-channel capabilities and technical skills.

Despite its strong position in adapting and instituting skills-upgrade of its agents, the country’s contact center industry still needs to further strengthen its capabilities to “shape the global future” of contact center services, according to Everest Group.

“While Philippine-based contact centers continue to grow, adapt next-gen solutions, and improve their talent models, a sustained effort is needed to maintain the Philippines’ leading position for contact center services,” said Karthik. “Companies will have to invest significantly in building technology and talent for automation, AI, and analytics. At the same time, they also need to develop agent skills for delivering superior omnichannel experiences,” he concluded.

Aim to maintain leadership
Meanwhile, CCAP Chairman Benedict Hernandez expressed confidence in the industry’s ability to remain as a leader when it comes to delivering superior customer experience. “Our primary industry agenda is to keep that leading edge position globally. This year’s Contact Islands conference gathers top players and thinkers worldwide to discuss how we continue to invest in both technology and in our people, who already stand out globally in services, to take customer experience to a whole new level,” Hernandez said.

Currently, the Philippines remains as among the top nations where contact center services are outsourced. Based on industry data, the country’s contact center industry currently employs more than 800,000 professionals. Its generated $13 billion in export revenues in 2016, and it is still poised to keep a steady yearly growth rate of about 8% and hit $20 billion by 2022.