by Julie Ng
Customer care can make or break a brand’s reputation. Reviews, returning customers, and even product evangelism depend on your front-liners. The effort of your marketing team may as well be a waste of money if the customer support is poor, inefficient, or, worse, rude. Companies risk overworking their support team due to its flood of demands. As a result, customer feedback gets ignored. Valuable information gets lost.
As businesses grow and gain users or customers, the core support team may not be able to handle its tsunami of inquiries. This is a good problem to have or it can mean a painful death for a company that is collapsing under the weight of its success. The difference is how they handle it. This is where outsourcing comes in.
Currently, the BPO industry is the largest job creator in the Philippines, employing about 1.3M Filipinos and making 7% of its GDP.
In order to get a better insight of what it takes to set up a BPO in the Philippines and why the Philippines is an ideal country, we spoke to the heads of our partners: Michael McCullough, Managing Director of KMC Solutions and Christopher Butt, President of Figari Solutions.
The number one reason is English language. Not only is the Philippines the third largest English speaking country in the world, Filipinos are easier to train to speak in a neutral American accent due to its historic ties to the United States. “An affinity to Western culture made the boom more sustainable versus other outsourcing destinations,” added Michael.” In addition, “Filipinos are often considered to be very kind and empathetic people.”
How to Set Up a BPO in the Philippines - The Key Points
Find Your Niche
Start with a decisive offering. Founders typically choose to offer a service that is based on their expertise. It makes more sense for a former video game producer to enter the game development BPO rather than the medical transcription one. It also helps to know your competition well and what would set you apart from the others such as price point and specialized training.
Your Foundation Team
“Get your first hires right!” was heavily emphasized from both parties. Your first and inevitably tight-knit team will be the ones training the newbies as your company expands. Good company culture is also important, and the character of your first hires will be the foundation of that.
Manpower = BPO. It is important to keep your employees spirited. Most BPOs also include perks such as exclusive discounts at partners to an in-house office masseuse. "The happier your people are at work, the better your service will be,” says Chris.
It can’t be a call-center without phones! VoIP phones are feature-rich systems that are able carry multiples lines at once, which makes transferring your call or holding conferences easier. Its call history feature can be checked by supervisors to monitor employee performance. Avaya is one of the leading choices for VoIP phones.
BPOs need ticketing systems to stay organized. A ticketing system queues customer concerns and helps agents document calls. Your client relies on these tickets to provide better solutions to their client base or as feedback in order to improve their services. Zendesk is a popular ticketing system of choice among BPOs.
Aside from agents, you’ll also need an HR department. For smaller companies, Sprout Solutions is a platform that helps ease admin work such as timekeeping, employee records management, and government compliance like SSS, PhilHealth, etc.
How to Find a Good Space for Your BPO
Part of keeping your employees motivated is finding a good space for them to work. To curtail employee stress and the resulting decrease in performance, BPO owners make it a point to improve the office’s location and environment. “It’s not always about the pay,” says Michael, “having the right office environment is helpful. There are new designs out there that help with team meetings and offer creative spaces for certain teams.”
A good space also saves costs and time. The traditional hurdle of setting up an office space for your BPO is to first put a bulk of your capital into a space deposit, then wait for the set-up of the utilities, not counting the time and energy it takes to renovate the interiors. Serviced offices solve that problem. On top of utilities, these offices also offer a good set of amenities such as 24/7 security and concierge service. Many of them cater to the needs of BPOs.
Overall, the economic climate has never been this encouraging for locals or foreigners to start a BPO in the Philippines.Government agencies such as Philippine Export Zones Authority (PEZA) and Board of Investments (BOI) have created incentive programs that make the country investor-friendly for companies who are looking for outsourcing destinations.
There are certainly more elements to consider as this is only a condensed guide that names the most significant parts of a call center. It may be an intimidating venture so you’ll need all the help you can get. For space needs, you can simply ask our Space Experts for the ideal office space. Welcome to BPO Entrepreneurship!