Rather different outlooks for the Philippines contact centre industry emerged in the run-up to the Contact Islands conference held at Boracay Island last week — and from the same organisation!
Half-full: An upskilled community
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, under the headline Contact center sector sees 8% growth to 2022, said the Contact Centre Association of the Philippines (CCAP) was tipping a 29 percent decrease in the number of people in low-skill contact centre jobs (simple entry-level, process-driven tasks that require little abstract thinking or autonomy) — a loss of around 43,000 jobs — but also quoted CCAP president Jojo Uligan saying the industry would still grow around 73,000 jobs a year until 2022 as the workers move to more mid- and high-skilled tasks.
“We predict about eight percent annual growth until 2022,” he said. “That takes our revenues from $[US]12.8 billion last year to $[US]20.4 billion in 2022. We’re focused on upgrading our workers… We’re going to train them so they can start accepting more complex types of work.”
Half-empty: Limited rate of improvement
He sounds very positive. However a Bloomberg report of an interview with Uligan headlined its article The World’s Top Call-Center Nation Has a People Problem. Bloomberg confirmed the predicted eight percent annual growth rate but said this rate was as “compared with growth rates exceeding 10 percent in the past.”
And while Uligan initially seemed to be very bullish about adding these 73,000 skilled jobs annually, he was given to appear much less confident in the Bloomberg report. It quoted him saying companies were increasingly seeking workers who were college educated, experienced, had technical expertise and could easily be retrained.
“There is a lot of complex work now. It’s no longer mere directory assistance or taking orders,” he said. “People don’t evolve as fast as technology.”
The Bloomberg article also cited a study by New York-based consultancy Tholons Capital, to say: “More than half of outsourced jobs could be lost in a few years unless significant retraining is done.”
The silver lining
Similar concerns were expressed by the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) president Rey Untal, in an article in the Manila Bulletin. It said the BPO sector — of which contact centres represent 67 percent — was projected to grow by only nine percent annually until 2022, “slower than the ‘mid-teen’ growth it experienced in previous years.”
Conversely, however, it also quoted Untal saying, “Many experts are predicting that the workforce is in danger of being replaced by automation but that is simply not the case.”
“What is often overlooked about automation is that while it is expected to impact certain jobs in the sector, this will also enable the IT-BPM Industry to move up the value chain, resulting in an increase in mid-skilled jobs and high-skilled services.”
The report said IBPAP had decided to elevate the discussion on the issue during its 9th International IT-BPM summit in October.
The big question is: how easy it will be to find and train the estimated 73,000 people needed annually?
What this means for you
Back on home soil, the effectiveness of contact centre training is just as important. As we’ve previously discussed, agent performance can easily make or break customer satisfaction, brand perception, sales targets, and cost containment.
Getting training right is also the first step in ensuring your agents are properly equipped to take on those high-skilled, more complex customer interactions that bots or automation just can’t solve. And to make sure your contact centre reps are ready to hit the ground running, having the right technology in place will be invaluable.
Premier Contact Point is simple to use, elegant, and highly intuitive – designed to reduce agent training to less than 30 minutes, so your team spends less time trying to navigate tricky technology, and more time focused on achieving goals and results.
Premier Contact Point and BPOs
And if you’re looking to outsource your call centre operations, here are two more reasons to consider Premier Contact Point:
- As a true cloud solution, Premier Contact Point (PCP) is quickly and easily implemented even in off-shore locations. You can insist on your off-shore BPO using PCP to service your customers to manage certain types of interactions, while your on-shore agents manage more complex interactions. This ensures a consistent customer service experience regardless of where agents may be situated.
- PCP is used successfully by BPOs to ensure that their agents are able to deliver high-quality customer experience, while still maintaining separation of data across the BPOs’ customers.