TMCnet Feature
December 28, 2020

BPO Philippines 2021



In early 2020, two catastrophic events shook up the archipelago: the eruption of the Taal Volcano, which blanketed the surrounding provinces in ash, and the subsequent spread of the coronavirus disease, which now has the whole world in its grip. The pandemic, because of its unprecedented nature, has wrought havoc on all sectors, including the BPO industry in the Philippines, which has already accommodated multiple adjustments in the workplace to allow its employees to continue doing their jobs.



But, like the Filipinos, BPO companies in the Philippines have their own brand of resiliency—something that keeps the industry as a whole thriving despite today’s hardships. Ralf Ellspermann, the CEO of PITON-Global, an award-winning BPO provider that has been in the country for two decades, has therefore seen just how strong BPOs in the Philippines can be. “Companies from all over the world have come to appreciate the Philippines as the world’s leading BPO destination,” he says. “This is not only the case with large corporations, but also an ever-increasing number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”

PITON-Global has been awarded for its operational excellence and innovation as well as high-quality contact center and back-office services that come at a 50% lower cost than those of onshore providers. The work that they do helps clients improve operating efficiencies, drive revenues, and enhance customer experience.

According to Ellspermann, while the pandemic has shaken up BPOs in the Philippines, there is no other place in the world that can match the service capabilities that the country offers. “When you think of it, there’s really no alternative to the Philippines in terms of labor availability, cost, English language proficiency, and cultural affinity,” he says. “It’s what makes the Philippines so unique and such an attractive outsourcing destination.”

Of course, Ellspermann also wants people to manage their expectations of how soon BPO companies can fully recover from the pandemic. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes another 12 to 24 months before things turn back to normal. There’s no quick fix to this global health crisis,” he says.

One scenario Ellspermann paints for BPOs in the Philippines is that multinational corporations that have opted to keep positions onshore may stay there for the foreseeable future.

“Fortune 2000 corporations will most likely wait a bit longer before they start moving large numbers of seats back to the Philippines. For as long as there’s no vaccine on the market, outsourcing executives will very likely play it safe and keep more jobs onshore and in-house,” Ellspermann explains.

The ones that could be outsourcing their BPO requirements much sooner are SMEs, since they are, by nature, much more agile, and they require fewer seats. “SMEs will most likely move much faster, because it’s also a lot easier to pull five or ten seats back onshore, if needed, than 500,” Ellspermann adds.

So, what does the future of BPO companies in the Philippines look like? Still bright, says Ellspermann, and with room for growth. It’s definitely not a question of if the country’s BPO industry can bounce back—just when.



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