Is this the end of the Call Center Era in PH?

(Vitor Lima/ Flickr/


India is bound to get back what was once theirs.

The land of Bollywood was also once the land of call center hubs in the 90′s, until businessmen discovered Philippines—a Southeast Asian country whose people have unexpectedly natural, clear-cut American accents.

Since then, the country has been the top destination for business process outsourcing (BPO), focusing mainly on the customer and technical support arm of several companies.

In a report by Economic Times India, the country’s Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry said they lost almost 50 percent of the international voice center business to Philippines during its boom some seven to eight years ago.

Now, India is aiming to reclaim the crown, because of  the Philippines’ rising attrition (reduction of strength and effectiveness of the worker through pressure), costs of labor, and large number of clients being served from a small region, leading to different business risks.

Aside from this, “purevoice services” are becoming a thing of the past, and newer multichannel openings, such as email and chat will be better suited up for India.

Quoting more from the report:

Business process outsourcing companies also point out that Indian employees are better at jobs that require some aspect of sales, as clients look to convert their call centres from purely a cost centre to a unit that could also drive some revenue for them.

Despite the migration, businessmen clarified that not all of the work will be moving to India. According to a business executive who refused to be identified:

It will not all move back, because companies have invested in centres in the Philippines. But now India as an option is back on the table and clients are looking at it, which was not the case two years ago. Some incremental work is definitely coming here

But this is not a competition. Rather, it’s a joint effort for the BPOs that constitute a bulk of both countries’ economies:

“The Philippines had an edge in pure voice customer service. But if you have technology-enabled services for customer support, or for services like technology support, for that we see the centre of gravity moving back here,” said KS Viswanathan, vice-president at industry body Nasscom.