MANILA, Philippines – Sorry India, but the Philippines is likely to keep its crown as the world’s contact center capital for more years to come.
Industry experts told The STAR there is a very slim chance the Philippines would be dethroned as the global leader in call center operations over the next five years.
“The Philippines at least for the foreseeable future will continue to be leader in the voice segment. I don’t see that going anywhere. Five years definitely, but 10 to 15 years I don’t want to bet on that because you don’t know how technologies will change and how the new generation of people will use communication,” said Nitin Bhat, senior partner at Frost and Sullivan, the consultancy firm crafting the roadmap with Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).
“That’s our intention (to sustain our number one spot) and I think it’s not unrealistic,” Contact Center Association of the Philippines president and IBPAP executive committee chairman Benedict Hernandez added.
Hernandez said the Philippines snatched the world’s biggest call center title from India in 2010 and the country has not let go of it since.
At present, India remains second behind the Philippines while other market are also growing.
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“You have India and the Philippines, but Philippines is positioned much better because of English language skills, the customer service orientation that they see in the Philippines, as well as the English accent which is a bit more familiar to that which the US customers have been looking at,” said Bhat, noting that some call center companies in India are now moving to the Philippines.
“There is a requirement from Asian countries for certain language skills like Japanese, Korean, and they are looking at locations which can offer that, but I don’t think that’s something the Philippines cannot also do. So with that I will say it would continue to be the leading destination for voice. I don’t see any other competition coming up,” he added.
According to Hernandez, several smaller destinations in Asia, Latin America, and parts of Africa are currently on the rise offering their unique value propositions.
The Department of Trade and Industry, for its part, has identified countries like Vietnam, Turkey, Egypt, and Canada as emerging destinations that may give the Philippines’ voice services sector a run for its money in the future.
“When you look across the board, each has a different positioning but from a scale perspective who can actually deliver to the volume required, Philippines and India are quite unique. The other destinations will grow but only to a certain extent. India and the Philippines are always going to be the two bigger ones,” Hernandez said.
“When you look at what’s uniquely to the Philippines, it’s our service orientation or service authenticity. English speaking and education, not easy to replicate but the most difficult is the service culture that we have unique to the Philippines,” he added.
For this year, CCAP sees call center revenues growing to $16 billion and employment at about one million.