The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) reported that a large portion of the country’s voice service and call center market is moving operations to the Philippine call center industry. This is mainly due to the Filipino workers’ more neutral English accent.
The business group said that India is losing 70% of domestic business process outsourcing (BPO) operations, particularly contact centers, invested by both foreign and local businesses. The loss is estimated to be worth $30 billion.
According to Assocham secretary general DS Rawat, the Philippines “has become the top destination for Indian investors, thus the need to reduce costs and make operations leaner is increasingly becoming significant across the BPO industry.” Earlier this year, the Indian rupee reportedly appreciated against the US dollar, which caused India’s outsourcing competitiveness to decline and BPO costs to spike.
Rawat cited an Assocham study, saying that the factors that make the Philippines superior to India include the large pool of “well-educated, English-speaking, talented, and employable” Filipino graduates.
He added that only 10% of Indian graduates are qualified for call center work, so training could consume a significant amount of time. On the other hand, roughly 30% of Filipino graduates are deemed suitable for the Philippine call center industry.
“Employees in Philippine call centers speak English fluently with a neutral accent, which is what customers look for, and that is something missing in Indian accents. And that is a prime reason why BPO business is thriving in that country,” Rawat explained.
Rawat also noted that along with the availability of talented manpower, the Philippines’ cultural affinity with the US makes the country a more preferable location for BPO expansions and voice service operations catering to Western markets.
In 2013, revenues of the country’s IT-BPO sect rose by 17%, which fortified the industry’s 2016 revenue estimate of $25 billion and forecasted manpower count of 4.5 million.