It was recently reported that call centers in the Philippines are set to lead the business process outsourcing (BPO) race in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.
It wouldn’t come as a surprise, as the Philippines has been trailblazing the Asian outsourcing scene in the recent years, particularly in the realm of voice services. What s new, however, is that BPO analysts are expecting the country to surge as the top destination for multilingual call center outsourcing.
As a country that has found its niche in English-language BPO services, how did the Philippines lure international businesses to entrust their non-English-speaking customers to the Filipino call center agents?
For one, bilingualism is common among Filipinos. Aside from their native tongue, educated Filipinos are required to learn their second official language, which is English. And since local dialects are infused with foreign words such as Spanish and Malay, it is easy for Filipinos to be familiarized with terminologies from neighboring countries. Moreover, there are a multitude of educational institutions and centers that offer language courses across the country.
Another factor is that businesses commonly seek to unify their outsourced services in one hub instead of spreading them across multiple regions. With low wage rates and a positive outsourcing reputation, the Philippines is chosen by investors over other ASEAN countries as their prime headquarters in the continent.
The country’s cultural diversity further helps in making multilingual call centers in the Philippines the most lucrative in Asia. At present, there are roughly 30,000 Americans and 30,000 Chinese nationals residing in the Philippines, making them the largest foreign groups living among Filipinos. Japan, India, and Canada also make up the list of the top five countries where foreigners in the Philippines originated. With a population that is penetrated by various foreign nationalities, it is easy to find native-speakers who could deal with same-language customers without contextual differences.
To conclude, multilingual call centers will rise to be another major growth driver of the Philippine BPO industry, given its people’s multilingual proficiency and international businesses’ trust in the country’s workforce.
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