Outsourcing to a call center: The Philippines or China?

OABPO Blog Team Published on January 27, 2014 Last updated on November 6, 2023

The Philippines and China are two countries that come to mind when outsourcing to a call center. Here’s what each country has to offer.

As a business owner looking to improve customer service while optimizing costs, outsourcing to a call center can be an attractive solution. In particular, it allows you to tap into a skilled workforce, benefit from cost savings, and focus on your core competencies.

However, choosing a call center to partner with is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your customer service quality and overall success. In fact, the Philippines and China are two prominent contenders in the call center outsourcing arena.

Today, let’s explore the key factors you should consider when deciding between these two countries for outsourcing your call center operations.

Understanding Call Center Outsourcing

Outsourcing to a call center allows companies to efficiently handle customer interactions while focusing on core competencies. Typically, it involves entrusting customer service tasks to specialized external providers.

Outsourcing firms in various call center destinations are equipped with a dedicated team of customer service representatives. They handle various inquiries and requests on behalf of the client.

The primary goal of call center outsourcing is twofold:

  • Exceptional Customer Service: Outsourcing to a call center allows businesses to leverage the expertise of professionals who excel in delivering exceptional customer support.
  • Cost Savings: Running an in-house customer service department can be expensive, as it involves costs such as recruitment and technology. However, call centers have their own workforce under their payroll, leading to significant cost savings.

The Philippines as a Call Center Outsourcing Destination

In recent years, Philippines call center outsourcing has solidified its position as a prominent destination in this global industry. It offers a compelling array of advantages that make it an attractive choice for businesses. However, there are also challenges Philippines call center outsourcing that businesses need to be aware of.

  1. English Proficiency

    One of the reasons why the Philippines is among the best call center destinations is the proficiency of its call center agents in the English language. Filipino agents are known for their strong communication skills. They can engage in smooth and effective interactions with English-speaking customers from various parts of the world.

  2. Cost-Effectiveness

    Another significant advantage of outsourcing to a call center in the Philippines is the cost savings it offers. Labor costs in the country are considerably lower than in many Western countries. This, therefore, is a financially viable option for businesses looking to maintain high-quality service without breaking the bank.

  3. Cultural Fit

    The cultural alignment between the Philippines and Western countries is a compelling factor when outsourcing to a call center. Filipino call center agents often share similar cultural values and practices with customers from Western regions. This, in turn, fosters a sense of familiarity during customer interactions.

  4. Philippines Call Center Outsourcing Challenges

    Partnering with call center destinations like the Philippines has its set of challenges. Therefore, understanding these potential hurdles is essential for a seamless collaboration between businesses and their chosen call center destinations.

    Here are some challenges that organizations may encounter in the process of outsourcing to a call center in the Philippines:

    • Time Zone Differences: Working across different time zones can pose coordination challenges. This could impact real-time communication and potentially delay project timelines in the context of call center outsourcing.
    • Language Barrier: Variations in English accents and expressions may present challenges in critical business communication, a consideration in call center outsourcing.
    • Infrastructure Issues: Power outages or unreliable internet connectivity may affect the smooth operation of tasks when outsourcing to a call center.
    • Employee Turnover: High turnover rates in the Philippines call center outsourcing market may impact the stability of the outsourcing team. This will require continuous efforts in recruitment and training when it comes to outsourcing to a call center.
    • Managing Remote Teams: Effectively managing and motivating a remote team is a critical aspect of successful call center outsourcing. This might demand robust communication and team-building strategies.
    • Political and Economic Instability: Political changes or economic instability in the Philippines can potentially impact business continuity when outsourcing to a call center.

Cultural Differences and Regulations in China

China call center outsourcing is another compelling contender in the industry. Like the Philippines, China offers a unique set of advantages that may align with specific business needs. However, there are also challenges when outsourcing to a call center in this country.

  1. Competitive Labor Costs

    One of the most notable strengths of China call center outsourcing being one of the best call center destinations is its competitive labor costs. This makes it an attractive option for businesses seeking cost-effective solutions without compromising on quality.

  2. Multilingual Diversity

    Language diversity is another prominent advantage of outsourcing to a call center in China. In fact, the country boasts a vast pool of call center agents proficient in Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, and more.

    For businesses catering to a diverse global clientele, the linguistic capability of China call center outsourcing can be a significant asset. In particular, having agents who can effectively communicate with customers in their native languages creates a personalized customer experience.

  3. China Call Center Outsourcing Challenges

    When considering outsourcing to a call center in China, businesses encounter a unique set of challenges that demand careful consideration. Therefore, understanding and mitigating these challenges are vital for a successful partnership in China call center outsourcing.

    Here’s a list of potential hurdles that organizations may face when exploring call center destinations in China:

    • Cultural Differences: China’s rich cultural heritage brings with it distinct norms, communication styles, and social cues that can differ significantly from those in Western countries.
    • Regulatory and Privacy Challenges: Businesses must be aware of the data privacy laws and other regulations that govern China call center outsourcing operations.
    • Labor and Wage Fluctuations: Rising labor costs and wage fluctuations in China may impact the cost-effectiveness of outsourcing arrangements in call center destinations there.
    • Currency Exchange and Financial Risks: Fluctuations in currency exchange rates can affect the financial stability and cost implications of China call center outsourcing.
    • Geopolitical Tensions: Ongoing geopolitical tensions may introduce uncertainties in trade relations and international business operations. This may influence decisions about China call center outsourcing.

Quality of Service Comparison

When deciding on your call center destinations, the quality of customer service provided should be at the forefront of your evaluation. After all, the success of your outsourcing venture hinges on the level of service your customers will receive and the impact it will have on your brand reputation.

  • The Philippines

    The Philippines boasts a large talent pool of call center agents with strong English proficiency, making them adept at handling English-speaking customers from around the world. This language proficiency of Philippines call center outsourcing enables effective communication between agents and customers.

    Additionally, the Philippines’ cultural alignment with Western countries fosters a sense of familiarity and rapport between agents and customers. Philippines call center outsourcing is well-known for its customer-centric approach, making the country one of the most in-demand call center destinations.

  • China

    Likewise, China call center outsourcing has gained recognition for providing multilingual support. As previously mentioned, this linguistic capability can be a substantial asset for their international clientele, turning China into one of the most prolific call center destinations.

    Moreover, China’s competitive labor costs provide a cost-effective solution for businesses seeking high-quality customer service at a fraction of the cost. There is also the integration of cutting-edge technologies which further enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of China call center outsourcing.

Gauging the Service Quality of these Call Center Destinations

When considering outsourcing to a call center, evaluating service quality becomes a crucial step in the decision-making process. This is especially true in the context of choosing between the Philippines and China as call center destinations.

  • Reviewing Case Studies: Examine how call centers in both the Philippines and China have managed customer interactions by delving into relevant case studies. Analyzing specific scenarios can provide insights into the practical application of customer service strategies.
  • Assessing Feedback and Testimonials: Evaluate feedback and testimonials from businesses that have outsourced to companies in both call center destinations. This firsthand information offers valuable perspectives on the strengths and capabilities of call centers in each country.
  • Prioritizing Quality of Service: The quality of service should be the primary factor guiding your call center outsourcing decision. While both the Philippines and China present compelling advantages as call center destinations, understanding how each aligns with your business goals is crucial.
  • Thorough Analysis and Performance Review: Conduct a comprehensive analysis of the performance of providers in both call center destinations. Look beyond quantitative metrics and delve into qualitative aspects such as responsiveness, problem-solving, and customer satisfaction.
  • Seeking References: Reach out to businesses that have experience outsourcing to a call center in the Philippines or China. References can provide firsthand insights into the outsourcing partner’s reliability, communication, and overall service quality.

Cultural Alignment and Customer Satisfaction

Cultural alignment between call center agents and customers plays a pivotal role in determining the success of customer interactions and overall customer satisfaction. When customers feel understood and appreciated by agents who share similar cultural values and practices, it results in more positive and meaningful interactions.

Let’s explore how cultural alignment influences customer satisfaction in both the Philippines and China as prominent call center destinations:

  • The Philippines

    In the Philippines, cultural similarity with Western countries is a significant advantage for call center outsourcing. Filipino agents often display a deep understanding of Western culture and can easily relate to customers from these regions.

    This familiarity enables Philippines call center outsourcing to connect with customers on a personal level. Agents can grasp cultural nuances and anticipate customer needs, leading to more effective problem-solving and service delivery.

    Moreover, the strong cultural alignment enhances the level of customer service provided. For instance, Philippines call center outsourcing can deliver a warm and friendly tone. This resonates well with Western customers who appreciate courteous service.

  • China

    On the other hand, China’s cultural diversity presents unique call center outsourcing opportunities for businesses with a global customer base, making the country one of the best call center destinations in Asia. With a vast pool of multilingual agents, China call center outsourcing can cater to customers from various cultural backgrounds.

    Having agents who can effectively communicate in multiple languages allows businesses to provide a seamless and tailored customer experience.

    For businesses serving international markets, having agents who understand and can adapt to various cultural norms can be a significant advantage. These agents can tailor their communication styles and approach to suit each customer’s cultural context, creating a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Regulatory Environment in the Philippines

The Philippines has established a robust regulatory framework to address data security and privacy concerns in the call center outsourcing industry. This framework helps the country become one of the premier call center destinations in the world.

  • Data Privacy Act of 2012

    The Data Privacy Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10173) is the primary legislation governing data protection in the country. This law is modeled after international data privacy standards and sets out strict guidelines for the collection, processing, and storage of personal data.

    Under the Data Privacy Act, Philippines call center outsourcing is required to implement comprehensive data protection policies and practices. More specifically, companies must obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting their personal data. Additionally, they must ensure that the data is used only for legitimate and specified purposes.

    Also, the law mandates that companies take appropriate measures to safeguard customer information from unauthorized access, disclosure, and data breaches.

  • National Privacy Commission

    In addition to the Data Privacy Act, the Philippines’ National Privacy Commission (NPC) oversees the enforcement and implementation of data protection regulations. The NPC plays a crucial role in monitoring compliance, investigating data breaches, and imposing penalties for non-compliance.

    For businesses considering Philippines call center outsourcing, the stringent data protection regulations provide an all-important benefit. Specifically, the regulations ensure confidence that their customers’ data will be handled with the utmost care and compliance.

Regulatory Environment in China

China has also taken significant steps to enhance data privacy and security in recent years. These steps reassure businesses that the country is also one of the most viable call center destinations around.

  • Personal Information Protection Law

    The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), which came into effect on November 1, 2021, is the country’s primary data protection law. The PIPL sets out comprehensive rules for the collection, use, and processing of personal information.

    Under the PIPL, China call center outsourcing companies must obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting their personal data. Furthermore, they are also required to specify the purposes for which the data will be used and must not collect more data than necessary for those purposes.

  • Cybersecurity Law

    In addition to the PIPL, China’s Cybersecurity Law, enacted in 2017, imposes additional requirements on network operators to protect customer data from cyber threats and ensure data security.

    However, it’s important to note that the regulatory environment in China is subject to change and may continue to evolve. As such, businesses considering outsourcing to a call center in China must stay up-to-date with the latest regulatory developments. Also, they must ensure their China call center outsourcing partner complies with all relevant data protection laws.

Data Security Best Practices

Regardless of these call center destinations businesses choose, they must prioritize data security best practices when outsourcing to a call center. Here are some essential data security measures that both Philippines call center outsourcing and China call center outsourcing should adopt:

  • Data Encryption: Call centers should implement data encryption protocols to protect sensitive customer information during transmission and storage.
  • Access Controls: Access to customer data should be restricted only to authorized personnel. In addition, multi-factor authentication should be employed to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Regular Audits and Assessments: Regular security audits and assessments should be conducted. This helps identify vulnerabilities and ensure compliance with data protection standards.
  • Employee Training: Call center agents and staff should undergo regular training on data security protocols and best practices. This prevents data breaches and mishandling of customer information.
  • Incident Response Plan: A robust incident response plan should be in place to address data breaches promptly and effectively.

Businesses can ensure the protection of their customers’ sensitive information by outsourcing to a call center that adheres to strict data security measures and regulations. Additionally, conducting due diligence and verifying the call center’s data security practices is essential to make an informed decision for call center outsourcing operations.

Customer Retention Strategies in Call Center Outsourcing

When contemplating outsourcing to a call center in prominent call center destinations, a critical aspect to consider is the implementation of customer retention strategies:

  1. Loyalty Programs in Call Center Outsourcing

    Both Philippines call center outsourcing and China call center outsourcing introduce loyalty programs to incentivize and bolster customer loyalty. Typically, these programs incorporate rewards, discounts, or exclusive offers, cultivating a strong sense of customer appreciation and connection.

  2. Personalized Services in Call Center Destinations

    A focal point of customer retention strategies in call center outsourcing is the delivery of personalized services. Therefore, call centers in both countries strive to tailor interactions according to individual customer preferences and needs. Consequently, this practice enhances the overall customer experience and contributes significantly to a positive brand perception.

  3. Continuous Engagement in Outsourcing to a Call Center

    Both Philippines call center outsourcing and China call center outsourcing actively prioritize continuous customer engagement. Leveraging various communication channels, these outsourcing partners ensure ongoing interaction, seek valuable feedback, and promptly address customer concerns.

  4. Proactive Issue Resolution in Call Center Outsourcing

    Proactively addressing customer issues stands as a fundamental pillar of customer retention strategies when outsourcing to a call center. Therefore, in both Philippines call center outsourcing and China call center outsourcing, providers prioritize swift and effective resolution of issues.

  5. Surveys and Feedback Mechanisms in Call Center Destinations

    The practice of regularly gathering customer feedback through surveys and other mechanisms is integral to the customer retention strategies of call centers in the Philippines and China. This data-driven approach facilitates continuous improvement in services, demonstrating a customer-centric approach.

  6. Multichannel Support in Call Center Outsourcing

    Offering multichannel support is a cornerstone in customer retention within the context of call center outsourcing. In both Philippines call center outsourcing and China call center outsourcing, various channels such as phone, email, chat, and social media provide customers with flexibility in engagement.

  7. Cultural Sensitivity in Call Center Destinations

    Acknowledging and respecting cultural differences is important to customer retention in diverse markets. Therefore, both Philippines call center outsourcing and China call center outsourcing prioritize cultural sensitivity. This ensures that customer interactions align with local norms and preferences.

  8. Predictive Analytics for Customer Insights in Call Center Outsourcing

    Predictive analytics is a key aspect of customer retention strategies when outsourcing to a call center. This enables call centers to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences. As a result, predictive analytics empowers proactive decision-making for personalized experiences.

  9. Training on Customer-Centric Approach in Call Center Destinations

    A commitment to a customer-centric approach is instilled through comprehensive training for call center agents. In this case, developing skills in empathy, active listening, and the ability to anticipate customer needs contribute to positive experiences.

  10. Celebrating Milestones and Anniversaries in Outsourcing to a Call Center

    Recognizing and celebrating customer milestones, such as anniversaries or significant achievements is a meaningful way to show appreciation. Therefore, these gestures form a crucial part of retention strategies for both Philippines call center outsourcing and China call center outsourcing.

Choosing the right destination when outsourcing to a call center is a decision that impacts your customer service quality, cost-effectiveness, and overall business success. Both Philippines call center outsourcing and China call center outsourcing are compelling options. They each offer unique advantages that cater to different business needs.

If you are thinking about outsourcing to a call center in the Philippines, Open Access BPO should be at the top of your list of potential partners.

Our company embraces diversity as part of our workplace culture, making us deliver premier customer support for businesses all over the world. We also specialize in back office solutions supported by the highest data security standards you can find.

Contact us today to begin a partnership with us.

call-center-business-partners-and-associates
Two Asian outsourcing capitals that recently experienced considerable growth generated by the booming call center industry are the Philippines and China. Both nations have their respective advantages over the other when it comes to outsourcing conduciveness, but which of the two excels in the aspects of delivering voice services? Find out by looking at what kind of affordability and workforce that these countries can offer.

Costs

Both China and the Philippines have enabled businesses to save costs by offering wage and transaction costs that are relatively lower compared to the rates in Western countries. A study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute even shows that the averageย Philippine call center salary is only about 13% of the US average. China fares almost the same in some parts, but the Eastern regions ask for salaries that are almost within the American and European range.

It was estimated in 2012 that this rate could inflate by 30%, which is now being proven by the recent forex movements; the Chinese yuan has been showing strength against the US dollar,while the Philippine peso is declining in value, a circumstance that is favorable to dollar-driven operations.

Manpower

call-center-Philippines--

China may win against the Philippines when it comes to the size of the workforce, but it could conversely lose when you consider English skills, understandable accents, and Western-style work culture.

Language barriers could be a big challenge to Western investors, especially because acquainting the Chinese employees with the culture and syntax of English-speaking customChers could mean additional training costs. This could be avoided, however, if you outsource to Eastern Chinese cities where English is more widely used and education is more formal than that in rural areas.

On the other hand, companies may face less obstacles with regards to recruiting Filipino staff because aside from the Philippines’ strong affinity with the West, the basics of outsourcing are being taught as part of the country’s higher education curriculum and specialized training courses.

Furthermore, the Philippines has been hailed by the Global English Corporation as the country with the “Best Business English,” a title that helped the Philippines retain its three-year hold of the Offshoring Destination of the Yearย among other recognitions and rankings.

To conclude, the choice between the Philippines and China in the call center outsourcing realm is a choice between scalability and relatabilityโ€”China could provide a multitude of workers for your operations, but the Philippines could do so for lower costs and with a higher quality.

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