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In terms of technology used call centers india is second to none and has successfully launched India's one and only end to end CISCO based IP network call center by the name Vcare Care Call Centers India (P) Ltd, based out of a small suburb in the national capital territory region, This center has all the modern facilities a center must have and is situated in a huge campus spanning more than 11000 sq. ft, employing over 400

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Why Indian BPO guys are losing out to Filipinos

A recent survey by the Singapore-based ACA Research and Michigan-based Fortune 500 staffing firm Kelly Services, seems to says that the Filipinos are steadily progressing in the BPO business and may outsmart the Indians soon. While an Indian BPO agent is likely to remain sick for 15 days every year, Filipinos manage with only 8 sick leaves per annum. They are also more loyal. While your next door BPO guy spends less than a year (11 months) at a BPO, his Filipino counterpart spends 19 months on an average in a company. But Indians take heart. When it comes to conversion of calls into actual sales, Indian BPO agents are clear winners. 35 per cent of calls routed to India get converted into actual business as compared to the Filipino rate of 25 per cent. So, Indians beat Filipinos beat when it means business, i.e. selling skills! When it comes to training a Filipino agent, you have to invest less. Very few call centres spend time on voice and accent neutralisation. So automatically the duration of training period gets reduced. While an Indian BPO guy takes 24 days to get trained, his Filipino friend spends only 19 days as a trainee. When it comes to multi-lingual skills, Filipinos are much verbose. 64 per cent of Filipino agents can speak more than two languages as compared to India where only 40 per cent multi lingual skills. Due to superior English language skills, the Philippines is the only country where BPO exports exceed IT exports. In 2003, BPO exports were double of IT exports at $600 mn.

Why Phillipines is emerging as a Global BPO hub?

The Philippines is an emerging BPO hub because of cultural compatibility with the west, especially the US. The Philippines was under the US rule for almost 50 years. It led to the Americanisation of the Filipino culture. 80 per cent of the population is Catholic. 15 per cent are Muslims. The Philippines is the third largest English-speaking country in the world. About 72 per cent of the population is fluent in English. The Philippines has one of the highest literacy rates (94%) in the world. The US military rule had also laid a strong base to the country’s telecom infrastructure. The country was under the US rule from 1898 until 1935. It's interesting that in the case of India also the British rule had helped in giving a huge popularity to the English language.

Canada and Ireland are also benefiting from their language skills to advance their outsourcing business. Mexico, which was under Spanish rule from 1521 to 1810, has bagged a huge chunk of Spanish voice processes from US. According to the US Census Bureau, there were about 28 million Spanish speakers in the US in 2000. In the Philippines, similarity in legal and tax framework with the US has eased the administrative bottlenecks for the American firms setting captive BPOs there. Chevron Texaco, AOL, P&G, Accenture and Dell have set up centres there. Major BPO hubs in the Philippines are Manila and Cebu City.

So can Philipines beat India at the BPO battle?

The answer is a clear and big No. Scaling up of operations is a major challenge which call centres in Philippines face. The country has a small population. Universities churn out only 70,000 IT graduates each year as compared to India where the figure runs into lakhs. India churns out more than 4.5 lakh IT graduates every year. So, outsourcing your high-end work to the Philippines can be a real challenge. Attrition rates in Filipino call centres are lower at 20 per cent as compared to India’s – 31 per cent. Currently, there are about 100 call centres in the country.

Companies such as HSBC, Dell, AIG and UPS have all outsourced their business to the Philippines. But our Desi BPO executive is willing to work at much lower than that of his Filipino equivalent. The hourly cost per seat in India is $3.18 as compared to Philippines' $3.82. So, do Filipinos make better BPO agents than our Desi BPO guys? The answer that emerges from the facts and figures from the survey by ACA Research and Kelly Services is yes. But these findings are only for the call centre domain. When it comes to high-end BPOs work such as teleradiology, engineering design or software development, India leads the way. Long way to go way, Phillipines!

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