In 1992, a man named Frank Holz put up the first contact center in the Philippines which signified the first instance of the nation's Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Almost three decades later, the country rises as an undisputed Call Center Capital in the world.
With an appeal of English proficiency and excellent customer service among others, it comes as no surprise that foreign organizations and private companies are drawn to invest in such services here in the Philippines for its competent pool of Filipino applicants.
Jobstreet.com's Philippine Job Outlook Report shows that BPO jobs are the most in-demand in the country, with nearly 700,000 opportunities for higher-skilled jobs by 2022.
Recently, the country has seen a rise in KPOs or Knowledge Process Outsourcing, which is another branch of the outsource industry. Contrary to the BPO setup, KPOs go beyond call centers and back office tasks, and are more expertise-oriented. KPOs deal with more complex services such as legal work, fintech, accounting, engineering, and animation.
In collaboration with Jobstreet.com, sports television and news anchor Migs Bustos conducted an interview with accomplished people in the field: Kim Legaspi, Operation Supervisor; Frank Salazar, Sourcing Manager for Conduent; Kurt Urbanozo, Country Lead for Marketing and Communications for Philippines and Malaysia for Conduent; Sabrina Gallegos, Contact Center Engineer; Joy Jacobo, Customer Service Representative for a BPO healthcare company; Joross de Vera, Senior Transaction Specialist.
The interview aims to tackle what really goes on in the outsource industry, how it has shifted since its boom in the early 2000s, and the common misconceptions that are usually associated to it.
''Hindi lang siya basta yung papasok ka, tapos mag-eexam, mag English lang, okay na. Hindi siya ganun,'' said Salazar, explaining that the process to get in the BPO industry is actually more extensive than expected.
In hindsight, it is a candidate's skills that gets them hired in the BPO, since these are trainable and do not require expertise. As such, the group unanimously agreed that a college degree is not mandatory for the position.
As someone who takes part in assessing hiring resources to identify qualified candidates, Salazar said, ''The process starts with a voice examination, attention to detail, typing. You have to have those skills present as an applicant,'' before getting into the final interview with the hiring manager. After which, tests to determine behavioral patterns must also be taken.
Agreeing to this, Urbanozo mentioned skills as the main component for the ''BPO to provide call center services, and basic back office operations,'' whereas the KPO explores ''the deeper side of business like legal services where certified individuals are needed to process and support the requirements.''
Legaspi added, ''Work in the BPO industry is really very hard even from applying. You really have to exert effort—all those training, updates that you get from your supervisors,'' emphasizing the great need for regular groundwork so that skills are enhanced and exercised.
''Nowadays, we have trainings for an effective coaching, so we have guidelines to follow… to measure and adjust how to coach an agent,'' Gallegos stated, considering how agents do not share the same attitudes, habits, will, and experience therefore, a personalized coaching must be implemented.
The main takeaway here is, although there are more standards of eligibility noted to increase the chances of getting in the outsource industry, when it comes to BPO, skills will remain a top priority.
Watch the discussion on the Philippine BPO industry right here:
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