Call centers raise targets

Posted on August 29, 2013

MACTAN, CEBU -- Expecting “staggering growth,” the contact center industry has revised upwards its revenue and employment targets for the year.

Benedict Hernandez, Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) president, said yesterday that “growth will continue to be staggering” as the industry is no longer sensitive to pricing changes because of currency fluctuations.

There is not as much noise from contact center companies when it becomes less expensive to do business in India due to currency fluctuations, Mr. Hernandez added.

CCAP’s yearend projection is now 18% growth in revenues to $10.4 billion and employment of 586,000.

The initial targets were 10-15% for revenues and 15-20% for employment, according to CCAP Executive Director Joselito J. Uligan.

Mr. Hernandez also said that by the end of 2016, revenues are expected to hit $16.3 billion, and total employment, 915,000.

Expanding differentiated services such as voice and health care information delivery is among the ways to sustain growth in the contact center industry, he said.

The CCAP president explained that the Philippines is poised to benefit from the changing ways health care companies in the US care for patients.

“The Philippines is associated with good medical practitioners, nurses and doctors. We have strong support from the IT industry in health care. The Philippines has all the elements to become a unique brand in health information management,” he said, in his presentation at the International Contact Center Conference and Expo (ICCCE) 2013 here.

Gartner Vice-President for Research TJ Singh, speaking at the same conference, affirmed that the Philippines has developed a niche in business process outsourcing (BPO) but said that the country must extend this further as the industry shifts from offshoring to a global delivery network model.

Mr. Singh cited a survey in July that showed the Philippines as strong in contact center and back office BPO services.

He pointed out, though, that the Philippines can improve in other areas such as service or help desk, remote infrastructure management, and application services.

Mr. Singh said the IT-BPO industry is competitive, with around 4,000 players worldwide, and while the Philippines is a strong part of the ecosystem, there are threats from emerging players in Asia-Pacific and from new technology innovations.

“From the old world, where it’s predominantly voice, the industry is shifting towards new world where there is a more industrialized environment,” he said.

Mr. Singh also said the greatest risk of industrialization, where it may be possible for companies to automate customer care operations, is the business-process-as-a-service (BPAAS) concept and multi-channel services.

“To ensure contact center growth, you must be prepared to cannibalize some of your services. You need to develop automation services to move up the value chain,” he said.

The research firm official said that contact centers must look at investing in industrialization and new cloud-based service offerings.

Mr. Hernandez also stressed the need for companies to leverage emerging technologies in customer relationship management such as social media, self-service, auto-agent, and analytics services. -- M.D. Limpag