THE CONTACT CENTER industry hopes to generate as much as 70,000 jobs and $1-billion additional revenues this year, amid challenges brought by the rise of artificial intelligence which threatens process-driven jobs.
Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) Chairman Louie Benedict C. Hernandez said on Wednesday that the industry targets to boost revenues this year by 7% to 9% from its 2017 level, equivalent to at least $1 billion.
“We have to stay at the higher single-digit range. We want to see an annual net addition of jobs, 60,000 to 70,000. We don’t want to get stagnant neither do we want to actually start getting a lower figure. Our goal is to keep adding jobs, to add in revenues,” Mr. Hernandez said in a press briefing in Makati City.
The CCAP’s target revenue growth is a slowdown from the double-digit annual growth the industry used to record before 2015.
The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, a major job generator in the country and contributor to the economy, has been threatened by the rise of machine-learning AI technology.
Contact centers, which make up four-fifths of the country’s BPO industry, have been scrambling to come up with a new business strategy to prevent job losses. Part of this includes scaling up job requirements among its employees.
“Over the years, the industry had been moving away from simple type of work,” Mr. Hernandez said, adding that he expects momentum to pick up this year.
Citing a report by its partner global market consulting and research firm The Everest Group, Mr. Hernandez said that only 14% of those agents who are doing voice jobs, are engaged in low-skill tasks.
Such traditional voice-job responsibilities include telemarketing, order taking, and provision of simple customer service assistance.
The report showed those engaged in jobs requiring middle-level skills comprises of 51% of the respondents. Their job tasks range from providing solutions to more complex customer problems, processing health claims, providing technical support, and business-to-business high value cross-selling or upselling.
High-level skill jobs are being done by 35% of the respondents. Some of the tasks they do are decision making for troubled projects and accounts, providing level 2 and 3 technical support, complex and high value claims processing requiring clinical certification, and financial analysis, among others.
The Everest Group also projected the call center industry’s revenues at $13 billion in 2017. For 2016, the CCAP said industry revenues stood at$12.77 billion.
The research firm added the Philippines continues to be the biggest source of contact center services. The local industry is expected to corner 16% to 18% of the total outsourced services globally in 2018.
The Philippines remains ahead of its nearest competitor in this market — India. — Janina C. Lim