Posted On July 21st, 2013
Miriam Defensor Santiago is a Philippine Senator who believes that it's time to end bad practices by some outsourcing companies in The Philippine. Although much of the feedback about the senator's comments have been negative, I believe that she is right to highlight the issue.
Firstly, not all Philippine call centres are the same. Most of the call centre agents in The Philippines are well treated in a good working environment and are well paid (relative to the local economy). However, there are a large number of very poor quality operators who tarnish both the reputation of the industry amongst potential employees and in turn, they produce a very poor quality service for their clients.
In both India &The Philippines, there are huge numbers of outsourced vendors who simply don't know how to run a call centre company. They don't possess the expertise or the financial resources to produce an operation which can deliver positive results for their staff or their clients. They set up facilities in poor standard buildings (sometimes with no air-conditioning) and pay staff the lowest salaries they can. Of course, demand for quality call centre agents is high and so these centres tend to recruit among Filipinos with sub-standard English & communication skills. These companies also have little idea how to market themselves and instead focus on providing poor quality services. Their inability to market themselves effectively has produced a downward spiral of costs.
With poor quality agents, poor infrastructure and weak management structures, these companies fail to deliver results. This in turn leads to a need to lay off staff which further impacts the image of the industry. Even worse is the lack of respect for the health & safety of the employees. Some call centre agents have even complained of unhygienic working conditions. With most call centre agents working night shifts, they are often forced to get back home during the night-time often in dangerous situations. Staff need protection against such unscrupulous companies and so do their clients who are unlikely to work with Philippines vendors again after such treatment. All of this reflects from the majority of call centre vendors who take the entire process of the protection of their staff very seriously. Many call centres in The Philippines have exceptional facilities and very positive conditions for their staff. They also pay good salaries which have helped to improve the Philippine economy. It is time to ensure that minimum standards are set and enforced across the country so that this valuable employment generator does not go the same way as other countries.