The Evolution of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the Philippines

What began as call support centers in the 1900’s to cater to foreign costumers, the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines has grown quite remarkable, serving IT services, offshore staff leasing for admin functions and many more today.

In the 2000’s, the Philippines shown excellence in the call center industry, and had made a stable growth of 46% annually since 2006. And by 2011, the country has earned the most number of call center employees, with about 400,000 heads compared to other outsourcing destinations in Asia. By 2012, the Philippine economy grew 6.4% through BPO; it is the country’s fastest growth since 2010.

Call Centers in the Philippines

Call centers popped all over the country’s capital, Manila, and extended as far as Visayas and Mindanao. More and more foreign investors are capitalizing in the Philippines rather than its Asian neighbors due to the fact that Filipinos are more polite and westernized in term of accent, even though BPO services in India and China are much cheaper.

IT Outsourcing

Information technology also plays a big role in the country’s BPO industry growth. Surprisingly, clients from different parts of the world are looking for Filipino programmers, designers and animators, it is evident that the IT professionals are also becoming popular, not just call center agents. Software development and animation is now part of that growth.

Offshore Staff Leasing

When one door of success opens, a lot of opportunities peek in. When outsourcing in the Philippines became popular, so did offshore staff leasing. Professionals for data entry, virtual assistance, online marketing, writing and many more also became in demand, which lead to the boom of outsourcing companies in the country that specializes in offshore staff leasing.

Outsourcing Functions of a Business

Today, the Philippines BPO industry is catering to businesses that are bold enough to outsource some functions of their business like the admin and support, finance and accounting and HR.

What Is the Future of Philippines BPO?

Business process outsourcing has provided clients with new ways and opportunities to grow their business, and for as long as there is the need to grow, there will always be a space for innovation and the Philippines’ BPO industry will always be ready to deliver.

Outsourcing Tip: How to Make Your Data Entry More Efficient

In business, outsourcing is a merely a method entrepreneurs use to grow their bottom line. What makes a huge difference for others are the techniques and approaches they use to get to their goal.

Outsourcing your data entry does not guarantee a huge victory for your company, but it does give you a lot of rewards if you’ve done it right. Here are a few tips on how you can make your outsourced data entry more efficient.

Provide a Good Work Environment

Outsourcing firms have their own offices to house your outsourced data entry specialists. Even though it will be the responsibility of the service provider to provide all the equipment, software and other office supplies to your outsourced staff, it is still your responsibility to ensure that their work environment and physical conditions are perfect.

Your data entry specialists will be encoding data all day long, and a tired data encoder makes the most mistakes so it would be nice if you make sure their:

  • Office chair is comfortable enough;
  • Keyboards, mouse and computer monitor are working well;
  • Breaks are well scheduled; and
  • Workload is properly managed.

Check for Updates and Upgrades

Assuming that the outsourcing partner you’ve chosen specializes in data entry, software upgrades will never be a problem for you. All you have to do is review and approved such upgrades.

In case your service provider is not a data entry firm, it does not mean that they’re not tech inclined with data entry software and upgrades, keep in touch with them about the latest technologies available in the market and software upgrades that can benefit your outsourced staff. If necessary, take time to discuss it with them.

Set a Realistic Time Table

Some people think that outsourcing data entry, especially offshore outsourcing, gives you employees that work faster than anyone else. Well, quantity is way different than quality. If you want both, you need to set a realistic time table. Managing the workload of your outsourced data entry specialists is also important, because there’s a limited amount of workload one person can do in eight hours straight. So it’s important that you do not overload them.

Consider Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

Although it’s not a 100% guarantee to be accurate data, it lessens the time of encoding and provides more time for your data entry specialists to review and proofread their work. It would also help if you provide them with the original PDF files or scanned document so they can use it to double check the accuracy of their work.

In reality, data entry is a very important function of any business. Whether it’s a small, start-up business or a well established one, everyone in the office relies on data. So to make sure that outsourcing data entry will be efficient for your company, establish metrics on your service provider not just the outsourced staff. If you feel that you need a better outsourcing partner, look for another one. There’s also a thing called trial-and-error with outsourcing, no perfect combination or formula.

Is IT Outsourcing a Necessity?

Some argue that IT outsourcing is more of a need, while others contradict and says that it’s a luxury rather than a necessity. In any way you look at it, to outsource is simply a method that many businesses use for various purposes such as cost cutting and time saving, while others benefit from the hassle-free recruitment of new employees, upgrading of technology, and the opportunity to expand their brand wider and farther.

If your business is already outsourcing or it’s still planning to outsource IT services, what is your main purpose? Does it line with your company’s goal? Whatever the reasons are or how many answers you can think of, it all comes down to one ultimate goal, which is to GROW your business by utilizing all business methods and avenues available within reach.

So if you think about it again, is IT outsourcing a necessity? If growing your business is more of a necessity than a need, then it is more certainly not a luxury.

What Does IT Outsourcing Really Offer?

IT outsourcing also has an impact on consumers, not just entrepreneurs. For example, many IT companies today are outsourcing some parts of their devices and then build everything in-house, rather than make all the parts themselves. If they do create everything in-house, the materials will more expensive, more machines will be needed and more employees will be required. The end product will then be too expensive for an average earning person to purchase.

Aside from cost cutting and time saving, to outsource IT services brings new opportunities and build new ways for all types of business, big and small, to grow and expand to uncharted territories.

  • Business innovation is possible through outsourcing. It provides new methods, ideas and revision of the entrepreneur’s original goal, both for the client and the service provider, for the betterment of the company.
  • Even with just a small budget, start up businesses can enjoy some of the benefits of a business tycoon.
  • You will never be outdated with technologies.
  • Office expansion and manpower costs less, even lesser for tasks that do not really require physical presence of employees.
  • With outsourcing, finding skilled professionals is no longer limited to just your local area. You can find a handful of IT experts from different outsourcing destinations.
  • An outsourced employee can demonstrate more skills and knowledge to handle two or more tasks that you usually assign to two or three local employees.

To outsource IT services does not mean that your business is earning very well that you’ve decided to outsource just for the fun of it, or your bottom line is too damaged that you need to cut costs on most of your company’s functions. It is a necessity for many, but not all, businesses.

Why Outsource to the Philippines?

A few years back, when you talk about outsourcing, Philippines was not the first destination that comes into mind. When foreign investors look for stable countries to build their call center, the Philippines was not the first choice either. But there were bold ones who tried outsourcing to the country and are now enjoying the success from the risk they have taken.

While India still remains as the top destination for IT outsourcing and business process outsourcing (BPO), Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are also making big progress. But on top of all the popular Asian countries for outsourcing, the most headway has consistently been the Philippines.

Government Support

As the country continues to excel in BPO, the government of the Philippines has been helping foreign investors in order to attract more. Like what former Fidel V. Ramos did when he help improved the country’s power supply infrastructure and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who implemented a number of tax exemptions (CCAP, 2012).

The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (BIPAP) even created a 2011-2016 roadmap to promote the competitive advantages and the growth potential of the Philippines outsourcing industry and forecasted to generate a revenue of $25 billion in 2016 which is 10% of the global market share.

The Board of Investments (BOI) has developed incentive schemes which include an income tax holiday of 6 years for pioneer enterprises and 4 years for non-pioneers, and a deduction of 50% from taxable income of labour expenses.

While the Department of Education (DepEd) continuously develop new strategies to improve the education and training of students in order to produce qualified graduates for the labour market.

Technology and Culture Compatibility

Outsourcing in the Philippines also grants investors with employees who are culturally aware and updated with the latest technologies and trends. Filipinos are natural adopters of what’s new in the market and their environment not just for personal gain but also for career leverage.

Reduced Management Responsibilities

Because BPO companies in the country also compete with each other, more and more outsourcing firms in the Philippine are developing new and wider solutions for their clients like offering a free supervisor or manager to each of their clients. Plus, the administrative responsibilities fall under the care of the service provider allowing their clients to focus more on the core competencies of their business.

Language Barrier is Not an Issue

The Philippines has adapted English as its second language, including English as a subject as early as elementary. It even attracted other Asian counties like Korea, China and Japan to study English in the Philippines because of the quality of education. It even caught the attention of countries like Iran, Libya, Brazil and Russia because learning English in the Philippines is cheaper compared to the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

The Filipino’s fluent American accent may have been influenced by the US when they colonized the country, but it’s the country itself that dedicated its resources and attention to retain the English language after the Americans had left.

Highly Skilled and Readily Available Workforce

Outsourcing companies in the Philippines have developed specific training programs to help their countrymen qualify for job openings in the BPO industry and simultaneously supply manpower demands from their foreign clients. Colleges and Universities in the country also provide courses for jobs that are in demand today such as creative design, animation, multimedia arts and many more. It eliminates the time and money for training new employees.

Cost Savings

Due to conversion rates, dollar to peso, Philippines outsourcing has become more attractive to foreign investors. The internet infrastructure of the country may still need a lot of work but between salaries, benefits and operational overhead costs Filipino workers are still cheaper compared to their western counterparts. A business owner can easily build a team of call center agents or data entry specialists in the Philippines without having to invest a lot.

5 Key Reasons to Outsource Administrative Support

Outsourcing your admin support can give your business the leverage it needs to compete in the market. Through it, you can reap rewards beyond your expectations, but in order to get that you will need a well thought out plan, a flexible and adaptable business model and the courage to take a few risks.

Some companies start out with small outsourcing ideas such us leasing employees for data entry support, help desk and virtual assistants, while others jump right into outsourcing their whole HR or payroll department. There is no clear concoction as to what is the perfect recipe for a successful outsourcing, that’s why entrepreneurs have to take a few risks to get to their goal. Here are five (5) key reasons to outsource your administrative support.

Efficiency and Cost Saving

Admin support or any type of back-office function is complicated by nature. It can spiral out of control in terms of overhead costs and staff performance if not managed well. The good thing about outsourcing is that you can find a service provider that specifically specializes in the area where you need help the most. You can outsource your back-office functions to a firm that specializes in admin support so you will never have to worry about the skills and capabilities of your data entry clerks, help desk agents and virtual assistants.

Staffing Flexibility

One of the main reasons why many businesses are outsourcing their admin support is to reduce the workload of their in-house staff. With a leased employee from a third party service provider, you can easily pick a staff to work for you during peak seasons only. You can even arrange an engagement with your service provider to supply you with data entry specialists during one season, and help desk agents or virtual assistants subsequently or simultaneously with different ending contract periods.

Risk Management

Companies of all sizes sometimes suffer from high employee turnover; some staff will leave for another opportunity while others are on extended leaves. This could be the perfect time to outsource additional manpower because outsourcing firms offers their services for both long term and short term periods. Companies that often suffer from high employee turnovers can seek assistance from a third party service provider to reduce risk and allow their business to continue operating.


Outsourcing firms thrive for excellence so each penny they are paid they return it with quality services. Especially in prime countries for outsourcing, competition gets higher so they continuously evolve in order to consistently provide quality services at a lower cost. So don’t get yourself baffled if you see the pricing for services such as data entry, help desk and virtual assistant are extremely low from these prime countries.

Recruitment Assistance

By outsourcing, business owners are able to discover talents that are not available in their area or country, or too expensive to hire in-house. Service providers has large pools of talents ranging from junior to master level professionals, you can easily handpick your own admin support staff from a list of qualified candidates based on your requirements. No more hassle for recruiting and training new employees! Your newly hired data entry specialist, help desk agent or virtual assistant is already equipped with the necessary skills needed to perform and complete their tasks.

Outsourcing is a great business tool; it can be the key to expand your brand online, discover new markets, reclaim lost profit, or the alternative method to save your bottom line.

5 Major Advantages of Outsourcing Your Help Desk

In any way you look at it, help desk is a big help to a company. It generally takes calls, emails and even tickets filed online by customers with concerns and employees seeking technical assistance. Outsourcing your help desk can provide multiple advantages for your business but it can also gain a negative impact on your bottom line if not done properly.

In order to gain success from outsourcing your help desk, you should have a solid plan and the right service provider. If you are still wondering what‘s in it for you, here are five (5) major advantages you can reap from outsourcing your help desk.

#1: Operational and Financial Leverage

Financially, outsourcing costs less than housing a help desk team, especially if your business requires a large number of service desk agents working 24/7.

By outsourcing your help desk, you generally get:

  • Recruitment assistance – No more need to go through all the tiring process of recruiting more heads because your service provider will be responsible for that. All that’s left for you to do is to hand pick the staff you want to hire from a list of qualified candidates.
  • HR assistance – Employee benefits, payroll and taxes are handled by the service provider. There is no need for you to worry about them anymore.
  • Opportunity to expand and expand more – You will no longer need to add more office space and equipments to house your newly hired help desk agents, and you will never have to worry about additional software licenses and basic office supplies.
  • Access to latest technologies – Outsourcing companies are always up-to-date with the latest technologies and gadgets to run a smooth call center.

#2: Flexible Solutions Based on Your Needs

Since outsourcing companies today have become more competitive, some have created flexible and customized solutions to accommodate any type of businesses in need. So for companies with complex employment or project requirements for help desk agents, you are sure to find a service provider that will take on your challenge without having to spend a fortune.

#3: Free Supervisor or Manager

Before, you will need to hire a supervisor or manager to monitor your outsourced employees, but not anymore today. Most outsourcing companies already have a supervisor or manager assigned to monitor your help desk agents, whether you hire just one staff or a team.

You will be having an additional pair of eyes and ears to monitor the performances and punctuality of your leased employees. Plus, some work issues can be resolved by the supervisor or manager before it even arrives at your doorstep.

#4: Continuous Upgrade

There will be times that your outsourced help desk agents will need trainings in order to learn new software and online applications. With an outsourcing company, your leased employees will always be updated; all you have to do is give your permission so they can attend the free trainings and seminars.

#5: Technical and Industry Expertise

When you look for an outsourcing company, it is best if you choose the service provider that specializes in your industry because they are the experts when it comes to handling various call issues, hardware and software upgrades, and they are always up-to-date with the latest technologies that can enhance your help desk. They provide an edge over other outsourcing companies that are not in your industry, a great benefit for you!

Over-all, help desk can either be outsourced or not depending on the needs of your business. If you do decide to partner with an outsourcing company to help you, you better be prepared because no successful business has made it to the top without taking risks and sacrifices. There will always be a con whenever there is a pro, the key is to overcome the con with strategic and intelligent planning.

4 Importances of Support Staff For Your Business

Support staffs are very important little cogs that help run your business smoothly, it maybe just a small part for some companies but the level of importance is the same for all. Support staff varies by industry and company, it is routine and can be very tedious.

Let us elaborate the importance of support staffs in your business.

Virtual Assistant (VA)

The masters of multitasking and flexibility, virtual assistants or VA staffs are very good in learning new things in order to make their work easier and faster. They are cunning when it comes to clerical tasks and are highly organized. But did you know that VAs can do a lot more than what you think they can? Teach them a bit about Photoshop and they’ll watermark, crop, and enhance your photos for you, have them read the basics of SEO and you’ll have a VA that can do basic link building. It’s all up to you on what you want to assign to your VA!

So what makes a virtual assistant support staff a very important part of your business? There are five (5) major roles you can assign to your VA staff; a general VA for secretarial tasks, SEO/internet marketer VA for various online tasks, writer/blogger VA, a video Editor VA and a sales rep VA. Virtual assistants are versatile so you can have them do multiple tasks from various departments.

Quality Assurance (QA) Staff

The guy that always checks for quality, always monitoring and looks out for signs of issues and improvements, is the quality assurance or QA staff. A QA staff can be assigned to any department and can do several functions for consistent and quality deliverables.

So what makes a quality assurance support staff a very important part of your business? QA staffs does not only make sure that the process in your business are running smoothly, they can also identify potential problems before it occurs, formulate a solution for the betterment of your products and services, and even provide useful information for your marketing team. This support staff is the overall eyes and ears of the management!

Data Entry/Encoding

It is the manual typing of data from various digital, voice and written sources. Data entry specialists or encoders can type faster and more accurate, look for items in the database quicker than everyone else, and process data more effectively than you. They can be assigned as a typist, a word processor or a transcriptionist.

These days, many businesses prefer to outsource data entry services not only to cut down on manpower costs but to gain strategic business advantages.

So what makes a data entry specialist a very important part of your business? Companies today use more data compared to decades ago, and that is because of the evolution of technologies we use now. The manual typing of data into a computer can be very tiring and boring which leads to inaccurate inputs of information. If you want your data to be accurate all the time, you need an expert, a data entry support staff.

Back Office Help Desk

The primary objective of a help desk or service desk staff is to assist and help clients with technical issues regarding the product they purchased or services they bought from the company. Help desk varies widely within companies and can be outsourced too.

Customers will be calling in with their concerns whether you like it or not, and they will call whenever they want. Your help desk should always be ready to answer calls and effectively assist customers with their concerns. If your business can do transactions 24/7, so should your service desk.

So what makes a help desk support staff a very important part of your business? Aside from handling customers, your service desk has all the information that your marketing and sales department can use to create effective advertising to widen your customer network. The information they relay can also help you improve and make better products and services for your customers’ satisfaction. What business doesn’t want a repeat buyer?

3 Ways to Improve Staff Leasing for Your Business

Staff leasing and offshore outsourcing has become a trend these days not only because it reduces manpower costs, but because many businesses today are finding these methods to be very helpful in increasing their bottom line, improve online presence and widen customer network.

If your business is suffering from some operational issues from your service provider, or if you are a first timer who is seriously considering staff leasing or offshore outsourcing, here are three (3) great ways on how you can improve your relationship with the service provider and get all the juicy benefits that comes along with it.

Specify the Level of Supervision and Build a Rapport with the Supervisor

Field supervisors or managers from staff leasing firms are properly trained to oversee your leased employees, not only to micromanage their performance and punctuality but as well as personal issues that may arise during working hours. You can set the level of supervision you want for your leased staff and even specific requests like having your staff come to work at least ten minutes early so you chat with them or to conduct a short Skype meeting.

If you want a more efficient field supervisor, build a rapport with him. A good relationship brings great rewards, especially to businesses. You might even be surprised that some operational issues, including highly technical ones, have already been resolved before it even reaches your attention.

Specify Insurance Coverage and Other Employee Benefits

Not all service providers handle employee insurance and benefits, so never assume and always ask for the coverage.

To stay competitive, staff leasing firms including both local and offshore outsourcing companies, have packaged basic employee benefits such as overtime pay, medical reimbursements, paid vacation and sick leaves. Some even allow the usage of vacation leaves for religious Holidays and emergencies. With flexible a solution like this, you can specify what type of leaves can be used to what type of situations.

Here are some benefits that the staff leasing firm can provide for your leased employee but not required for you to pay:

  • Full medical plan
  •  Retirement (pension) plan
  • Life insurance
  •  Recruitment (joining) bonus
  • Referral bonus – when you request for additional heads

If you have Doubts, Seek Legal Counsel!

Every company changes their policies from time to time. As the business owner, it is your responsibility to read and learn whatever is written in your service provider’s policy. You also have the right to ask questions and for examples, and you can even request for a written explanation or a short meeting with the CEO if you feel that can help you understand their policies better. After all, you are the customer.

Legal advice is always crucial when it comes to jotting the agreement with the staff leasing firm you chose. You will need to know how much control you have and the level of protection that the agreement can give you when it comes to liability. The more things works in your favor, the better!

Should You Outsource Your Customer Service?

Many businesses today, both big and small, are outsourcing their customer service and other parts of their company to third party service providers. Outsourcing customer service doesn’t only cut down manpower costs, it can also help improve products and services, end-user experience, and provide you with time advantage over your competitors.

The thought is very tempting but should you really be outsourcing your customer service? If you are unsure if it is the best solution for your company, here are some things to consider to help you decide.

Labor Cost in the Long Run

Always weigh in the possible costs of outsourcing your customer services versus hiring in-house call center agents. It would be wiser if you draw a plan and make some rough computations before deciding whether to outsource or not.

If your company has a large volume of customers calling in 24/7 and your customer service is not available all the time, maybe it’s time to go outsourcing. Some companies hire third party call center services because they are the experts when it comes to handling all types of calls and customer behaviors. There will no longer be a need to add office space, equipment, software and other office supplies to house a team of customer service agents, plus language and call training will never be a problem because it will be the responsibility of the third party service provider.

Outsourcing your customer service may not be a great idea if you only have a few calls coming in.

Consider Your Customers’ Needs

Once a customer has bought a product or service from you, caring for them should not stop there. Having a good customer service will add more smiles to your customers keeping them coming back for more.

If you want customers to keep talking about your great new product or the amazing service you offer, you should always be ready to answer all their questions all the time, but is your customer service ready for that? Are your call agents equipped with the latest technologies in call servicing? Because your customers are always equipped with the latest gadgets, you should be able to take clear calls all the time. Customers do not want choppy calls, buzzing sounds, low volume speakers or microphones, and they definitely do not want to wait while you Google the answer to their questions.

Outsourcing your customer service may provide you all the things needed to run a smooth call center and keeping your customers happy. So if you are having the aforementioned problems and can’t seem to find a solution, maybe outsourcing it is the right move.

Communication is Key

Some people and business owners will warn you about language barriers when planning to outsource your customer service, because many businesses today are opting for outsourcing call center services in Asia to save more on costs and to intensify manpower and call servicing. But did you know that even your own in-house customer service agents can mess up customer calls? Language accents and different nationalities have nothing to do with delivering a good or bad information over the phone, what’s important is the quality of communication.

It wouldn’t hurt to sample your own in-house customer service and then try a local call center and an offshore call center to see the differences. If you feel that outsourcing your customer service will provide better communication between you and your customers, you might just be right!

What is Offshore Staff Leasing?

Staff leasing works just like your local outsourcing process; hiring an individual or a team of professionals from a third party service provider to work on specific parts of your business like data encoding, help-desk, QA, online marketing, graphics designing and many more.

For offshore staff leasing, also referred to as offshore outsourcing or offshoring, business owners seek out the services offered by Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) to assist them in various activities of their business, mostly in administrative.

Any worker you hire from PEO will be considered employees by the service provider; you will only be hiring their services. Thus the legal responsibilities to the workers fall to the care of the service providers, such as taking care of their taxes, safety and healthcare benefits, and more.

What Makes Staff Leasing and General Outsourcing So Attractive?

For starters, it is cost-efficient in terms of hiring local employees with full compensation packages and benefits. It allows many business owners, especially start-up businesses, to get access to a pool of highly skilled and talented professionals for a drastically lowered cost.

For businesses planning to expand their workforce, the recruitment process and human resource management will already be handled by the offshore staff leasing firm. There will no longer be a need for you to worry about employee taxes and payroll management because they are already taken care of.

With offshore staff leasing, you generally get:

  • Lowered overhead cost
  • Access to a pool of highly skilled and talented professionals
  • Eliminate the need to hire additional accountants and human resource managers
  • Opportunity to expand your business without adding more office space and equipments

In addition, offshore staff leasing firms also offers flexible outsourcing solutions for businesses with complex requirements, so you can always get the services you want within your allotted budget. Who doesn’t get attracted to that?