Jared Morrison of Stream Global Services highlights the advantages of outsourcing customer care operations to the Philippines
Stream Global Services is a premium international business process outsourcing (BPO) provider whose sales, customer care and technical support services enable its clients to increase revenue generation, operational efficiencies and brand loyalty. The Boston-based company merged with eTelecare in 2009 and has eight call center facilities across the nation. Jared Morrison, vice president and country manager of Stream in the Philippines, outlines the competitive advantages of both the country and the company.
Can you comment on the defining features of the new government?
There has definitely been an improvement in terms of visibility and ease of doing business. The new administration is finding ways to decrease red tape and bureaucracy. Policies and regulations have become more business and investor friendly. In addition to transparency, wealth distribution is improving. There is a growing class of young professionals making their mark.
Do you feel that the global investment community is fully aware of the potential of the country?
I do not think so. Americans are familiar with the Philippines. It is getting some reputation in the U.S. market, particularly in the BPO industry because there are so many people here.
One of the reasons why the Philippines has become so successful is that we’ve seen a lot of voice work diverted to the Philippines. There is also the high quality of customer care that can be delivered here.
Also, the country captured the BPO voice services market due to the neutral quality of their accents. Filipinos are easier to understand so it is easier to communicate with them. The service professionals are experienced and knowledgeable.
We are at an important point of the growth stage. The industry is huge here. The key is for it to maintain its good reputation.
What other natural advantages are here?
‘IF YOU TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR YOU, THEY WILL IN TURN TRUST YOU AND DO A GOOD JOB FOR YOUR CLIENTS’
‘WE HAVE PARTNERSHIPS WITH MORE THAN 12 UNIVERSITIES HERE’
‘WE HAVE BROKEN THE MOLD IN TERMS OF WHAT PEOPLE PERCEIVE THIS INDUSTRY IS CAPABLE OF DOING’
VICE PRESIDENT AND COUNTRY MANAGER OF STREAM GLOBAL SERVICES IN THE PHILIPPINES
There is a natural affinity for Western culture. There are American movies in the theaters, American brands are available in the retail areas and there is a following for American sports teams. That can’t be said in many offshore BPO destinations.
Also, people are naturally nice and pleasant. Visitors immediately notice the openness and helpfulness of the locals. This is especially important for functions with clients calling about their problems
How are you working with academia to secure a steady flow of human capital for the BPO industry?
We have partnerships with more than 12 universities here in the Philippines and we provide them with our hiring profile. We also offer in-house English courses.
We have some language training expertise, and we work with the universities to help them see what our required curriculum looks like.
Why is now the right time to showcase the Filipino BPO sector internationally?
If you take care of the people who work for you, provide a good work environment, enable them to be successful and provide competitive wages, they will in turn trust you and do a good job for your clients. When they do a really good job for your clients, you do not have much to worry about.
Nobody can say that the industry is a fluke, or that it is not sustainable. When I look at our performance metrics, we are able to perform at par with domestic outsourcers.
Contrary to the assumption that a lot of companies make when they outsource their services elsewhere, you do not have to expect a degradation of performance by outsourcing services to this country. This fact has been an eye-opener for a lot of companies.
Over the years, we have corrected misperceptions and made companies aware that the Philippine BPO industry has the capabilities to handle things beyond basic CSR. We have broken the mold in terms of what people perceive this industry is capable of doing.