Outsourcing to the Philippines
2014 has been a rough year for the Philippines. Earthquakes and typhoons ravaged regions of the country but none more than the city of Tacloban which was subjected to the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan and left more than 100,000 people dead or homeless.
But amidst this tragedy, the people of Tacloban continued to inspire the world by thriving despite realizing massive losses of life and property. The courage and resiliency of Tacloban are captured in images of people smiling and going about their daily lives while coping with the inconveniences of the state of affairs. At the same time, Tacloban has to deal with the endless brickbats between politicians, the national government and agencies that only serve to delay much needed supplies, housing and financial aid.
Anderson Cooper, prominent news personality for CNN, who covered the grounds at Tacloban was amazed and touched by the spirit of the people given that Haiyan was the strongest typhoon in history.
While Tacloban is just one city among several dispersed within the Philippines’ 12 metropolitan areas, the attitude and disposition of their people is generally representative of Filipinos. Having been a colony of the Dutch, Spain, the United States and Japan plus its trade history with China, Thailand, Indonesia and other neighboring countries, the Philippines has grown to adopt several cultural and social nuances passed down from one generation to the next. This amalgamation of unique and distinct social mores and values has made the Philippines a perfect cultural fit for any business intending to explore outsourcing services.
The Perfect Cultural Fit for Business
While generally thought of as heavily processed, success in outsourcing is contingent on people, which is why outsourcing to the Philippines makes sound business strategy.
By outsourcing to the Philippines, a business will have access to a rich pool of talent where American English is the preferred medium of instruction and communication in business. According to industry figures, voice campaigns account for 70-80% of all outsourcing receipts. These include services for telemarketing, cold-calling, surveys, customer service and appointment setting.
But more than the ability to speak an appreciable level of English, it is their capacity to empathize and patiently contend with people regardless of country of origin, orientation or denomination that makes outsourcing to the Philippines a valuable strategy for business development. According to Light-Core, a behavioral-based business consultancy firm from Canada, Asians tend to function in an “inward to outward” behavioral pattern reflective of their close family ties while Westerners move more in an “outward to inward” pattern.
This behavioral pattern influences how Filipinos approach their interactions with clients or patrons from other nationalities. They tend to be more active listeners yet pro-actively reach out to resolve issues in the most expedient manner as they would with their own families and close relationships. Filipino agents recruited for customer service work are reputed for their tolerance in dealing with irate and abusive customers.
The Philippines is also receptive to outside influences. In addition to the contributions by the United States, Spain and Japan to the cultural and societal profile, lately, there has been an influx of influences coming from South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Although these are largely in the areas of entertainment and fashion, nonetheless, Filipinos have started to have a greater appreciation for their Asian neighbors and have taken steps to learn more about their language and culture. One of the growing segments in outsourcing to the Philippines is English instruction and students are predominantly from South Korea and Japan.
The continued evolution and growth of the Philippine culture is an acknowledgement of the ever-changing conditions of the global business environment. It is a response which conveys the message countries need to adapt in order to thrive in the reality of globalization and makes the Philippines the perfect fit for any multinational that seeks to experience the benefits of outsourcing.