Weak peso seen as beneficial to Philippines call centers

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A weaker peso is beneficial to the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, according to Contact Center of the Philippines (CCAP) President Benedict Hernandez.

Addressing the International Contact Center Conference and Expo (ICCCE) 2013 in Cebu, Hernandez said a strong peso is not good for the local (BPO) industry as it allows for cheaper operational costs of offshore outsourcing services in other Asian countries.

He said the operational costs of call centers remain cheaper by at least 25 percent in India because of the heavily depreciated rupee, even taking into account the drop in value of the peso against the US dollar.

But Hernandez also said despite cheaper costs in India the Philippines remains its biggest rival in the BPO industry because of its “competitive advantages”.


“Our strong brand has made the Philippines less vulnerable to competing countries in the contact center sphere. Clients place a premium on our competitive advantage on language, affinity to Western culture and the authentic desire to provide exceptional service,” he said.

H.Karthik, vice-president of outsourcing consultancy Everest Group, said the impact of the weakening peso on call centers and healthcare services is not that significant compared with non-voice and IT, despite higher costs compared to India.

Karthik said that to maintain a leading position, local call centers must offer differentiated services and reduce costs.

“The Philippines enjoys competitive advantage in skill, quality and cultural affinity,” he said.

Danila Sebastian Reyes, country manager of India-based Genpact Services LLC, said that while currency stability is important to business forecasts, global companies can always hedge their position in countries where they operate to mitigate the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations.

“While we always look long term, currency fluctuation is a cause for concern that the government must address,” Reyes said.

Hernandez earlier said the local call center industry grew by 18 percent year-on-year in 2012, posting $16.3 billion in revenues and a workforce of more than 900,000.

“The demand and appetite are there and we can anticipate that this hyper growth will continue,” Hernandez said.

JAN ERICK C. TUTAAN

 

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