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Ethel Kay Merioles - Blog

How to Conduct a Vendor Assessment

In any industry, businesses rely on vendors and suppliers to provide quality products and services necessary for successful operations and profitability. And the successful companies treat their vendors and suppliers—the ones that play crucial roles in the supply chain—as partners that help the business become a successful venture.

However, ensuring that the vendor will be able to perform well not only begins during the operations stage. A proper vendor assessment must be conducted before choosing the vendor that businesses will be able to rely on for a period of time. The mutually beneficial partnership is also influenced by the negotiated price and agreed upon quality of service.

Vendor Evaluation

Before selecting a vendor, remember this series of steps to help you determine the right vendor with whom you can have a successful and long-lasting relationship.

1.       Determine your needs.

Identify your needs and which vendors are capable of meeting those needs. Make sure you’re your goals as an organization can be achieved by your vendor. These goals that you set must be measurable, relevant, and time sensitive.

2.       Determine the deal-breakers.

Narrow the field by making a list of very specific and necessary features you want in a vendor. If you are specific about needing a cloud storage solution instead of storing data in a traditional in-office server, then selecting a vendor will be much easier for you.

3.       Collect information about the vendors.

Online research can be done to gather information about the vendors, including their products and services. If online data are insufficient, vendors can be sought out to provide organizational profile, estimated cost of ownership, capability/capacity, and availability for demonstrations. Do keep in mind the following:

  • Security protocols and practices of these vendors who will eventually have access to your business’ sensitive information.
  • Enforcement and regulation of security standards within the organization. Vendors must be aware of the presence of malicious hackers and data grabbers.

4.       Request for references.

Ask vendors for lists of clients who have worked with these vendors. Vendor comparison must not only include pricing and costs but must also extend to service quality and consistency, security and processes. In risk assessments, familiarity with the vendor’s reputation is important, and it must be done at the beginning of every engagement with a vendor.

Making the Final Decision

Selecting a vendor that best fits your complex requirements can take a long time. Once you have made a thorough vendor assessment and compared several vendors, you will then enter the contracting phase, which will also require some time and effort. Speeding up the entire vendor selection process may require the assistance of the most experienced consultants or BPO support providers to get the job done.

When it comes to vendor selection and management, remember to trust only the most well-established company in the area. In the Philippines, for instance, you can contact the country’s premier end-to-end support solutions provider TeleDevelopment Services, Inc.

Publish Date: February 9, 2015 9:20 PM

Changes in the Philippine BPO Industry: An Outsourcing History

For years, the Philippines has been experiencing a steady economic climb as the country’s talented population attracts more and more businesses around the world. While a lot can be said about the country’s current status in the BPO arena, only a handful has been recorded regarding the BPO industry’s humble beginnings in the annals of Philippine history.


Let’s walk down memory lane, then, as we unearth a few pieces of information about the Philippine BPO industry’s early years.

Though it was only in 1989 that outsourcing was formally considered as a business strategy, it was in 1992 that BPO was established in the Philippines. Accenture partner Frank Holz was the one responsible for the first IT resource center in Metro Manila.

In 1997, Sykes Asia Inc. was established in the Philippines, and the company started out with only 16 employees. Although the company was founded in the 90s, Sykes Asia had already been employing Filipino talents for international accounts since 1977. Eventually Sykes Asia became known as the Philippines’ first multinational BPO company.

In 1999, two alumni from the call center consultancy Mckinsey & Company founded eTelecare. Since entering the market in November of that year, Jim Franke and Derek Holley’s company has been providing services to the financial services, consumer electronics, travel, media and telecommunications industries.

US-Based outsourcing center People Support restructured its business and shifted its sights on the Philippines in 2001. The company became a known BPO player with several outsourcing facilities and around 8,400 personnel located in the Philippines.

Another major BPO player, Convergys Corporation is one of the global leaders of customer care, billing and HR services. Since first establishing its presence in 2003, the company has been responsible for thousands of Filipino employees working in the industry.

By 2005, the Philippines had 3 per cent of the global BPO market. Back then India was ahead with 8 per cent, mainly because the US and British markets haven’t been largely tapped yet.

In 2006, ePLDT Ventus helped the Philippine market by becoming at the forefront of the local BPO landscape. In this year, the Philippine domestic economy grew by 5.4 per cent, thanks in part to BPO, the country’s dominant driver in the service sector. 

Finally, in 2010, the Philippines became the world’s BPO capital of the world. The Southeast Asian nation achieved this position in the outsourced back-office operations industry due to the sheer number of people the sector had employed.

Over the next few months, numbers steadily climbed and eventually in 2011, the country had a staggering 400,000 employees working at call centers and accrued $11 billion in revenue. A year later, the revenue generated climbed up to $13 billion.

The steady increase in revenue prompted the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) to predict that the IT-BPO industry would reach $16 billion in 2013 and fill 926,000 full-time jobs.

With the positive news encouraging more and more companies to invest in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu, sources now indicate that the Philippine BPO industry will be producing $25 billion in revenues and employing 1.3 million Filipinos by 2016.

To this day, the Philippines remains promising. The increasing government support and consistent production of graduates with competent communication skills further motivate companies to seek BPO services from the Southeast Asian gem despite geopolitical uncertainties.

Publish Date: May 6, 2014 4:15 AM

Importance of English Assessment for Call Center Agents

For call centers, assessing applicants’ grasp of the English language is of paramount importance as the customer base usually uses spoken English as the primary form of communication. It is the call center HR department’s duty to screen applicants and ensure that all trainees possess a solid understanding of both written and spoken English, and it is very important that the department understands exactly why skilled trainees are essential.

Improving customer satisfaction

As the company’s first line of defense, HR is responsible for helping the company acquire competent labor force. With companies vying to retain their customers’ business, ensuring the highest possible overall customer satisfaction is important.  

Below are some of the reasons how a proper and accurate English assessment results in better customer satisfaction.

1.       Helps reduce the language barrier

Without the best English assessment tool, the risk of hiring a candidate with poor communication skills is high. Since customer satisfaction largely depends on how a customer request or concern has been addressed and resolved, agents who are able to eloquently converse with the customer about the issue are the ones companies must retain and hire.

2.       Finds agents with better listening skills

Those who are non-English natives usually encounter difficulties understanding customers’ issues, mainly due to the speed in which sentences are delivered over the phone. Worse, accents add to that difficulty.

Customers who are asked to repeat information, however, may not always be so accommodating. Sometimes, having to repeat the problem more than once is annoying. Through proper training, agents can avoid situations in which they inadvertently affect customer satisfaction. A proper English assessment tool—combined with an excellent training program—can mitigate the problem.

3.       Finds agents who are capable

While most people use English assessment tools to determine an employee’s or prospective applicant’s communication skills, other people considers a great English assessment tool as a good device for selecting the right people for a fast-paced environment.

Call center positions often require soft skills as well as demonstrative abilities in thinking and reacting quickly—abilities that normally show themselves when the agents are already taking calls. Through a proper English assessment, candidates get to showcase their call handling skills as well as demonstrate their quick thinking and reaction.

These three reasons alone serve as a good argument why a proper English assessment is necessary in the call center industry. Contrary to popular belief, being a call center agent is no easy job. It requires a good combination of above average communication skills and soft skills only the best English assessment tool has the capacity to determine and identify in an applicant. For the best English assessment tool, invest in the world’s leader—Versant.


Publish Date: March 17, 2014 5:53 AM


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