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News : Typhoon Leaves Economic Disaster
Nov 27, 2013 -- As Typhoon Haiyan tore across the eastern Philippines, coconut plantations older than the fathers of the men who tend them were smashed like matchsticks and call centres that field customer service gripes from around the world fell silent. The storm that killed thousands also wrecked livelihoods in the worst hit region, a blow that will ripple long after the disaster fades from attention.
The workload of call and data centres that are soaked in water and choked with debris has easily been diverted to other Philippine cities. Less simple is the choice faced by thousands of workers: uproot and separate from family or stay in Leyte province and wait perhaps a year for the jobs to return.
Call centre and other jobs in the blossoming outsourcing industry offer air-conditioned comfort and pay that is higher than average for white collar work in the Philippines. Those opportunities were multiplying in Leyte as more outsourcing companies moved in. Then Haiyan came, levelling towns and dreams.
At a call and data centre in Palo, 11 kilometres from Tacloban, chairs, desks and computers are soaked in water and caked with dirt.
The building wasn't hit by Haiyan's storm surge but monstrous winds peeled off sheet metal roofing from the hangar-like structure as more than 500 people huddled within, leaving only the steel frame skeleton and soaking everything below. No one died on the premises of the company that had optimistically named itself Expert Global Solutions - but some employees lost family.
Bosses visiting from Manila ordered hard drives of 1,000 damaged computers destroyed to protect confidential data of clients mostly in the U.S. Power may be restored to the area in December, a crucial milestone for businesses that hope to rebuild.
"It's impossible to resume operations now because all the computers are damaged, there's no equipment," said quality supervisor R.J. Ripalda.
Some employees have decided to take jobs with the company in Manila but that's not an option for some, including Ripalda with two young children.
"Others have the option to relocate, but others will have to find other means to earn to buy milk for their children, rice," she said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Expert Global Solutions:
Expert Global Solutions (EGS) is a global customer service organization, delivering leading outsourced solutions, for customer and financial care. Serving the world’s leading companies, EGS helps decision-makers delight their customers and deepen brand engagement. With revenues of $1.2B, EGS has over 40,000 employees in more than 70 locations across 11 countries. EGS customer care support services, delivered through voice, text, chat and email, span the customer management experience. From answering product-related questions and technical support, to up-selling and cross-selling, to social care. For financial care, EGS supports critical financial management functions, such as accounts receivable management, revenue cycle management, and order to cash. EGS has deep vertical expertise, with a unique understanding of industry-specific needs, including healthcare, financial services, logistics, online retail, technology, telecommunications and utilities. An award winning company and equal opportunity employer, EGS is committed to delivering an exceptional customer experience, in every interaction.
Published: Thursday, November 28, 2013