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Industry Research : Call Centers Urged to Expand
CEBU CITY, Aug 29, 2013 -- Contact center companies in the Philippines can ensure growth by tapping local businesses as well as emerging markets, an industry executive said yesterday.
Asheesh Mehra, Infosys BPO Japan and Middle East head, identified 81 countries as emerging markets for outsourcing and offshoring activities.
Mr. Mehra said that these countries make up 80% of the world’s population, 50% of global gross domestic product, 70% of foreign exchange, and 12% of the world’s equity market capitalization.
Also, $600 billion of foreign direct investments go into these countries, he added.
The Infosys executive identified the top 10 emerging market economies (EMEs) as China, India, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Poland, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. An EME has low to medium per capita income and is moving towards an open economy.
To a certain extent, there is a language barrier in these countries, he said, but contact centers can start with accounts in English.
Mr. Mehra also said that the industry must seriously consider moving from voice to more lucrative data services.
The domestic market for contact center services has opened up in India, China, and Malaysia, but not in the Philippines, he noted. "Why can’t we compete with them and put a pitch out to local companies?" he said.
All the industry needs is initiating a change of mindset in the domestic market, Mr. Mehra added. According to him, local companies were initially not keen on outsourcing customer care and other services, but they were convinced after they were presented with the benefits.
"We tell them, you do not need as much technology or full-time employees. Or, we take away their people issues," he said.
Mr. Mehra also said that the US and UK still bring in bigger revenues, but contact center companies need to start preparing for businesses going online in two to three years.
"You need only think medium-term. Ernst and Young projects that emerging markets will make up 50% of global GDP by 2020 and 38% of world consumer spending," he said.
Two ways of going into emerging markets would be to partner with a local company or to open a small center, with someone from the main office running it while local personnel undergo training.
Mr. Mehra also said that new technology trends such as smart intelligent voice recording (IVR) systems pose threats to the contact center industry.
However, the area of data services is one way the Philippines can make up for losses in voice from new technology developments. Mr. Mehra said that the Philippines has talent with skills in finance, accounting and human resource.
"Why are we not challenging established players which are in India right now?" he said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, August 5, 2013