In the last few years I have spoken to quite a few companies who are outsourcing to Philippines for various tasks such as telephone support, online chat support, or other support tasks. The challenges faced by companies who Outsource to Philippines are real and with the global pandemic there are additional constraints that companies need to consider when selecting an outsourcing partner.
In the past when companies where outsourcing to low cost countries some of the questions that were asked included:
This article in Wall Street Journal highlights the challenges some of the organizations are facing https://www.wsj.com/articles/calls-to-companies-rise-amid-coronavirus-but-operators-arent-standing-by-11585483200.
These challenges include:
In addition to the above challenges there are additional challenges that organizations face when outsourcing to companies in Philippines.
The companies I spoke to in Toronto have mentioned that they had challenges with the companies in Philippines to meet SLA. These challenges were either providing less than qualified individuals or not providing the number of resources required.
In addition to that outsourcing companies in Philippines have experienced service outages because of issues not in their control. Earthquakes and volcano eruptions can cause a company to temporary shutdown its services which can result in having limited or no customer support for your clients.
Previously, companies had the luxury to send a team member to the off-shore outsourcing partner site to physically look into the challenges faced by the local teams. With COVID-19 and the closure of airports and lockdowns, companies are not able to send their team members to monitor these remote teams.
With the work from home distributed work force the infrastructure at the call center has now become irrelevant. When Outsourcing to India or Outsourcing to Philippines for Customer Support or any Back-Office operations there are addition criteria that an organization should add to its vendor selection criteria:
When selecting an outsourcing country infrastructure evaluation should include the type of internet services available to individuals at home. Whether the individuals have Cable or Fiber Optic connections available from multiple vendors. With the work from home distributed work force the infrastructure at the call center has now become irrelevant.
When working from home it is critical that there is no residential load shedding of electricity. In North America and Europe load shedding is not a common thing however in most third world/developing countries such as India, Pakistan, and Philippines this is normal. Therefore, team members working from home might not be able to connect because of the electrical grid loading shedding schedule.
With the South China sea in the news and China with its roads and bridges initiatives smaller nations are forced to build alliances to defend themselves. Companies have to look at the regional and political stability when outsourcing to a country.
In addition to the infrastructure requirements its important to evaluate the policies and procedures that an outsourcing company has in place in regards to work from home. If sufficient policies and procedures are not in place the quality of service and adherence to SLA will suffer.
In addition to the above criteria this articles lists additional criteria that need to be considered. http://perfectque.com/blog/2019/12/06/selecting-the-right-outsourcing-partner/
If your company is planning to outsource or have already outsourced to Philippines or India then its time to re-evaluate how these vendors will support you in the short term and what contingency plans are in place to support your organization in the long run.