The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the operation of the BPO industry. Outsourcing Philippines has to think of some ways to alleviate the situation. Meanwhile, some foreign corporations worry that it might affect their operations. Thus, they pull out their investments and choose to outsource somewhere.
The call center industry had to immediately think of some ways to regain the client’s trust. They propose several solutions to control the damage. Here are some of the BPO sector’s immediate responses amidst the pandemic.
The BPO industry immediately shifted to a WFH set-up after the announcement of nation-wide lockdown. Nearly 60% of BPO employees in NCR are already working remotely 2 months after the lockdown. Transitioning from office set-up to work-from-home is not an easy feat.
Call center company shouldered the expenses for delivery of equipment. They made sure that every agent could get their computer to continue operating.
As a result, many call center companies continue with their operations. Team leaders were able to monitor their agents through different online tools. On top of that, the industry becomes active in pursuing different accounts for their clients.
It worked for a couple of months until some issues started to surface. Some foreign companies are not comfortable releasing sensitive information outside the office. Thus, BPO management thinks of a long term solution for the pandemic.
The BPO companies in the Philippines provide more than just solutions in operations. They’ve manage to ease the agent’s workload. Besides that, they also made sure that they are safe and comfortable. Here are some of the important benefits they give to their employees:
Transportation becomes an issue for workers going to their office. The Philippines government allowed only a few public utility vehicles to operate. Moreover, some had to endure long hours of waiting just to get a taxi. Besides that, the cost of Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) is relatively high and impractical.
For this reason, the call center sector hired several vans to transport their agents from office to their home and vice versa. It encourages their employees to go to the office instead of working from home.
There are some employees that are far from the office and shuttle service can’t reach them. Therefore, BPO companies also rented staff houses for them. The call center business shoulder the expenses inside the staff house. Furthermore, they also provided free food for the agents.
It is perfect for employees who can’t do a WFH set-up due to living conditions. They can just work while comfortably living inside a safe house. Besides that, they can save more money by not spending on transportation and food.
The BPO executives think of a way to somehow motivate their employees further. As a result, they’ve come up with a solution to provide additional payment for those who want to go to the office. It is an effective way to drive employees to go to work instead of staying in their home.
COVID-19 is not required for workers according to the Department of Health (DOH). Yet, BPO companies provide free swab testing for their employees. This is to ensure that everyone is safe when they come back to the office.
Meanwhile, others opted to stay in company-provided staff houses after the test. Their call center company will shoulder the food and accommodation too.
It is important to take note here there is a scarcity for testing kit during the earlier times of lockdown. Moreover, there are very limited available testing kits in the country. The call center industry made sure their agents would get the best testing procedure.
BPO companies also provide company loans to their employees. They can use it to provide needs for their family during lockdown. Not all industries are lucky enough to continue operating like the BPO industry.
Some companies made application of loans easier to their employees. It also reduces the risk of any close contact transaction.
Furthermore, these loans have a zero interest rate. Agents can also choose how long they want to pay the loan. It is a great way to encourage employees to still continue working. Support like this from the industry boosted the morale of call center agents.
The call center industry helps employees with their HMO too. In fact, they made several health benefits that is COVID-19 related.
Medical assistance helps agents to reduce their anxiety about the hospital bills. Thus, it helps them to focus on their work rather than worrying about medical expenses.
Besides that, some companies also assisted their COVID positive agents. They contacted LGUs about nearby quarantine facilities to house their employees.
Other than that, some companies provide assistance to their agents. An example is by giving them paid leaves during the pandemic. They can use these leaves for health reasons.
All BPO executives implemented several safety health protocols inside the office. They based it on the guidelines by the Philippine government. This will help to stop the spread of the virus in the workplace.
An example of rules are the physical distancing. Most especially whenever agents are in common areas like the comfort room and pantry. Furthermore, people need to check their temperature first before entering the production floor. Finally, wearing face masks and shields is a necessity all the time.
This is one of the latest help of the BPO industry to their agents. The BPO sector entered a tripartite agreement with the government and vaccine manufacturers. It is to ensure that their agents will get a vaccine. This is free for every call center agent.
Additionally, BPO businesses give an option to have their employees’ families get vaccinated. It is beneficial for agents who are living with relatives. All in all, this is a great help not only in the industry but also in the community.
The call center industry’s current situation is a reminder that there’s always an answer to a problem. They tried several solutions until they’ve come up with the best for their agents and clients.
Additionally, they managed to maintain a great quality of their service. They also endure all the changes of the new normal. Study shows that the BPO industry generates $26B in 2020. This is 0.5% down from last year $26.3 billion. However, it still performs better compared to other industry.
However, this is not a permanent situation for the BPO sector. In fact, experts are expecting a bounce back from the industry in 2022. They estimated a revenue of $29B once the government lifted the lockdown protocol.
There are also some call center accounts that are flourishing during this time. According to CNN, more healthcare workers are demanding telemedicine services for patients. This is a perfect for the BPO industry to improve their healthcare assistance.
The ecommerce industry is also a booming business during the pandemic. Modern day entrepreneurs are more aggressive now that people are just staying at home. They are active in converting people as their buyers. Thus, they need the support from the BPO companies.
Generally speaking, every industry is heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the BPO sector remains steadfast despite the challenges. The call center businesses will remain a storing foundation for the economy.
The BPO sector will continue to operate no matter what the situation is. There is always a viable solution for every problem we are facing. Pandemic or not, the call center sector will always be a strong foundation for the economy.
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