Skills such as intuition & innovation, design thinking, pattern recognition, leadership, and problem solving are likely to become highly critical to GICs for service delivery in the future
- Most GICs believe that they will face severe shortages in availability of talent for these critical skills
The reason for the widening skills-gap include:
- Limited supply of ready-to-hire talent for these skills
- Increased competition among firms to hire the right talent
- Low propensity to train and lack of effective ways of learning & development / training solutions for required skills
For the last several years, the Philippines’ value proposition as the leading contact center delivery location has been availability of a large workforce with good language skills and high empathy, at very competitive costs. But to remain the top contact center destination, it will need to evolve its value proposition from customer service delivery to CX delivery.
This is because CX has emerged as a top priority for firms to build a loyal customer base in today’s digital age in which end-consumers are seeking a seamless, quality, personalized experience across channels. To support clients in this quest to deliver a superior customer experience, the contact center industry is transforming from an arbitrage-first to experience-first model. Everest Group research shows that the key to delivering the CX of the future is optimizing a blend of talent and technology.
The primary technology enablers
- Fortify analytics solutions – Contact centers are blessed with access to a wealth of high-quality data. Customer analytics can help them provide personalized services and real-time support for query resolutions. Operational analytics will allow them to monitor processes, predict future demand, and optimize service elements to achieve the best outcomes.
- Embrace automation solutions – The first step is using self-service offerings to manage simple queries, followed by leveraging rule-based chatbots and smart IVRs to manage high-volume transactional tasks for maximum automation impact on contact center operations.
- Focus on delivering omni-channel experience – Delivering a consistent, seamless customer experience requires an integrated view of the customer across all channels. With a more case-driven approach, each interaction that the customer has with the organization feels like part of an ongoing conversation and relationship.
The key talent enablers
While technology advancement will help prepare the groundwork for CX delivery, talent enablers are equally important to ensure a smooth transition:
- Build the right talent strategy – As contact centers adopt technology on a wider scale, the role their agents play will evolve to focus more on domain and technology expertise. Thus, recruitment and training programs must align to identifying new talent with the right skills, and strengthening existing agent capabilities and knowledge.
- Rationalize KPIs/metrics – To measure agent performance, contact centers will have to establish metrics and KPIs that focus on digital enablement, business outcomes, and impact on the customer experience.
If you’re currently associated with a contact center in the Philippines, or are considering outsourcing contact center operations to the Philippines, we invite you to join us at the Contact Center Association of the Philippines’ annual conference at Shangri-la’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Boracay Island, Philippines on October 11 and 12. The Contact Islands conference, at which my colleagues Karthik H and Katrina Menzigian will be featured speakers, will focus on the evolving nature of CX, and how the Philippines is matching the pace of the global industry-wide disruption.
New locations (think Jamaica, Romania, Malaysia, and Singapore) are gaining traction as Global In-house Centers (GICs) and service providers seek to match talent to specific need, as well as to diversify their location portfolios
While APAC remains the dominant delivery location, global services headcount is growing in other locations as GICs and service providers recognize the value of location-specific talent and seeks to diversify their portfolios
Cost of operations for digital services varies widely across key locations for service delivery
Maturity of digital services varies among established global services locations
Availability of relevant talent for digital and complex services is driving large setups in Singapore, Romania, Ireland, and Mexico
With the uncertain political situation in the Philippines and the comments President Duterte has made about distancing from the United States militarily to align closer to China and Russia, many are concerned about what this means for the relationship between the Philippines and the U.S. And rightfully so – this would be a major shift, and over time could be a cause for concern.
At the same time, the Philippines has been quick to point out that the commercial and social relationships between it and the United States are very strong, and that it wants and expects those to continue.
And therein lies an important point… a rebalancing of military relationships does not automatically lead to poor commercial and social relationships between countries.
In a quick exercise to demonstrate how countries can have a variety of types of relationships with the United States, I did a super simple comparison of several military and social dimensions in the graphic below. In addition to the Philippines, I chose India, Malaysia, and Turkey to represent a cross-section of countries near Russia and China that have some level of meaningful connection to the United States. Turkey is a member of NATO, India is a major trading partner for services and goods, and Malaysia is an interesting mix of relations with China and the U.S. (not to mention the Malay flag looks very similar to the United States flag).
I looked at language, religion, sports, and use of NATO-sourced fighter craft (both trainers and actively deployed.) Those without NATO-sourced fighter craft tend to attain theirs from Russia or China. Most countries not in NATO and near Russia have some mix of fighter aircraft.
Based on this very simple comparison, many in the global services industry might be surprised to see that India appears to be the least well-aligned to the U.S. on most dimensions. In particular, India depends primarily upon Russia for various types of military equipment, beyond just aircraft, and India is an important export market for Russia.
By contrast, the Philippines is very closely aligned to the U.S. on all dimensions, which explains why the average Filipino has a hard time with the concept of weakened commercial and social ties to the U.S.
Time will tell what actually happens. But we should all remember that military, commercial, and social ties can operate somewhat independently. Relationships between most countries are complex and multi-faceted, so a change in one area may be slow to impact the overall relationship.