BPO service provider ibex recently opened its newest site in Alabang at the CTP Asean Tower with the ibex leadership team and government officials in attendance. The site will house 1,000 seats and is expected to reach 850 employees by the end of this month.
In an interview, ibex Global CEO Bob Dechant shared how he views the Filipino workforce and culture that inspired them to push through expansion efforts, with their plans remaining unchanged. This despite the recent signing of an Administrative Order by President Duterte to lessen the application approval of BPOs by a moratorium that favors provincial eco-zones rather than Metro Manila.
Dechant said other countries view BPO industry-related careers as gap jobs or temporary posts. By contrast, the Filipinos they hire aim to build long-lasting careers and grow with the company. That is why most of their management jobs are handled by local employees that have a proven and lengthy track-record, noting that he sees the bench strength in the Philippines as “off the charts.”
“We are the fastest growing BPO in the industry. We’ve been growing at roughly 20% per year, in a market that’s been basically flat to negative growth. We have about 2,500 people here in the Philippines. With the opening of Alabang, which is by the way the first of three sites that we have opened in the last 120 days, we will break through over 10,000 agents here in the Philippines,” Dechant said.
Dechant went on to say that for every 100 job opportunities that they create, 15 of those will be management jobs. And since their company’s growth is reflected in job creation, especially with management job, he added that they would be able to attract the best and brightest people who see their growth as a means to accelerate that individual’s career.
For his part, SVP and country head for ibex Philippines Potski Alvarez believes that Filipinos are well-equipped to lead in the thriving BPO industry despite a global slowdown for business processing and IT services. He added, “We actually translate empathy and passion for service into malasakit. It doesn’t have a direct English translation, but that’s the Filipino secret sauce.”
With more clients looking for contracts that go beyond traditional Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to more customer experience-centric output, ibex Global chief operating officer David Afdahl said the base soft skillset and the ability to learn of Filipinos are what sets the country apart from their other markets.
Alvarez noted, “Once we train or teach them something they do a really good job in replicating that consistently and at a high level of quality.”
He likewise explained further: “A lot of our clients are looking for more than just hitting service levels and answering the calls in a certain period of time. They are looking for our help to transform their business and really alter their ecosystem so their end-users really benefit from us. Five years ago, you would see a lot of companies contract for typical metrics from a contract perspective, now you’re seeing that shift more to customer experience and customer-centric metrics and there’s a lot more flexibility in what they’re trying to sign us up for.”
Indeed, ibex now has 30 sites and 10,000 employees in the Philippines alone. Together with the next two sites being opened in the Philippines soon, an additional 2,700 seats will be added to their local workforce.