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The late nineties through the beginning of the new millennium saw the rise of the call center industry in the Philippines. The country now boasts of being one of the top 3 countries for foreign direct investment through contact center and back office operations.
The BPO industry contributed as much as 10% to the country’s current GDP. It’s a long way away from the early days of the industry when it accounted for only 0.075% for the year 2000.
Through all these years of growth, CCAP (Contact Center Association of the Philippines) has guided and supported the industry. The organization championed the Filipino talents who put the country in the map with their impeccable work ethic and genuine concern for customer relationship.
CCAP is the official industry organization for call centers in the country. Its mission is to harness, harmonize, and galvanize sectors in pursuit of sustaining the country’s top position in the global contact center industry. In addition, the organization aims to drive CRM (Customer Relationship Management) innovations and best practices.
A Brief History
The organization was established in October 2001 with only 7 founding member companies. CCAP is now composed of 90 members. These companies are located all over the Philippines, proving that expansion has reached the provinces as well. In total, CCAP membership represents 70% of the entire call center industry.
CAP at Work
Expansion of Talent Supply – CCAP organizes regular skills training and offers certifications for career development. The organization emphasizes the importance of health and wellness along with values formation as key to employee retention.
While it’s still true that the BPO, especially call centers, is still one of the largest jobs-generating industries, only a few applicants are actually qualified. In a study conducted by Aspiring Minds, an Indian-based employability assessment firm, around 65% of college graduates in the country are not equipped with the proper skills to successfully work in their chosen profession.
To address this, CCAP works with CHED (Commission on Higher Education) and TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) to assess the curriculum and suggest improvements that are needed in the call center industry such as proficiency in English.
As for employees already working in the call center industry, CCAP conducts regular training to further improve and add valuable skills needed in call center offices. It also offers valuable insight that helps employers retain employees and keep them satisfied and motivated.
Government Partnership – As the official representative of the industry, CCAP works with the government to ensure a favorable business environment for employers. In some cases, they offer mediation between their members and government agencies for more efficient communication.
CCAP gives input on legislation, regulations, fiscal, and infrastructure issues that would affect the industry. With government partnership, the group can offer insights to their member companies that would help foreign businesses understand the country’s regulations and laws they have to follow.
Drive Innovation – One of the organization’s missions is to support and promote innovation through technology and development of best practices. Through trade shows and conferences, experts in the industry can share new knowledge and tools that will give the country the competitive advantage.
Change is inevitable. CCAP is always ready to steer the industry forward especially in terms of technology. One example is Verint’s Workforce Optimization Platform with voice analytics that was presented in their annual conference in 2013. The application assists customer service representatives to assess the customer’s issues and formulate solutions for different scenarios. These types of applications are now implemented in call center operations.
Promote Industry Welfare – CCAP considers employees of member companies as valuable members of the organization, too. As such, the organization also seeks to look out for their welfare.
CCAP joins with government and academe to develop best practices that would promote the call center agent’s well being. The organization regularly commissions studies and surveys that would give members concrete data so they can formulate precise solutions for employee issues.
Market the Country – CCAP always seeks new markets that could benefit from what the country has to offer in terms of call center services. It participates in marketing and branding campaigns for the country as a viable BPO destination.
CCAP Events and Activities
One of the most anticipated annual events in the CCAP calendar is its Contact Islands flagship conference. It’s the best time to connect and form new networks with people from different sectors all striving to bring the call center industry back into the forefront of innovation.
CCAP believes in developing young leaders to ensure the future of the call center industry. Their annual eTL course is especially designed to hone and develop the leadership skills of call center supervisors. Unlike typical lecture-type classes, this course offers hands-on or on-the-job training. A Team Leader certificate is handed out after completion.
Data privacy is a prevalent issue in the industry. CCAP’s Data Privacy Asia-Manila conference is an opportunity to hear from cybersecurity experts and discuss solutions applicable to the industry.
CEO Forums is a gathering of company heads from CCAP membership roster. This event is a chance for in-depth discussions about challenges and opportunities faced by the industry.
What’s on the Horizon?
CCAP is optimistic about the country’s contact center industry. The group projects revenues to rise, from $12.8 billion in 2015 to $20.4 billion in 2022. The industry aims to provide 73,000 new jobs each year until 2022.
This is, at least, for the short-term future. In the long term, the industry is preparing to face what some calls an inevitable future – AI. What would the contact center industry look like after technologies such as Chatbots finally caught up with human speech?
CCAP is not waiting to find out. The organization is already moving towards working with educational institutions, the Department of Education, and Commission on Higher Education to update curriculums to reflect what the actual workplace would need in terms of skills and knowledge.
There’s no stopping innovation. Technology evolves so rapidly it can leave people behind. While other voices in the industry are skeptical about the effect that artificial intelligence brings to the call center industry, some are more pragmatic like CCAP.