eTelecare International Wins Two Best of Show Awards at ICCM 2002Janette Toral
eTelecare International claimed the top prizes in two categories at the 14th Annual International Call Center Management Conference & Exposition, the largest call center show in the world. The company took Best in Show Awards for Best Offshore Solutions Provider and, for the second year in a row, Best Outsourcer, which goes to the best overall call center as chosen from US and international entries. Show sponsors Advanstar Communications and Customer Interface Magazine presented the awards on the final day of the conference, at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center.
More than twenty entrants competed in each category. eTelecare was selected by an independent panel of call center experts that judged applicants on the basis of a formal description of each company’s unique qualities, quality results, interviews and booth presentations.
“Winning Best Offshore Solutions Provider in a year where we were part of the Philippine booth at the new Offshore Pavilion is tremendously exciting. It highlights the fact that the Philippines is a great place for business,” said Derek Holley, co-president of eTelecare. “Repeating our victory as best overall outsourcer reaffirms eTelecare’s place not only as the leading offshore provider, but as the highest quality call center in the world.” These are the fifth and sixth recent major awards for eTelecare, which had most recently won the 2002 CRM Excellence Award from Technology Marketing Corporation, publishers of Customer Inter@ction Solutions.
eTelecare’s award-winning approach combines the management experience of former McKinsey consultants in the United State with the affordable, highly-educated and English-speaking workforce of the Philippines. eTelecare hires 100% college graduates, provides four weeks of in-depth skills training, maintains one supervisor for every 8 associates and uses the latest eCRM technology. The result, according to eTelecare’s clients, is substantially higher quality than US outsourcers and savings of up to 50% compared to in-house contact centers. In addition, eTelecare surveys more than 20,000 callers each month and more than 97% describe themselves as “satisfied” or “very satisfied”, with more than 60% “very satisfied”.
The International Call Center Management Conference & Exposition is produced annually by Advanstar Communications.
Founded in 1999, eTelecare International provides customer contact center operations for leading financial, computer and telecommunications firms. It started its operations in the Philippines in September 2002 with its first call center located at Eastwood City. After a period of only 18 months, eTelecare inaugurated its second call center at the 14th floor of the PBCom Tower, Makati City yesterday, continuing it’s aggressive expansion program in the Philippines.
Challenges in the Call Center Sector
International call center outsourcing in the Philippines has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two years. Over two years ago, there were only 4 international outsourcers that were established in the country. Today, around 40 merchant call centers have been registered as businesses locally. With this trend of growth, the Philippines is indeed poised to become a major player in the global call center outsourcing field. “The abundance of highly educated, English-speaking professionals are our key resource in this arena,” quipped Benedict Hernandez, General Manager of eTelecare International, Inc. (whose photo is shown in this article) “A robust communication infrastructure and lower telecommunication costs also make the Philippines a great location for international outsourcing,” he added. “The US is our primary market and is the world”s biggest market that employs over 2,000,000 people. More than our people”s excellent English communication skills, our cultural understanding of America gives us an advantage when trying to establish rapport with US customers.”
“Much work needs to be done in order to continue to successfully grow and strengthen this industry,” Mr. Hernandez cautioned, however. “English proficiency is still the most frequent reason for screening out job applicants in this industry which hires anywhere from the top 2% to 10% of job applicants,” he explained. “Government and the private sector first need to agree if we will all push for English proficiency to move forward. Such a decision needs to be followed-through by concrete intervention including a review of which courses at schools are to be conducted in English and Filipino. The trend in the last 10-15 years has been that less and less courses are being taught in English, that news programs are now mostly in Filipino, that even American films shown on TV are being dubbed in Tagalog. In fact, it is really almost “not fashionable” to be communicating in English except in limited occasions like when students make presentations in school or people have meetings at the office. It is interesting to note that as this language advantage continues to slip away from our people, other countries, like China, are investing in training their people to learn English.”
“The future is very promising for this sector,” Mr. Hernandez mentions. “But as with most worthwhile endeavors, growing this sector will continue to require a lot of hard work as well as working together.”