My Recent Trip to Manila: A Closer Look at the BPO Industry and Outposter

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Manila to get an inside look at the operations of Outposter, a Brisbane-based BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) company.

View of Makati city during night time showing that the city never sleeps

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Manila to get an inside look at the operations of Outposter, a Brisbane-based BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) company. Outposter, with its workforce professionals in the Philippines, is a prime example of how BPOs are driving growth for companies worldwide.

chris titley

Excited before the trip at Bris Airport

airport gate

Boarding from Brisbane...

Understanding BPOs

Before delving into my experience, it's essential to understand the different types of BPOs and why they are pivotal for businesses today. BPOs can broadly be classified into front-office and back-office outsourcing. Front-office outsourcing involves customer-facing services like customer support, sales, and technical support. Back-office outsourcing includes internal business functions such as human resources, finance, and accounting, as well as IT services like software development and data management.

Why Manila and the Philippines?

Manila, the bustling capital of the Philippines, has emerged as a top destination for BPO services. But why is this the case? During my visit, I discovered several key factors contributing to this trend.

Highly Skilled Workforce

The Philippines boasts a highly skilled and educated workforce. The talent pool here is diverse, encompassing professionals in customer support, software engineering, e-commerce and marketing. English proficiency is another significant advantage, with the country ranking amongst the highest in Asia for English language skills. This linguistic capability ensures seamless communication with global clients.

Strategic Time Zone

For Australian companies like Outposter, the Philippines offers a strategic advantage with its time zone. With only a two-hour time difference, Filipino employees can work flexible hours that align well with Australian business hours. This overlap facilitates real-time collaboration and enhances productivity.

Enterprise-Grade Facilities

The buildings and facilities in Manila are enterprise-grade, often surpassing those in Brisbane in terms of security and infrastructure. The office spaces are equipped with high-speed internet and state-of-the-art amenities, ensuring that businesses can operate smoothly and efficiently.

chris titley welcome

The Zig Zag building - super impressed with the facilities

Financial Advantages

From a financial perspective, Manila offers significant cost advantages. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar (AUD) and the Philippine Peso (PHP) makes operating costs relatively inexpensive. This cost efficiency allows companies to invest more in their operations and workforce without compromising on quality.

The Rise of Remote Work

Another trend that stood out during my visit is the rise of remote work. Sitting down with Antonio Rodrigues, a veteran of the BPO industry and head of Human Resources at Outposter over a coffee it became very clear to me that the remote work trend is not only prevalent, but it’s here to stay , particularly in the Philippines. 

“People just love the flexibility of working from home - particularly those outside of Manila” Rodrigues said. 

Rodrigues also went on to say that those in provincial areas , a job with a BPO provides certainty, and that the security of a wage allows them to do more things compared to those living in Manila. 

BPO companies like Outposter have seamlessly transitioned to remote work models, offering employees flexible hours and the convenience of working from home. This flexibility has not only enhanced employee satisfaction but also ensured business continuity during challenging times. It has also allowed employees to reduce the amount of time it takes to travel within the larger cities (sometimes upwards of 2 hours each way).

Whilst WFH has it's positives, Outposter regularly has social catchups with their team in Manila - allowing for all staff to come together, share stories and network face to face. I was fortunate to attend one of these events.

outposter staff

Antonio, Bel and Cess from the Outposter team

Financial and Stability Benefits

Outsourcing to the Philippines offers significant cost advantages. Labor costs are comparatively lower than in Australia, allowing companies to achieve substantial savings without compromising on quality. Moreover, the stability provided by steady employment opportunities in BPO companies contributes to the economic well-being of Filipino employees. This financial stability, in turn, supports the broader economy, creating a positive cycle of growth and development.

Enhancing Customer Service for Major Australian Companies

One of the most significant benefits of BPOs is the enhancement of customer service and support. Major Australian companies have increasingly turned to BPOs in the Philippines to elevate the level of service they provide to their customers. These companies leverage the expertise of Filipino professionals to handle customer inquiries, provide technical support, and manage service-related issues efficiently and effectively.

By outsourcing these functions, Australian companies can focus on their core business activities while ensuring that their customers receive high-quality service. This approach not only improves customer satisfaction but also helps companies build stronger relationships with their clients, fostering loyalty and trust.

The Vibrant City of Manila

Manila is not just a hub for business; it's also a vibrant city teeming with life and culture. During my stay, I was captivated by the city's energy. Manila offers a plethora of experiences, from its great food to its bustling nightlife.

24 hour diner

Filling station - one of the highlights!

Culinary Delights and Nightlife

The food scene in Manila is exceptional, offering a wide range of cuisines from traditional Filipino dishes to international fare. The city is dotted with fantastic restaurants and street food vendors, ensuring that every meal is a culinary adventure. For those looking to unwind after a long day, Manila boasts an array of great bars, many featuring live music and a lively atmosphere. Pool tables are a common sight in these establishments, providing a perfect way to relax and socialise.

breakfast

Breakfast with my favourite new food - garlic rice

lunch

Prawns and curry .....

Timing the Traffic

One important aspect to keep in mind is the traffic. Manila's traffic can be quite challenging, and it's crucial to plan your travel accordingly. Allow extra time for commutes, especially during peak hours, to ensure you make it to your destinations on time.

The rise and rise of AI...

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), the BPO industry is poised to thrive even further. AI brings speed and efficiency to various processes, enabling BPO companies to deliver services faster and more accurately. The combination of AI and human expertise creates a powerful hybrid model where routine tasks are handled by AI, and complex issues are managed by skilled human professionals. This synergy enhances productivity, reduces costs, and elevates the overall quality of service provided.

Conclusion

My trip to Manila was an eye-opening experience that underscored the vital role BPOs play in today's global economy. Outposter’s operations exemplify how leveraging the Philippines' skilled workforce, strategic time zone, and favorable business environment can drive growth and success for companies worldwide. As remote work continues to rise, and flexible working hours become the norm, the future of BPOs in the Philippines looks brighter than ever. With the integration of AI, this industry is set to achieve new heights in speed, efficiency, and service quality.

bus driver chris

Lucky to get behind the wheel... don't fancy driving though :)

For more information about Outposter visit the following:

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Outposter for the trip and have previously done work with them. The trip was instigated by my curiosity to visit Manila and to see first hand how companies such as Outposter and other BPO's are helping Australian technology companies.