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BPO Firm Optimistic in 2008 amid US Economic Slowdown

Posted April 08, 2008

MAKATI CITY, Philippines -- Outsourced customer support service firm Sitel remained optimistic that business will still pour in from the United States amid the economic slowdown, an executive told reporters.

"The slowdown is an opportunity for us to tap the off-shoring business," said Sitel Philippines Corp. president Dan Reyes, in the sidelines of the International ICT Awards Philippines 2008, where Sitel Philippines Corp. was named "BPO Company of the Year."

Operating 23 sites in the US and six offshore sites in the country, Reyes said the Philippines remained a destination for offshore outsourcing services for US companies because it offers an "economic advantage" over other markets.

"Companies in the US realized that the Philippines can provide quality service and not just cost arbitrage," he said.

Sitel was formerly known as ClientLogic in the Philippines. In 2007, ClientLogic acquired Sitel Corp. and merged operations. The ClientLogic name was eventually dropped in favor of Sitel.

About 80 percent of Sitel's business is still in-bound, meaning it provides customer support services to different US-based clients. The rest are outbound or telemarketing.

"The Philippines is still geared for growth in the next two to three years because there is no alternative at the moment," Reyes said. But companies like Sitel are also entering so-called "higher value" services that go beyond providing customer support services.

Companies like Sitel are already looking at providing offshore application development, technical support and premium support services, the executive said.

Sitel reportedly grew by 70 percent in 2007 in terms of number of seats and employees. The company now employs about 8,000 Filipinos, and is expecting to expand to other "next-wave" cities in the country identified by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Commission on Information and Communications Technology.

Sitel has four operations in Metro Manila and two in Baguio City.

Source: INQUIRER.net, March 14, 2008
By Erwin Oliva

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