How Pinoys helped Convergys become a global leader

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia,

Posted at Aug 08 2013 08:37 PM | Updated as of Aug 11 2013 04:36 PM

Convergys Senior Director - Business Development and Operations Deployment Rain Tan, Managing Director for AP and EMEA Marife Zamora, President and CEO Andrea Ayers and Country Manager Ivic Mueco talk to members of the media in a briefing in Makati City on Thursday.

MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino call center worker in Cebu managed to impress Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer so much that he sent a commendation letter to the company.

The call center agent is just one of nearly 36,000 Filipinos, who make up 44% of Convergys' global workforce.

Convergys president and CEO Andrea Ayers has nothing but praise for its Filipino employees, who have helped the BPO company flourish since it set up shop in Manila ten years ago.

"We have grown in double digits (in employee headcount), each of those years, year-on-year, a testament to the good work and strong talent here.We now have 35,900 employees in the Philippines and still growing," she said in a press briefing in Makati City on Thursday.

Convergys, the number one provider in US customer management services BPO market, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its operations in the Philippines, where it currently has 21 sites.

Ayers is proud that Convergys is the Philippines' largest private employer, and has received the BPO Employer of the Year award three times. The Philippines is also where Convergys has the largest operations or 44% of its 80,000 global workforce.

Ayers attributed Convergys' successful operations in the Philippines to the deep talent pool.

"The most important thing for us is access to talent, people. Not only agents but the leaders that surround our agents and make decisions... We (also) look for infrastructure, technology, a focus on education is important for us," she said. "We want to be in places where we can sustain a business for years and years. I want another decade here and another decade after that."

Convergys managing director Marife B. Zamora agreed, noting that the Philippines is still a top-notch destination for customer management services to Convergys clients from North America, UK and Australia.

"The biggest advantage continues to be availability and high quality of potential employee pool found in the Philippines," she said. "Another cornerstone of our success is the support of the government because they know this is the second largest revenue generating industry here."

Ayers sees more growth in the industry, but noted there will be a shift to more complex, knowledge-based transactions.

"(Call centers) won't be obsolete.It will just evolve... You need more agents. We see the 10-year trend for growth in our industry, and it shows growth in agent headcount positions," she said

First facility in Mindanao

Convergys is set to open its 22nd facility in Abreeza Technohub, Davao City in September, the company's first in Mindanao.

Ivic Mueco, country manager for Convergys Philippines, noted there were 750 applicants who lined up on the first day of recruitment in Davao.

"We're in the process of hiring our first 400. We are very proud to be in that region, to a certain extent that's a region that needs help," Mueco said.

As for future facilities in other cities in Mindanao, Mueco said the company will still have to assess the performance of the Davao facility before making a decision.

While most of Convergys' contact center facilities are in Luzon, it also has facilities in Cebu and Bacolod.

"We will end with 22 centers this 2013, second to the US which has 30+. We support almost all of the industries under Convergys' array: financial services, technology, cable, satellite, telecommunications, automotive, retail and healthcare," Mueco said.