A start-up American call center operator has committed to invest $30 million and generate 5,000 home-based customer support positions throughout the Philippines within three years.
“Our goal is to get to several hundred seats very quickly,” Brian Silverman, chief executive of Callworkz, said in a news briefing at the Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City yesterday.
Silverman, a former executive of hosted call center solutions provider Five9, said Callworkz aimed to increase its business to 5,000 seats in three years, translating into around $120 million in annual revenues.
Callworkz provides services for the outsourcing needs of international companies through a home-based model that allows call center agents to work from their homes. The company expects the model to be the key to eliminating high employee turnover in the competitive call center industry.
Junie Pama, the Filipino chief operating officer of Callworkz, said the company was looking for experienced call center agents, who are willing to be retrained for home-based work, and who have a computer, a headset and Internet connectivity at home.
He said Callworkz would shoulder the cost of Internet connectivity, which will link the home-based computer of the agent to the United States-based infrastructure of Callworkz.
Silverman said Callworkz planned to alter the traditional employer-employee relationship in the Philippines, by giving their call center agents an opportunity to be both employees and owners at the same time.
“Qualified agents at Callworkz can expect attractive compensation/incentive packages, including highly competitive salaries, bi-annual performance bonuses, and aggressive stock option ownership program for all employees sharing in the profitability of the company,” he said.
“Our uniqueness and our combination of compensation-based programs, equity ownership and social responsibility will guarantee the attraction and retention of only the best agents,” Silverman said. “This in turn will promote satisfaction of our clients ensuring their loyalty and growth further adding to the profitability of Callworkz.”
Silverman said Callworkz would also give employees a rewarding experience in participating in corporate social responsibility.
He said that from a social perspective, the company would donate part of its proceeds to help the next generation of Filipinos, via the effort of the Knowledge Channel Foundation, which is involved in the improvement of educational programs.
“From an individual perspective, all employees at Callworkz will be encouraged to donate part of their time to the same worthy cause. We’re an organization backed by credible executives and investors who have chosen to market the Philippines exclusively,” he added.
Silverman said Callworkz aimed to help the Philippines achieve its goal of generating more than 1 million jobs in the thriving business process outsourcing sector by 2010.
“While we initially will be focusing in Metro Manila, as we expand we will continue our job creation and social responsibility programs throughout the country, capitalizing on newer and innovative technologies,” he said.
The Business Processing Association of the Philippines said the industry grew 40 percent year-on-year to about $4.5 billion to $5 billion in terms of revenues in 2007, employing more than 300,000 individuals, mostly in call centers.
BPAP expects the local BPO industry to grow by another 40 percent to $7 billion, which is within the government’s target of expanding the sector to a $10-billion industry, employing more than 1 million people by 2010.
Source: Manila Standard Today, by Roderick T. dela Cruz (Feb 9, 2008)