Of the three main far-shore outsourcing options, Ireland-India-Philippines, I get asked most about services in the Philippines since they offer the best combination of low rates and intelligible English.
I’ve heard both good things and bad things about outsourcing to the Philippines. My personal experience, so far, has been good. But then, the projects I outsourced were very simple and required a minimum of agent/prospect interaction.
My recommendation for business-to-business telemarketing is to stick with very simple scripts and objectives. In general, this is good advice, but even more so when outsourcing to low-cost call centers (domestic or international).
From both mine and experiences by others in the industry, a lot of hand-holding is required. Do not expect the agency to take initiative or make error corrections.
Be very, very, very clear in your instructions. And even then, keep close watch over processes and outcomes- ensuring you are getting what you expected.
Despite their mild accent and easy adoption of American pronunciations, there is still a language barrier. Any work requiring free-flowing conversation, in-depth explanation of services or products, or “off the script” dialog is best reserved for native English speaking agents.
Another item to be aware of is their cultural approach to the importance of work versus quality time for themselves and family. Expect downtime during holidays, birthdays, family events, personal needs, sick days, and etceteras.
So, yes, you can save money by outsourcing to the Philippines. For some, the cost savings can mean the difference between doing telemarketing or not doing it at all. Just keep the trade-offs in mind and compensate accordingly.
[UPDATE] Since I wrote this post, I’ve worked with more Philippines call centers and found that with active participation by a U.S.-based manager, fairly advanced B2B campaigns are possible.