In the Service of the Filipino, by the Filipino

The Philippines is probably the only country that has a reputation of genuine servitude. This country after all, is known for the millions of overseas workers earning their living abroad helping others. From blue collared occupations to white collared jobs, name the job - domestic helpers to construction workers, nurses and physical therapists, bellboys, waiters, entertainers etc… Filipinos are recognized as hardworking servicemen with the aim to please. Service with a smile so to speak.
This is the brand of customer service that the Filipino people are famous for.

Customer service is indeed inherent to our race. Proof of this is the unstoppable boom of THE Call Centers. Barely ten years old, the call center industry is perhaps the most obvious sign that our fellowmen stand out in giving impeccable customer service. Employing over 160,000 people (according to 2006 statistics), the call center industry was tagged as the “Sunshine Industry” of the Philippines. Over the last 20 years, this industry has seen an expansion that is unparalleled in terms of employment and growth.

What is the secret of this growth?

Some say it is because of the language. Since the Filipinos are accustomed to speak and understanding the English language, this kind of industry is bound to succeed. Some say it is because of the cheap labor that our country has to offer. After all, foreign investors are always drawn to lower cost.

Although these assumptions are correct on a business perspective, one obvious reason is often overlooked, if not, it is out rightly neglected and not given its proper praise. I believe that the call center industry reached its heights because of the Filipino Culture.

The Filipinos are always happy to serve. Hardworking, patient, and ever hospitable, these are the main ingredients of making customers feel truly special. They take pride in owning tasks that are given to them. This sense of ownership is very evident in the local Filipino household. Take, for example, the lowly “yaya”. Where else will you find a person who will treat another person’s baby as if it was her own? For me, this is the quintessential picture of customer service. This kind of sacrifice in exchange for excellent customer service is something that language cannot explain nor a high paying salary can compensate.

The Philippines, its people, and its economy has a lot to be thankful for with regard to customer service. They should be thankful for the trust that foreign multinational companies are investing in the expansion of the call center industry. More importantly, the Philippines and its people should be thankful for the innate culture of service that is embedded deep in their character. This is borne out of serving three different colonizers for over four hundred years. That kind of customer service training is indeed something to be truly proud about.