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The ‘essential service’ of customer service

When the community quarantine was enforced in March 2020, many asked why BPO and customer experience (CX) companies were still operating. What do they do that was considered a necessity even during a pandemic situation? How did these companies adjust to adapt new ways of working?

Sure, many Filipinos are employed by the industry, but the work is blanketed by a lot of misconceptions, and its contribution is not easily understood as an “essential service.”

BEHIND THE SCENES. Each time a person contacts their Internet or phone service provider, makes online purchases, books a hotel or other services that require troubleshooting and other digital backend support, a customer experience employee is there to assist. 
In the Philippines, BPO, CX, and digital solutions companies provide services for both local and offshore customers. As a customer experience and digital solutions company ourselves, our expertise allows us to provide seamless and convenient support whether via phone, email, social media, or web chat that are crucial touchpoints for businesses as most transactions and customers moved online during the pandemic.

In simpler terms, our main services became vital because we ensure that our customers’ needs and problems are addressed through their chosen channels of communication, whether via phone, text, email, or chat. We are here to give our customers systematic and empathic solutions whenever the need arises. That’s the malasakit in the Filipino’s brand of service.

As face-to-face interaction was minimized at all costs, even companies within the BPO, CX, and digital solutions sector like Telus International Philippines adhered to the strict measures brought by the pandemic, and despite the setbacks, we quickly adjusted to a new working model that kept our team members safe, employed, and able to continue helping customers around the world.

People and companies benefit from services by digital customer experience companies. Consider each time one must contact their Internet or phone service provider, conduct mobile and online banking, make online retail purchases, check their medical and personal insurances, book airline and hotel arrangements, and other services they are subscribed to that require troubleshooting, customer support, and other digital backend support or development—we ensure these services and solutions remain seamless despite the challenges brought by the pandemic.

By adapting to the changing circumstances to continue operating and exploring human-centric innovations to drive efficiency and value, collectively, the BPO and digital customer experience industry was able to ensure job security for millions of Filipinos. The flexibility we displayed enabled us to stay productive while most businesses had to pivot to stay afloat during these difficult times. 

In a way, BPO and digital solutions professionals became an essential part in the wheels that keep turning for the country’s economy during the pandemic. Guided by the recommendations of the government, we ensure the safety and security of our team members throughout this time, whether they are working from home or back onsite.

We believe that by focusing on our team members’ needs and interests, we are able to conduct our business successfully, and we can “give where we live,” enhancing the lives of our team members and their communities, no matter what the situation is.

In the middle of a crisis like this, we saw our team members extend this caring culture to help those in need, like creating learning modules for students and out-of-school youths and setting up donation drives for healthcare workers and recent typhoon victims. They are also still able to support and champion issues they strongly believe in like gender inclusiveness and mental health awareness.

Finally, in a time of great uncertainty, the positive economic impact to our team members and other workers maintaining their jobs during this crisis all the more stresses the value of the various customer experience companies that operate in the country.

Beyond all this, we take pride in the results of the efforts of BPO, CX, and digital solutions professionals as they strive to deliver their best work to ensure services that are needed by many are delivered when people need it the most.

The author is the country vice president for Telus International Philippines.

Topics: BPO , customer experience , CX , digital solutions
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