Where to Go for the Best Offshore Virtual Assistant Workers

As of June 2017, over 51% of the world’s population has internet access[1] which means you can find outsourcers in just about every industrialized country in the world as well as many 3rd-world countries. Does that mean you can go anywhere and get an outsourcer to do your menial business processes?  The answer is probably yes. The question though is where to get the best offshore workers. Just because you can hire someone from any country doesn’t mean you should.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

Business process outsourcing, a catch-all phrase, under which virtual assistants are one of the faster-growing sectors.

Nobody ever predicted it, but the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry literally brought a breakthrough to companies across all types of businesses and countries worldwide[2].  It is almost as if it resuscitated many businesses because of its cost-effectiveness and flexibility.  Small to medium businesses and even large-scale enterprises are now able to focus more on improving services and increasing profit.

However, there are risks to this as a business strategy.  Outsourcing offshore employees mean that there will be an absence of physical and personal contact simply because of how the entire employment situation is set up.  Trusting your business processes to people you haven’t met personally can be a big risk upfront.  So, regarding choosing the workforce, is it all about gut feel and instincts?  Definitely, a big NO!

There are several countries that stand out when it comes to outsourcing. The two countries that most people have heard of regarding outsourcing are India and The Philippines.

India for Virtual Assistants?

While India is well known for its software and computer programming industry, the main complaint is that their English, and in particular the Indian accent, makes it very hard to understand them sometimes. On top of this, we have heard complaints where their work ethic is not where Americans expect it to be which is why Filipinos make good customer service agents, not only because of their ability to speak fluent English but also because of their helpful and friendly nature.

The Philippines for Virtual Assistants?

The Philippines however, is one of the faster-growing countries, vying with Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore.[3] The Philippines also has strong ties to the English language and western culture while keeping a firm hold on their basic core values. It’s also one of the world’s second-largest English-speaking countries on the globe, that fact can’t be ignored.

Both these countries provide a wide scale of services from customer and technical support, software and website development, e-commerce support, to data processing and marketing to name a few.  So why choose The Philippines over India?

The Philippines the Country of Choice for Virtual Assistants

A number of studies show that people in The Philippines, or Filipinos as they proudly call themselves, came out on the top, this is evidenced by the fact that there are Filipinos working in just about every country on the globe[4] and this is not an accident.  All countries that provide outsourced services can be technically savvy and outrageously skillful, but Filipinos have the edge when it comes to all the things that matter for a company.

So, why then would a business choose Filipinos over other offshore workers?  In no particular order, here are the top nine reasons:

Highly Adaptive

Toss a Filipino into a new environment and they will adapt.  Bring a new challenge and they will adapt.  Need to learn a new language, they will adapt.  Filipinos can adapt to just about anything you throw their way.  They are brought up with endurance and flexibility, maybe because they came from humble beginnings.  The Philippines is a third world country, and a lot of the population are below or just above poverty[5].  When you have nothing, and neither did your parents growing up, you learn to adapt and make do.

While the percentage of the population in poverty is decreasing, their endurance and resilience have made them the people they are now, able to sustain their family’s needs and wants and take on whatever is thrown at them.

Intelligent

Filipino parents believe in giving their children the best education they can as their only inheritance.  They value education more than anything.  Because of this, seldom will one encounter a Filipino who doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree, sometimes even two. Filipinos, in general, have a high literacy rate with the Department of Education providing BPO programs[6] and training for Filipinos at high school and college level. This uniquely equips them to fit into the worldwide workforce.

Hardworking

Throughout the world and in many different industries Filipinos have a reputation for being hard workers.  Their superb work ethic means they are preferred over other nationalities.   Because they are focused on improving themselves and completing their tasks, even if it means long hours and working on holidays, they are highly prized as an addition to any workforce.

Resourceful

Filipinos by nature don’t take NO for an answer.  Putting themselves in their customer’s and client’s shoes, they go the extra mile in problem-solving and customer servicing.  They will go above and beyond to make sure all their work is completed to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Respectful

Filipinos have a deep sense of respect for life and humanity as a whole.  This same respect is carried to the workplace- their colleagues, customers, and managers.  You will know by the tone of their voice, there is a sensitivity to the needs of others that is rooted deep in their culture and spirituality.

Ingenuity

Filipinos are inventive, always finding ways to make things better, even with what may seem to be already perfect systems.  They have an excellence driven mindset and never settle for mediocre.  They are artistic and love discovering anything that can improve what is already at hand.

Positive Outlook

Filipinos believe in finding opportunities beyond the adversities.  They believe that failure is just but part of the learning process that will almost always help them to come out victorious.  They manage to smile after a rough day at work, still being able to do their passions, and even responsibilities outside of work and are full of hope that the next day can be a better one.

Competitive

Filipinos never settle for anything but the best.  They put all their soul and energy in what they do because healthy competition is openly acceptable.  It gives them the opportunity to think outside the box and extract creative juices that ultimately bring the best results for their clients and company.

English Proficiency

Filipinos, among all other countries providing outsourcing services, have the most neutral accent, close to that of the American accent and this is because The Philippines has a close cultural affinity with the US and was a US colony for almost 40 years[7].  The reason being is that English is the medium of instruction beginning in preschool and carrying through to universities.  Even as kids they are already good English speakers.  Not only in spoken English, Filipinos are also very articulate writers.  They can express themselves well using the English language and feel comfortable using it in their daily conversations.

In Summary

These are only a few of the so many good things a Filipino can bring to the workforce and your company.  Surely, they are not perfect people, but with a little time and training, they can be a gem to a growing or even an established business.  They will do everything in their power to meet, if not exceed their client’s expectations, because, simply, that’s who they are.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Internet_usage

[2] http://www.nbc-2.com/story/38570883/business-process-outsourcing-services-market-size-bpo-global-industry-demand-solutions-services-review-emerging-factors-trend-segmentation-and

[3] https://www.computerweekly.com/feature/Top-five-outsourcing-destinations-to-watch

[4] http://lolako.com/how-many-and-where-do-filipinos-live-and-work-overseas/

[5] https://businessmirror.com.ph/revisiting-our-poverty-statistics/

[6] http://www.flatplanet.com.au/impact/434-philippine-k-12-education-system-set-to-boost-it-bpo-industry

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Philippines#American_rule_(1898%E2%80%931946)