Outsourcing to the Philippines — things I noticed

I have never outsourced to the Philippines myself, at least not yet. I like certain attributes that the Filipinos have as a culture. I have been made aware of several tendencies that you might want to be aware of.

The Philippines is very integrated with the West as far as business is concerned. It is common for Caucasians to live in Manila, Cebu or other outsourcing destinations in the Philippines. Westerners find the culture comfortable, friendly, and inviting, not to mention the warm climate. It is normal for Westerners to work at multinational Filipino companies in management and sales.

What I learned is that they are great talkers. They are smooth, friendly, and fun to talk to. Even the Westerners that live in the Philippines conform to this norm. The accent is different, but the message is still the same. The minute I tried to get anyone to email me information it was like pulling teeth. I tried to get a German guy managing a small company in Manila to return a quote to me. I asked twice and then gave up. I asked a Filipino manager and call center worker to return a quote to me. I had to ask five times and finally got it. Filipinos and often foreigners who live there are wonderful orally and horrible about writing anything down or returning emails.

There is yet another experience I had. The lady was the nicest person I have ever spoken to in my life. Her photo was a knock-out too. She was the most beautiful female I have ever seen — at least by photo. Later, I noticed broken links on their site, and a failure to return emails.

My last example really cost me. My dentist is also from the Philippines. She is a wonderful person and great at her work. But, her record keeping is in handwriting, and not that organized. Although I see her four times a year for cleaning — We/she forgot to give me x-rays for a few years, and I had to have a root canal.

The bottom line is to appreciate the people from the Philippines, but just don’t expect much from them in terms of written communication. If you get lucky and find someone who is punctual and methodical about emails and keeping records that is great. Just expect that you will have a very difficult time getting them to write or type much.

(1) Filipinos are great on the phone, but how good are they at written communication?
(2) The Philippines is very integrated with the West as far as business is concerned.

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