Why is Filipino Culture Perfect for Customer Service Jobs?

Published by Fair Trade Outsourcing on

Overseas companies that outsource to the Philippines know the reasons why Filipinos are ideal for Customer support teams in the BPO industry. But, for businesses that still haven’t decided where to outsource, these reasons may not be well-known or understood clearly. To help you decide, check out these traits and values of Filipinos that made their country one of the top outsourcing destinations in the world.

#1 Filipinos show much respect towards their elders and those with high-ranking positions in the organization.

Filipinos follow an established hierarchy in their society based on one’s age and position in a group. In the workplace, they address their male and female superiors as “sir” and “ma’am” respectively. They’re calm and polite when dealing with clients or customers. They will rarely raise their voices and often defer to their customers’ wishes. They don’t want to be disrespectful towards them because the customers have as much authority and importance in the company as their superiors, or even greater.

#2 Filipinos really care about their customers and coworkers.

Filipinos have a warm and caring attitude for their family members, which they extend to their coworkers and customers. A major reason is that Philippine society is mostly collectivist in orientation. Each member of the family has a role they must fulfill. And, they’re expected to contribute to the group.

In general, they view their co-workers and customers as part of their extended family. At the same time, each of your Filipino customer service agents is expected to maintain smooth interpersonal relations with you and your onshore team as well as the customers they talk to and interact with every day.

#3 Filipinos have good intercultural communication skills when dealing with foreigners.

Most Filipinos speak and understand English. It’s the primary language used in classrooms besides the vernacular. This basic ability to communicate in English plus their natural friendliness have made Filipinos famous for being warm and hospitable. Add years of good education, and you’ll find many Filipinos who can easily converse with foreigners in English and possess an open mind and a natural curiosity towards other cultures. All these contribute to Filipinos developing a high level of intercultural sensitivity when communicating and interacting with foreigners.

#4 Many Filipinos grew up speaking in a roundabout way and listening to contextual clues in other people’s speech.

Filipinos don’t speak in a straightforward manner; in fact, it’s considered rude to speak so bluntly. And so, they learned to have meaningful exchanges. They listen to what is not being said in the context of what has already been talked about.

This doesn’t mean, however, that Filipinos will be vague and cryptic when speaking with customers. They’ll follow the script and even go off-script until they can end the conversation calmly.

Because they grew up listening to Billboard-topping music and watching Hollywood movies and TV shows, Filipinos are more than familiar with American culture and can discern what your customers are talking about when conversing with them over the phone or through email and chat.

#5 Filipinos are willing to go above and beyond the work, they’re doing to satisfy the customer.

Many articles written about Filipinos working as customer service agents praise their willingness to work overtime to finish a task or change their schedule to accommodate others.

At first glance, this may be attributed to pakikisama or the value that Filipinos place on maintaining good interpersonal relations with their coworkers. But, to sacrifice one’s personal time in exchange for paid time at work is an easy decision to make.

It’s not just the extra pay that appeals to Filipino customer service reps. The satisfaction of helping somebody and achieving a goal also drives them to go the extra mile at work.

Some of these cultural traits and values may paint Filipinos as submissive and docile, but that’s far from the truth. Filipinos have a strong sense of dignity and integrity. They take pride in their work. They finish the job and do it well. But, they are not easily bowed by the emotional labor they provide.

The resiliency we often see in Filipinos during calamities is the same resiliency that motivates them to stay with a company. As long as they still have passion and purpose for their work, they’ll stay with an employer for many years.