Call center AI and the Philippine BPO sector

Call center AI and the Philippine BPO sector

/ 07:17 AM June 10, 2024

On January 31, 2023, the Philippine Senate released an online press release regarding Senator Risa Hontiveros. She urged the Department of Trade and Industry to shield the country’s Business Process Outsourcing workers from the rise of call center AI

The press release cited research from US-based technology research firm Gartner. It claims call centers could save $80 billion by 2026 if they replace humans with AI.

READ: AI’s impact on the Philippines

It seems that the Philippines must respond faster to digitalization as Microsoft and other firms unveil AI tools for call centers. Soon, these technologies may severely impact millions in the country. 


How advanced is current call center AI?

India’s Economic Times reported on the potential impact of OpenAI’s latest flagship model, GPT-4o. Its latest Spring Update showed how the bot can speak like a human, complete with convincing quips, inflections, and other subtleties of human speech. 

“It seems OpenAI has built an audio foundation model ground up – the model can sing, change tones, speak slow or fast, understand your emotions, and respond appropriately,” said Hemant Mohapatra, partner at venture capital firm Lightspeed.

Many companies already integrated ChatGPT into their systems, so OpenAI-powered call center solutions are likely.

“We are moving closer to AGI (artificial general intelligence) faster than we are willing to believe,” said Alok Goyal, partner at venture capital firm Stellaris Venture Partners. “The only bad news, of course, is that humans will soon need to worry about their own role and expertise!”


OpenAI also threatens the demand for other business applications. “A full stack voice and workflows that GPT offers out-of-the-box very cheap will be very attractive to developers,” claimed Mohapatra.

Microsoft and other tech firms are also developing AI-powered BPO solutions. On June 4, 2024, the Silicon Valley giant revealed the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Contact Center. 


It can scan and analyze a company’s tools and systems and understand human speech. As a result, it can deliver tailor-made customer experiences.

READ: Globe Business to expand data centers

Microsoft recognizes that a call center representative’s workflow consists of different tools that offer clunky performance. That is why Dynamics 365 Contact Center automates tasks like: 

  • Conversation summary: The agent won’t need to write notes for each customer interaction because Copilot will do it.
  • Translation: The call center AI may remove the need for foreign language proficiency as it translates in real time. 
  • Response suggestion: The program may suggest replies for customers, making it easier to respond to emails and cold calls.

How will call center AI affect Filipino BPOs?

This represents agents using call center AI.
Free stock photo from Pexels

US-based BPO solutions company ROI Call Center Solutions ranks India as the second-best choice for outsourcing worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Indians are following call center AI trends closely.

However, Filipinos must pay more attention to these trends as the Pearl of the Orient remains the BPO sector’s crowning jewel. Hence, Senator Risa Hontiveros told DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual:

“Is the BPO industry in trouble too? Does Sec. Pascual, being at the helm of the DTI, have a plan for when more companies invest in AI instead of workers? Malaki ang magiging epekto nito sa ating BPO industry, sa ating ekonomiya, kaya dapat ngayon pa lang handa na ang ahensya sa posibilidad na ito,” Hontiveros said.

(Is the BPO industry in trouble too? Does Sec. Pascual, being at the helm of the DTI, have a plan for when more companies invest in AI instead of workers? It will have a huge impact on our BPO industry and economy. That is why our agencies must prepare for this possibility.)

The Senator also emphasized that the country may lose billions of dollars in revenue. More importantly, Filipinos will lose the call center industry as their entry into middle-class status.

READ: OpenAI CEO testifies in first-ever AI senate hearing

“The DTI and the DICT will also have to ensure sustained improvements in connectivity so that the work-anywhere model that is now central for talent retention will remain technically feasible even as clients’ service standards continue to rise,” she added.

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Senator Hontiveros suggested that BPO companies should “now be the schools, or should be at least be supported in defining a continuing education pathway for workers.” Also, the DTI must emphasize the care and attention that Filipino workers offer.

TOPICS: AI, technology
TAGS: AI, technology

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