A business process outsourcing (BPO) call center is a company that has a contract to perform customer service, help desk, and other call-related functions of another business from a remote location. The BPO call center is a common outsourcing area for large businesses that feel that they can save money by employing outside labor to perform this secondary business function. Many BPO call center locations are in developing nations where labor rates are lower than western European- and US-centered businesses, such as India, the Philippines, and China. Other nations becoming prominent in the field of BPO call center business include South Africa and Mexico.
Originally, business process outsourcing involved highly technical areas of work such as information technology technical support and software development, accounting, and product testing. The growth in the sector has been in non-core business functions, however, such as human resources and customer service. Increasing levels of automation in BPO call center activity have also led to nations such as India dominating the market, where there is a large base of educated workers in technology fields, and labor rates remain low as compared to western nations. Working at a BPO call center, therefore, often involves staff who speak English well, who have some higher education in technology, and who live in a nation where per capita income is traditionally lower than western nations. Such BPO strategies benefit both the parent company in terms of significant cost savings, and the employment rates of developing nations.
The industry of business process outsourcing in general is seen as the fastest growing global business as of 2004, with projections for a $200,000,000,000 US Dollars (USD) economy through 2010. International call center outsourcing has been a growing segment of many developing economies, even while economic conditions for other businesses have declined. Estimates are that worldwide growth in 2011 will be between 5% to 7%. Certain markets such as the BPO call center market in Brazil are expected to have growth rates of more than 10% through the year 2015.
Countries that have a large segment of the population who are bilingual and speak fluent English such as the Philippines, where the business earned $2,100,000,000 USD in 2006, tend to dominate the market. The Philippines alone expects this profit level to increase to $11,000,000,000 USD by the second decade of the 21st century. Another reason nations such as the Philippines are growing quickly in the BPO call center arena is that they have the technology and experience to establish reliable BPO techniques and call center locations in a matter of weeks instead of what traditionally can take months to put in place.
Small nations such as Romania, which leads Europe in BPO systems, also have a large, dynamic stake in the business. Despite an economic downturn in Romania in general during 2010 of a 1% to 3% loss in profits in the business sector, BPO call center business there has been on the rise. Some prominent BPO call center businesses in Romania are growing at a rate of 200% to 300% a year, and mostly service companies in western European nations as well as the US and Canada. The Romanian market for business process outsourcing involves over 250 small Romanian BPO companies, which earned €120,000,000 Euros (about $174,132,000 USD) in 2009, and this is expected to increase to €350,000,000 Euros (about $507,885,000 USD to €500,000,000 Euros (about $725,550,000 USD) as of 2014.