Guest: Almira Absin
Presenter: Henry Acosta
Guest Bio: Almira Absin is a co-founder of Azpired Inc and her realm of expertise is training and workforce. She has transformed Language Schools and Institutes’ number of students to hundreds in just a short period of time thereby increasing the academes’ revenue. Her accomplishments challenged her to transition from a university setting to the corporate world in 2007. Almira is a very result oriented leader. She believes that SUCCESS is a combination of perspiration and inspiration thru strict discipline with emphasis on the company’s mission and vision.
Segment overview: AZPIRED is a world-class outsourcing service center in the Philippines that specializes in Inbound Customer Service, Technical Support, Accounting Services and more. They have been certified PCI compliant by the PCI Security Standards Council and ISO 27001:2013 by QAS International. The company originally started in the US, which then moved to the Philippines in 2009 with just 1 employee and has expanded greatly in a short period of time. These days, the company has 1500 employees with 4 buildings located in different cities.
Address: 16/F Cebu IT Tower 2, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
To know more about AZPIRED Inc., listen to the podcast below.
The interview will start at the 1:00 of the podcast episode.
Henry Acosta: Welcome to the Outsourcing and Offshoring in the Philippines podcast. I’m Henry Acosta and today with us is Almira Absin of Azpired Incorpated. She is one of the co-founders of Azpired Inc. and is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the company. She moved from teaching in university and from the academic setting to more of a leadership role in the corporate world. She have been doing her work in the corporate world in the last decade and has self-empowered everyone around her. She believes that success is a combination of perspiration and inspiration thru strict discipline and also it goes to the real emphasis on the company’s mission and vision. And with that, thank you for coming on with us today Almira. We appreciate having you on the show.
Almira Absin: It’s my pleasure.
Henry Acosta: For our first question, can you give us a little bit more background about yourself? And how you’ve got started with Azpired?
Almira Absin: Well we started in the US in 2006. We had about 80 homebased agents, at that time, they realized it was best to bring the company in the Philippines. Azpired, we’ve got into so many cities and thorough research visiting so many cities in the Philippines. We decided that Cebu was the best place for us. There are so many factors why we chose Cebu. Traffic, less lesser traffic, cost of living is cheaper for employees and some new cities, and there’s a nice blend of city life and the beach life, it makes easier for employees and the clients to unwind during the weekends if they want to go mountain climbing, or if they want to go the beach, or if they want to go the mall. So the city has everything that you need, also the presence of the international airport, it is easier for us and for our clients who are coming in and going out of the country. And also for our employees, it’s easier for them to go back to their province because the vehicles …in the Philippines. So we started here in 2009, with one employee and then it became 7 and then it became 75, and right now we’re almost 8-9 years in the business and we have grown to 1,500 employees. We also have expanded to 4 different building space, different operations for in 3 different cities. We also have operations in Cagayan de Oro City and Cebu. So we just keep on expanding, and growing, and growing. So that’s how we started. And now we just keep on growing.
Henry Acosta: That’s very impressive. And what do you think is the main contributing factor on how you guys grew as a company? And what helped you guys take that leap from a small company to becoming a larger one?
Almira Absin: Like I said it’s 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration, and we really have to work. They said it’s luck, but luck is useless if you don’t really work. It’s very important to be hands-on with your own business and at the same time working with people, talking with the right people. And also making sure that every client is satisfied with what they want and at the same time, you always exceed the client’s expectations. Then also the quality of the employees that we have. Filipinos in general, is very good so that why the BPO industry in the Philippines is growing.
Henry Acosta: And you guys started out in the U.S, what was it like for you guys to transition from the US to the Philippines?
Almira Absin: Well actually for us, it’s very easy and smooth number one because I’m a Filipino and the other 50% part is my husband is American. It’s actually a good meet of building …, knowing all the Philippine culture and the rules and regulation, and at the same time, my husband knowing all the rules in America, labor laws, I think the American culture and in the Philippines. Transitioning is actually easy for us. First I am a Filipino, so I already know Philippine laws, Philippine labor laws … laws in the Philippines. And at the same time my husband is American. He also knows of course the laws in the US and at the same time, it’s a good blend of culture. Philippines and America has a very, very close bond. A lot of us have families in the U.S. So for us, America is kind of like an extended family. So transitioning for us was just, we did not experience a lot of hurdles because it was a lot easier for us.
Henry Acosta: From a client’s perspective or potential client’s perspective, what do I have to expect when I work with Azpired Incorporated?
Almira Absin: Well … in the business…. in the industry. In Philippines is actually …large. The best thing about Azpired is that we have the infrastructure… in place. And then the training that we have, the system that we have, and at the same time, the culture that we have from the hiring process, to the training, to the on-going process, to the operation, to updates, refresher training, we just keep on working and working on improving and improving on the quality. We understand that some time to time there will be hurdles, probably a little bit longer for Filipinos to understand …business in the U.S. At the moment, our employees…of what we encounter… so most of the time, we always exceed the client’s expectations. In fact in October last year, we won and we’ve received an award because one of their clients received the ‘Best Operator of the Year’ in our … and that’s all over the US. So we’re really, really very proud that we are the operations in the Philippines and the owner of the … is actually based in the U.S, so that’s really good to us.
Henry Acosta: Congratulations, that sounds awesome. And, can you tell us about the mission and vision of your company?
Almira Absin: Well, our mission is always to make sure that we meet our client’s … and then they can focus on growing their business and we do the operations. We always get it done, we don’t consider them as clients, we consider as partners. So us being away from them, although we are offshore, we are activists and we are an extension of the … So that’s one of the things that makes us probably unique, but not only unique in the sense that …call centers … I guess it’s just the way, I think it really depends on how you treat your clients and the client also wants to be answered in actual real time… we have the client’s …email, how long do you have the answer this email , and fixing some issues, and …it’s because we are privately owned corporation, they’re not publicly owned …and make it really fast. So that’s one thing that’s really makes us successful.
Henry Acosta: I see. That’s sounds like a great philosophy. And with regards to that, what made you transition from being a teacher or professor to going into the corporate world?
Almira Absin: Well, it’s not really actually a lot of transitions. Typically, it’s still very very … when you’re at school you teach your kids how to understand some formulas, we teach them how to do this, we teach them how to pronounce this, or we teach them how write this. In the call center world, it’s really the same thing, we have to have the product training, we have to … communication training so they trained the trainers, and then we have the cultural training, and then that product training, can start giving all the knowledge that they need, before they can be in the account so that they could be on the phone for, let’s say we are on the backend … Pretty much teaching and managing a call center is the same. …booth teaching that this is what we have, I love from that teaching part, I love training part and I love that challenge, they give us some challenges and … we solve problems, ….satisfied as things we are able achieved this in this amount of time. We were able to achieve it, we will give them award, it is kind of like a validation about what you do in this life. So then we teach you to become hungry for more challenges and I think there are things like that, then we have to ask something, you tend to want more, it’s not really about the money but it’s more of how you succeed…
Henry Acosta: I see. And for our last question, for anyone who’s interested in reaching you guys, how can they find you guys? And can you tell us where your physical location is?
Almira Absin: Well we are located in Cebu IT Park, we are in Park Centrale Building, we are on the 18th, 9th, 8th and 7th floor and we also have in another building … We also have facilities in Cebu Business Park in Ayala, we are in Cebu I.T. Tower and we also have facilities in Cagayan de Oro in Lifestyle District in One Providence Building. We also have recruitment there, they can send their job applications to hot[email protected] they can also find us in Facebook, … they can go to the website, they can see all the information, they can send emails, they can PM, they always could turn …, so they can reach us. For our Globe they can reach us at 0917-301-3636, that’s for Mindanao applicants and for Visayas applicants, they can reach us at 0917-311-3979 or for Sun they can reach us 998-860-1341.
Henry Acosta: And thank you, it’s a pleasure talking to you. And that was Almira Absin, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Azpired Incorporated. And thank you coming on the show with us today Almira, we appreciate your time.
Almira Absin: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Henry Acosta: And if you want to listen to this podcast, you can go on www.offshoring.com.ph and you can find Azpired Incorporated at www.azpired.com. And you can also find this on SoundCloud and iTunes. I’m Henry Acosta and thank you for listening in the Outsourcing and Offshoring in the Philippines podcast.