Guest: Kevin Thompson
Presenter: Henry Acosta
Guest Bio: Kevin Thompson is the Director of Operations at Open Look Business Solutions. He started his career as a sales professional with an outstanding record of success in the niche publishing sector. He is originally from Southern California and began his career in advertising sales for a variety of special-interest automotive publications. In 2010, he moved to the Philippines tasked to develop and manage the offshore advertising sales team for a Niche Media company, in two years the team of six reps generated and managed over $1.3 million in advertising. Since moving to the Philippines his role expanded outside of simply sales, and has grown to oversee all operation functions.
Segment overview: Open Look Business Solutions is a full-service publishing house capable of assisting clients in all areas of the publishing process including marketing, publication design, website development and support, telemarketing and sales, printing, distribution, and more. With 40 combined years of experience in publishing-based settings, Open Look Business Solutions has the formula to deliver high ROI to their clients.
Address: Woop Corp Bldg 6 E Benedicto St Brgy Zapatera, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu
Contact: LOCAL +6392 535 5966
To know more about Open Look Business Solutions, listen to the podcast below.
The interview will start at 25:52 mark of the podcast episode.
Henry Acosta: Welcome to the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast with Henry Acosta. I’m Henry and joining us today is Kevin Thompson of Open Look Business Solutions. Kevin is originally from SoCal (Southern California) and began his career in advertising for different automotive publications. He moved to the Philippines back in 2010 to develop and manage an offshore advertising sales team for a Niche Media company, but in two years, the team of six reps managed to generate $1.3 Million in advertising. Since then, his role for managing and developing a sales team evolved into what he is today which is to oversee all operation and functions. With all that said, welcome to the podcast Kevin, we’re glad to have you here.
Kevin Thompson: Thank you Henry, I appreciate you inviting me.
Henry Acosta: Thank you for coming on the show, we’re glad to have you here. To kick things off, I just wanted to know, you’re originally from SoCal, how did you come up or what brought you here to the Philippines?
Kevin Thompson: Like you said, as you mentioned, I was working with the company that started in office out here in Cebu. I was given the opportunity to come out here to start an advertising sales team. Prior to that, the team was doing distribution sales for various magazines that we published. It started out successfully and they wanted to test advertising sales which is what I was doing back in California at that time. And was given the opportunity to come out and build, and train the team and I have been here ever since.
Henry Acosta: How do you like your stay here so far?
Kevin Thompson: I love it. It was supposed to be a one year assignment and 7 years later, I’m still here. I think that speaks for it.
Henry Acosta: Let’s talk about Open Look Business Solutions. What do you guys offer or what do you guys do for clients?
Kevin Thompson: Sure. We are an outsource servicing provider. We primarily focus in the publishing and media space. We have 3 core functions that we focus on which is audience development, which is commonly referred to us ‘Telemarketing’. We do a lot of circulation, type of phone calls as well as lead generation and a little bit of sales primarily for business to business publications. We do have some work-in in the B2B space as well. We do graphic design and photo retouching, which is anything from with two different teams that work within that umbrella and one of them is focusing on complete magazine design and layout. That’s actually preparing pages for print. We have a retouching team that handles images and works in everything, we have a couple of different clients, everything that ranges from automotive dealerships to online retailers, sports team, things of that sort, with color correcting and things like that. We have our third division which we refer to as ‘Human Intelligence Task’. We do a lot of data mining, data appending, list type of building. Basically, the short explanation of that is a lot of our clients have data lists of prospective customers of theirs and they’re lacking a couple of data points, for example e-mail address, or company size, or physical address, something of that sort. We will get online and do actual web searches to various different outlets to see what data we can capture for them.
Henry Acosta: I see. With regards to your clients, how do you guys usually get them and how do you guys get in touch them, and how was it been working with you guys for them?
Kevin Thompson: Yes. I think, good. For in terms of capturing clients, there’s three owners within Open Look; myself, and then I have two partners who are based in Dallas, Texas. I’m here of course, overseeing operations, managing operations, and then my two partners in the US are doing a lot of the business development, client relations, things of that sort. The model works really well. They’re on the ground in the US, identifying people that can benefit from our services and then my job out here is to make that materialize to operations. That model works very well. In terms of how it’s been for our clients, I can say we’re doing really well. We’ve seen some pretty good growth, we’ve had 100% growth for the last two years actually.
Henry Acosta: Wow, congratulations.
Kevin Thompson: Thank you. In terms of headcount and everything. I got to believe that we’re doing something right for our clients and they’re pleased with the output that we can provide for them.
Henry Acosta: Awesome. With clients, do you think that maybe they should go visit the Philippines before they actually start doing work? Or what advice can you give them with regards to doing outsourcing?
Kevin Thompson: I don’t think it’s necessary to visit here. Very few of our clients have actually been here physically in the Philippines. Nowadays with technology, I think that’s been a big factor in the growth of this industry, the BPO industry, because it’s so easy to tele-commute, to communicate to wherever you’re at. I would say, it’s not necessary, it’s definitely helpful. It’s beneficial to come and see and just, if nothing else put the faces to the name and see how things are operating on this side as the clients they obviously have experienced within what they’re doing. To have that hands-on guidance, with the early starting projects, it’s absolutely helpful but I wouldn’t say it’s a necessary factor.
Henry Acosta: I see. When you first started out here in the Philippines, did you have any misconceptions during your first stay here that you’re glad to see that weren’t real?
Kevin Thompson: I can’t really say. My first trip out here was fairly spontaneous in a way. I didn’t really have much time to really gather any expectations. If I’m not mistaken, in my first trip from the time I was offered the opportunity to come out and when I landed in the Philippines, I believe was 7 days. So I really didn’t quite have much time to really realize what I was getting into, until I got here. I can’t really say as to what my expectations were, prior to come in and when I got here. It was definitely different. I’ll never forget that first experience, it was definitely very different. I have not travelled much prior to coming here, I have never been out of the US prior to my first trip to the Philippines. I really had no gauge, I didn’t have any real expectations, it didn’t even really sink in until I had actually landed here that I was coming here. It was surprising when I got here. Like I said, it’s different. But within half a day, I pretty much fell in love with the country.
Henry Acosta: We’re glad you like your stay here and we’re glad you like the Philippines. With regards to the Philippines, how are the people here and what do you think of them as employees?
Kevin Thompson: Employees are great. One of the best things about the Philippines and I think one of the uniqueness is the loyalty. Filipino people, through my experience, they’re very loyal. We’re taken care of and treated correctly and everything, they’ll run through walls for you man. I always tell people when they ask me, ‘What’s the life in the Philippines? ‘How are you able to stay there so long?’ Like I said, I was supposed to be here a year, ‘I was not sure if I could make it that year, and now, I’m still here 7 years later. People always asked me, ‘What is it that so enticing about the Philippines?’ and my response is always the people. It’s very genuine, accommodating loyal people. Like I said, they’ll run through walls man, and they work hard, really good work ethic. That’s one of the best things, that’s what made our success a lot. I’ve been blessed to have a really good solid staff that really works hard.
Henry Acosta: With regards to that, for people who are interested in doing business with Open Look Business Solutions, what is the best way to get in touch with you guys and maybe get talk to you, and maybe have new clients?
Kevin Thompson: You can always get a hold of us through e-mail, that’s probably the best way depending on where people are at in the world. My email is [email protected]. The other way is via our website which is open-look.com. Those would probably the best two ways. You can go there, I’m accessible via Skype as well, US telephone numbers, Philippine telephone numbers, you name it, you get a hold of me.
Henry Acosta: With regards to outsourcing here, what do you think is the thing that usually stops people from doing it at first? Why people are so scared in making the jump with regards to doing outsourcing?
Kevin Thompson: I can be a scary thing. You’re given up a little bit of control in a way. At least, that’s the perception. We really make a point to explain to our clients that, ‘Look, our job isn’t to come in and take over or set new processes or ways for you guys. Our job is really to adapt to what you have going on and help you find ways to accomplish more work.’ I think some of it is, hear the unknown. When we think of that got I give up a little bit of my business, I’ve got to give up a little bit of my control, as well just the not knowing how accessible things are. Like I said, technology is a great thing. You can do things from all over the world now and produce the same results as if you’re sitting next to each other in the same office, somewhere in the States or Europe, or somewhere else. Technology has helped that, but it’s different. I think just that fear about, I had a lot clients over the years that ‘I just don’t think that can be done.’ ‘How can we do that?’ ‘We’ve never done it that way,’ type of thing you know and I understand that. I have been into this industry and everything, I have the exact same thoughts. But, like I said, given technology, one of the nice things about the Philippines especially for American-based companies. The American culture is very ingrained here, there’s a lot of American exposure, U.S exposure and things so the cultural differences are small. Of course, there are some that it’s a different country, I always add a little bit a lot, but it’s not as widely felt as it is in some other parts of the world basically. I think yes, it’s fear of the unknown. It’s new things that I would say prevent people from really giving outsourcing and the BPO industry a shot at times.
Henry Acosta: For our listeners right now, what do you want them to take away from our interview?
Kevin Thompson: The Philippines is a great place and there’s a lot of opportunity. If you are a business owner, and you need assistance getting more done, you have special tasks, the best thing about the BPO industry is that we’re here to really take some of the low lying fruit per se, offices and tables to allow them the focus on the core pieces of their business and can really help drive goals and things like that. Like I said, the Philippines is a great place to do that. Employment wise, if some of the listeners are thinking about getting into the BPO industry or work in the BPO industry. This is an up and coming industry absolutely and I’ve seen many lives change through this industry in terms of accomplishing personal goals, professional goals, things of that sort. I’ve seen that many employees that have built very nice lives for themselves thru this industry and have opened up many opportunities for themselves. The BPO industry, it’s something that needs some attention and definitely can be taken serious and there’s a lot of things that can come up both on the employment side of employees trying to build couriers as well as companies looking to expand their ways and looking for creative, unique ways to help them accomplish their goals. It’s definitely something that can help with that.
Henry Acosta: Awesome. Well that’s all our questions for today. Thank you coming on the show Kevin.
Kevin Thompson: Right on. Thank you so much Henry for having me, I appreciate it.
Henry Acosta: Awesome. And that was Kevin Thompson of Open look Business Solutions. We just finished talking about Open Look and how it is like to outsource here in the Philippines. If you want to listen to more podcasts like this and know more about the ins and outs of the BPO industry, you can go on www.offshoring.com.ph. You can also find us on SoundCloud and iTunes. You’ve been listening to the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast with Henry Acosta.