Featured Company: A2B Outsourcing [transcript] [audio]

Guest: Tariq Ishaq Bhatty  

Presenter: Henry Acosta

Guest Bio: Tariq Ishaq Bhatty is the Director of Client Services at A2B Outsourcing, one of the fastest growing Australiana BPO located in Clark, Pampanga in the Philippines. He has been in the Sales and Marketing Management industry for over 25 years. Tariq was born and raised in the USA, and have been working in Asia for the past 17 years. He graduated with a Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Indiana Institute of Technology. During his leisure time, he enjoys cooking good food, watch sports and do gardening.

Segment overview: Moving people from point A to B. A2B Outsourcing is one of the fastest growing Australian BPOs in Clark, Philippines that was established in 2015. A2B Outsourcing is not just connecting ‘YOU’ to other people, but also reaching out with different culture to work together as one team, giving you excellent results and drive your business growth. We are joined by Tariq Ishaq Bhatty to talk about A2B Outsourcing, how he started in the industry, and why the Philippines is the ideal place to outsource your business compared with other Asian countries. His three main reasons are: (1) Filipino’s admirable work ethics; (2) Educational Attainment; (3) English Language Proficiency.

Address: 1 Schipol Gateway, Wing B. Corner Manila Gateway, Global Gateway Logistics City Industrial Estate 5, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines

Contact Number: (INT’L) – 1 800 940 913

Website: www.a2boutsourcing.com

To know more about A2B Outsourcing, listen to the podcast below.

The interview will start at the 33:30 mark of the podcast.

 

Transcript

Henry Acosta:  This is the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast with Henry Acosta. Today, our guest is Tariq Ishaq Bhatty. Tariq is the Director of Client Services at A2B Outsourcing. He is with us to talk about A2B Outsourcing, which is one of the fastest-growing Australian BPOs. They are based in Clark, that’s around 90 kilometers north of Manila. With all that said, welcome to show Tariq. Thank you so much for getting on the show.

Tariq Bhatty:  Thank you very much for inviting. I’m pretty excited to talk about the industry and talk about our company and answer any of your questions.

Henry:  Sounds great. We’re excited to have you on the show as well.

Tariq:  Great, me too.

Henry:  Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and just give us a brief intro about what you do for A2B Outsourcing?

Tariq:   My name as you said, Tariq Ishaq Bhatty. I am an American. Just a little brief background, the outsourcing or should I say, call center industry started back in the 80s. It wasn’t as much popular in Asia, but I remember during my college days when I was going to the Indiana Institute of Technology, I worked part-time in a call center. At that time, they didn’t call it a call center. They used to call, believe it or not, ‘Boiler Room Operation.’ It was very infancy stages where you made the phone calls from the white pages of the phone book and it was B2C, you call white pages and if it’s B2B, you call companies in the yellow pages. I have some experience working part time in the 80s in the call center industry. After I graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering, believe it or not, I never worked as a mechanical engineer. Right away, I went into satellite and broadcasting. In fact, it started in … of satellite. In 1996, I was transferred to the Philippines to bring satellite wire internet. We are the pioneer who brought the satellite technology into the Philippines and in Asia and delivering the internet service via satellite taking that dial-up. You were too young, you probably didn’t know the dial-up days but those days, you actually dial up the number to connect to the internet. I stayed in the satellite industry all through my life and a couple years ago, I decided that I was tired of traveling Asia – I worked in Dubai, I was transferred to the Philippines, from the Philippines, I went to Indonesia, from Indonesia I came back to the Philippines and I decided 2015 that, it’s enough of traveling and I’m just going to retire. It’s right to the golden handshake with a big corporation I was working for, which is ‘France Telecom’ and a subsidiary of France Telecom called ‘Broadcast.’ After a month, I was bored. I have nothing to do. I said, “Oh man, I cannot live this way. I need to do some work.” So, I thought about the BPO, because I was living in Subic at that time, Subic Bay. I thought about doing the work with the BPO industry and I started doing some consultancy work with the BPO industry, because my expertise was sales and marketing. I took my previous college days experience of working in a boiler room operation and  took it to my advantage and got into a BPO industry. I did some consultancy work for some BPOs in Subic, Subic Bay and also in Clark. They are still thriving. They are in fact a lot bigger than us now. Then I got an opportunity with the A2B to work for them. I started working for A2B. Now, A2B is an Australian company and we are new, a new player, but little over two years old. We have several accounts here. We provide back office services which is digital marketing, web designing, research, virtual assistance. We have clients from Australia. We also have a telemarketing services where we have several campaigns, running from Australia, also some from other countries.

Henry:  That sounds great. It sounds like you have a very rich history with regards to telecommunications itself. Thank you so much for sharing your very rich history with the telecommunications industry as a BPO industry. You’ve been to other countries, right? How does that compare to the Philippines with regards to the outsourcing industry?

Tariq:  Outsourcing in the Philippines, as we all know, is probably that produces about 10% or maybe all the way up to 15% of the GDP. The question comes in mind that, “Why?” The reason behind is that I noticed working in Asia and lot in the Philippines and living in the Philippines, the people are number one – have an influence, have a Western influence. Basically, a lot of American influence, so they’re very well english-speaking. They speak the language very well as compared to Romania where the BPO industries are, in India and in Pakistan and some other countries. Number one is the language, because most of the outsourcing is going to come from Australia, America or the UK. They are all english-speaking people, so the language is the most important thing. Number two is the people in the Philippines, they take pride in their work. The reason I have said that, because having experienced working with people and other nationalities and all the way in Asia to South America and also in Europe I worked, they take pride in their work. This is the most important thing. I see the language and the criteria of the people and the education background of the Filipinos make the BPO industry very successful, not only for the Philippines but for the companies who are outsourcing their business in the Philippines.

Henry:  That’s a lot of compliments to say. That’s actually a pretty big compliment coming from you, since you lived in a lot of different places already throughout your whole life.

Tariq:  Yes.

Henry: Shifting from employees or Filipino employees to clients, how was your clients been and how are your accounts? Have they’ve grown and how’s their experience so far with  outsourcing?

Tariq:  I have great experience, believe me or not, because one of the reason behind is I have a great staff. If you have a great staff and if you have good managers, your client experience would be good. The reason is you provide the good services to the client and that’s what the success of A2B. When we say with the fastest growing, is because our retention of our staff, which is a call center industry, it’s very hard to retain the staff and the pride they take in their work which translate into good client services. All of the clients we have, are originally when A2B started, they’re still here. They have never moved to any other place and one of the main reason they stayed with us, because naturally, we’re providing the services that they were looking for initially. They are still increasing their business by providing the best services possibly that can be provided. That is, I think, one of the main success point of A2B, is employee retention, pride in their employees, taking pride in their work and the management.

Henry:  That’s really impressive actually with you guys having a great client retention and not just the employee retention, since keeping clients is usually one of the hardest things a BPO firm can do actually.

Tariq:  Yes, really. Very true.

Henry:  How do you guys usually get your new clients?

Tariq:  There’s many different ways. We have a good marketing department and I think we do digital marketing with social media like LinkedIn and Xing I don’t know if you’re familiar with the European site called ‘Xing,’ and also the Facebook. We do digital marketing. We have network. I have a network of people who I talk to to get clients. Getting clients is not an easy task, because majority of the clients who’s going to go and look for a BPO, they’re going to look for a solid BPO. They’re going to look for a BPO which have good facilities. They’re going to look for a BPO who have a client retention, nowadays, because there’s so many BPOs around that the customer have choices, choices to make. One of the main criteria I have learned to get a client, is they ask the question about how long these clients been with you? Then we can just say, “Hey these clients are with us since we started in the business.” We’re getting business through marketing, digital marketing. Digital marketing is probably the key to get inbound and an outbound outsourcing.

Henry:  Yes, digital marketing is on the rise as if it’s the way of the future. With your new clients or since we’re on the topic of new clients, what are the things that people who are interested in outsourcing, what are the things that they should watch out for?

Tariq:  There’s many different things. Number one, as we all know, that the Philippines is the number one outsourcing capital of the world. In fact, I was just watching about a couple of weeks ago, a video where companies to be honest with you, from India was also seeing in India, I’m moving into Philippines and it goes back to the language and the pride in their work. Now the outsourcing companies who are providing outsourcing services, they need to be careful about certain things when they are taking a project on. The company who is finding an outsourcing company, they need to be careful about it too. The companies who want to outsource, they need to make sure that the companies they want to work with, to increase their business or increase their business portfolio, that they are well established, they have employee retention, they provide good services, benefits to the employees. That’s very important that employees need to have their benefits, their insurance, their PAG-IBIG, I’m talking about the Philippines’ medical health insurance, because these are the things which keep the employees’ retention. Those are the important things for companies who are looking for outsourcing. Now, we as an outsource services provider, we also need to be careful about the campaigns. There are many campaigns out there. I think I need to say this for the newcomers who are coming into the business of outsourcing, that they need to be very, very careful as if any other industries, there are many scams. There are many scams out there. It’s just not on the BPO and BPO is a clean industry. The Philippines take pride in the BPO industry. The Philippines’ GDP of  10% to 15% comes from BPO. The Philippines employed between 4.5 to 5 million people in the BPO industry. We need to be very, very careful that we keep this business completely out of scam. It’s a very minor thing. The managers of this BPO can check that if there are scams, … by checking the proposals. If any proposals they see where the consultant is requesting the money for bringing the project in upfront, I’ll stay away because the standard practice and I have learned this over the years, the standard practice is, not only in BPO industry or in any other business, whether a satellite communication business or there’s a broadcasting business when a consultant brings a deal in, the time he gets paid commission on that, is at the time of signing the contract. Yes, we can make a broker or a consultancy agreement prior to that, but no money should be given, that’s number one. I read the blogs about it, how many people get scammed like this. People will just pay because they see a big huge project and they will pay a certain commission and then you never hear, that’s number one. Number two, I think the management of any of the BPOs and I think big BPOs they already know, my statement is directed towards the new ones, the newcomers who are planning on establishing a BPO that they need to see and check out not only the consultant but also the company. The company who eventually deal with providing services too. These two important things and if we keep track of it, believe me, I have found myself, but I checked them out and I checked them out and then when I contact the consultant and told him about it, I never heard back from them. That’s an important thing and I think if we all, the management staff of all the BPO, we’ll follow that practice, we’ll keep this business clean and we’ll continue to grow and like this year is at $30 billion. It might increase to be more than $30 billion. It’s not only good for the Philippines, it’s good for all over the world.

Henry:  That’s a very sound advice and I think everyone should know about it and actually take your advice. With the topic of that, since we would like to avoid those kinds of situations where scams happen and all that, since it’s part of the industry with business, would you ever recommend the potential client going and visiting the offices of the companies that they want to see and work with?

Tariq:  I always do and I always recommend. All our clients initially I recommend and slowly, slowly maybe not the time to sign the contract, they have. All my clients have been here, they have visited our facility. Any new clients I have in fact, if their consultant, I will tell them, their consultant to come and visit our facility because it’s important for them to see the facility, what the facilities look like. If they bring their business here, do they have security, how the employees are, how the cleanliness of the place is. This is very important. Yes, I will always, always, always request the client to come and visit my facility.

Henry:  Are your clients usually there from Australia or do you have clients from the UK and the U.S.?

Tariq:  At the present, all our clients are Australian clients, but we will be starting services very soon in about next 2 to 3 weeks, to one client in UK and one client in USA. The reason behind is, an Australian company, it was easy to get the clients, so we can fill up our business, our standing in the industry. Then now, we’re going to expand into the UK market and USA market.

Henry:  That sounds great and we wish you more success. Hopefully, next time you’re on the show you’ll be talking how much bigger you guys are?

Tariq:  If you invite me, I will come back and I will definitely tell you something more about the UK clients and American clients.

Henry:  That sounds great. For those interested in talking to you Tariq and getting in touch with A2B outsourcing, what’s the best way that they can do that and where can they find you in the Philippines?

Tariq:  Our office is located right on the SCTEX exit. If you are coming into, going towards SCTEX exit, right across from Yokohama, Yokohama Tire Place and about half a block from the Philippine Customs. The building name is GGLC and we are located right there. They can come. We are 24/7 operation since we have some clients which are 24/7 services. We are open 24/7. They can always get in touch with me with my email address. But the best thing is just come down to our office, visit our office, have a cup of coffee or a tea, chat with me and I’ll be welcome to talk about anything, anybody you want to know about the BPO industries and any advice or any other stuff. I’ll be happy to offer.

Henry:  Sounds great. And well, for our last question, what will be the biggest lesson that you can share with everyone right now for our listeners who’s thinking about outsourcing?

Tariq:  If they are looking to do outsourcing, please do come to us. You compare our services with other BPO services, but you will find that A2B Outsourcing is probably one of the best outsourcing place and a company which will help you to grow your business and make it successful. We work and believe in our success, depends on the success of our client.

Henry:  That’s all our questions for today and thank you so much for coming in the show, Tariq.

Tariq: Thank you very much, Henry. Anytime you need to talk to me or anytime, anybody wants to contact me, they’re welcome to contact me and stop by my office. We’ll be happy to talk.

Henry:  That was Tariq Bhatty of A2B Outsourcing. We’ve just finished talking about A2B Outsourcing and what they do and who they are. If you want to get in touch with them, you can get to their website at www.a2boutsourcing.com. If you want to know more about the BPO industry in the Philippines an learn more about the companies that are helping it grow, you can visit us at www.offshoring.com.ph. We’re also on SoundCloud, iTunes and YouTube. This is the outsourcing and offshoring Philippines podcast and I’m Henry Acosta.