Why Smiles On Demand’s Offices Are NOT Located in Manila or Cebu
There’s a very strategic answer.
In the same way that many people think the UK revolves around London, Manila is not only the capital of the Philippines, but it’s also associated as being the financial, publishing, and business center.
That’s why it comes as no surprise when potential clients query our locations.
…We actually WANT them to ask. 🙂
Why are Smiles Not in Manila?
Manila, Cebu, and other major “outsourcing hubs”, are plagued with an array of urban planning problems. Two of the most apparent are pollution and congestion.
Congestion in Manila & Cebu
A recent study found that Metro Manila is the most congested city in developing Asia. With the problem emerging when the demand for travel surpassed the limits of the regions transportation network.
On average, workers need 24 percent more time to travel during peak hours than off-peak!
“I lived in Cebu for many years and noticed that the traffic got drastically worse every year. The congestion and pollution in these majors cities push them to the point of becoming non-functional and unlivable”. – Graham Innes CEO at Smiles On Demand
Commuting here can take hours. Employees of the outsourcing hubs are often away from their families for months at a time as most of them come from the provinces.
Pollution in Big Cities
Not only that, but due to industrial waste and automobiles, Manila (and Cebu) suffers from air pollution, affecting 98% of the population there.
Sadly, air pollution causes more than 4,000 deaths in Manila each year.
Manila is Prone to Flooding
Major floods occur every year in Manila due to the rapid industrialization, heavy rainfall, and dumping of garbage in waterways.
It doesn’t help that the area is more frequently affected by typhoons than the Visayas region!
Cost of Living in Manila
As for living expenses? They are much higher in Manila and Cebu than anywhere else.
The additional costs are not offset by a higher salary either, and as a result, the workforces are downtrodden and discouraged.
In big cities, the BPO industry is often in short supply of the right talent. To try and solve this problem salaries and signing bonuses can often spiral out of control. The outcome? Very high turnover due to workers almost being incentivized to keep job-hopping.
Upon seeing visiting Manila or seeing pictures you’ll realize just how jam-packed the city is. It’s busting at the seams. This means office space is also in short supply and extremely expensive for this region of the world (it’s not much different from Melbourne in parts).
Unlike Smiles, big BPOs in the city charge more to their client to cover these costs.
Why Negros Oriental?
Our offices for Smiles On Demand are both located in Negros Oriental.
A laid-back province situated in the southeastern portion of Negros Island, Visayas, Philippines. Dumaguete City AKA the city of gentle people is the capital of Negros Oriental.
Aside from natural beauty, the region boasts numerous esteemed universities that supply a fresh flow of steady, strong, and professional talent.
Additionally, at Smiles, we catch a lot of experienced talent too when people grow tired of big cities like Cebu and Manila and return home to the provinces. Upon their return, we’re now able to offer a much more local and rewarding career closer to their families and friends.
Low Cost of Living in Dumaguete
To rent in Negros Oriental is comparatively low compared to Manila.
Our strategic locations, low overheads, and lower cost of living mean we can charge our clients less while paying our employees more. Avoiding the unnecessary expenses of city centers altogether.
Short Free Commute
The best part? Our employees are able to commute to work in minutes! We even offer FREE transportation to and from the office.
Higher Employee Retention
In Dumaguete and Guihulngan our employees love their work and tend to stick with us for the long-haul.
We doubled in size in just twelve months – and grew the skills of our employees at the same time. We constantly invest in training and giving our employees new skills that last a lifetime.
Our retention rate is much higher than those BPOs operating out of big cities.
At Smiles, we offer:
- a higher salary compared to competing BPOs in the region
- 30% monthly bonus based on performance
- HMO health plan and PAGIBIG/Philhealth contribution
- Paid vacation and sick leave
- Free lunch every day in our canteen
We’re Not Alone!
Teletech and Qualfon are both in Dumaguete too, employing thousands in our industry along with dozens of smaller outsourcers in various industries.
We’re seeing most of the big call center operators set up facilities in more provincial cities like this for exactly these reasons – there is even a presidential bill encouraging it in an attempt to decongest and alleviate the problems bigger cities like Manila are experiencing.