Thursday, August 14, 2008

US outsourcing firm eyes 600 seats, more shifts in Davao

American outsourcing company Western Wats wants to increase its call center seats to 600 by next year as it takes advantage of the increasing number of clients abroad.

Derek Rice, facility director of the company, said the management was looking at adding two more shifts by late next year in addition to the present single shift with 250 seats.

"I want to beat Cebu," Mr. Rice said. The company, which opened here on Wednesday, has 1,800 seats in Cebu, where it opened four years ago. Mr. Rice was among the pioneers then.

To outperform Cebu, he said, the Davao unit must be able to produce more surveys with better quality. He said Davao agents are better than their Cebu counterparts when the latter were just starting.

Mr. Rice said Western Wats has attracted about 1,800 applicants, adding that the hiring rate is high. He declined to provide figures.

The main qualification, he said, is for agents to have above average English communication skills, since the company’s clients are top American and British companies that need surveys for their marketing plans.

Western Wats has invested about P70 million here and it plans to increase that when it hires more for its second phase, Mr. Rice said. He said the company is looking hard for qualified applicants.

Ruel B. Gustilo, NCCC Mall Davao director for malls and entertainment, said Western Wats is the biggest tenant.

He said the management has started allowing food concessionaires to open at 4 a.m., when call center agents start coming in.

He added that the mall, which was recently accredited by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority as an information and communications technology park, would continue to introduce changes especially when Western Wats intensifies operations next year.

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