Enterprise outsourcing veteran, Siva Subramaniam tackles SME outsourcing with FBC Asia

FBC Asia Pacific

Derek Gallimore talks with Siva Subramaniam, CEO and co-founder of FBC Asia Pacific. founded in 2019, FBC Asia aims to provide a superior customer experience by combining highly talented people with best practices.

The future of outsourcing lies in more efficient processes and satisfied employees that empower them. in this episode, Derek and Siva tackle the changes in the outsourcing landscape in the past years, particularly in terms of customer experience, and how FBC Asia prides itself in building the “future generation of BPO industry”.

Siva and FBC Asia’s background

Siva Subramaniam is the co-founder and CEO of FBC Asia Pacific, a dynamic outsourcing company founded in 2019. 

Originally from Sri Lanka, Siva resided in Australia for most of his life. He then spent 10 years in Singapore and 14 years in the Philippines. He started working for airline accounts, handling customer service for big names such as Pan American Airlines and American United.

After, Siva got exposed to enterprises such as American Express and Deloitte in Australia. Prior to FBC, he was a Regional General Manager for English-speaking countries, handling more than 14,000 employees in Transcom for nine years.

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Three years after leaving Transcom and working as an independent consultant, a couple of investors in Australia approached him to build what is now known as FBC Asia.

What is FBC Asia?

FBC stands for “faster, better, and cheaper”. Siva operates as a partner for outsourcing clients. He helps them “grow [their] business for top-line and reduce costs”. 

He believes that outsourcing companies have to “be valuating, understand the client’s business, and [help them] find ways to save money”, as what outsourcing should do. 

Siva as well recognized the changing need in outsourcing services, saying that “customer experience is no longer a cost center”. 

BPO of the future

Per Siva, FBC “builds something for the future generations of the BPO industry”. Aside from traditional calls, they’ve set up non-voice programs for “[generation] X, Y, and Zs of the world” to complete their customer experience transactions.

The company also utilizes artificial intelligence for self-service transactions with agents that can help them in case their concerns won’t be resolved through AI. 

In terms of work arrangement, they offer work from home (WFH) set up as early as 2019 along with their office-based solutions. Currently, 50% of their staff is located in Manila.

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What FBC Asia offers to its clients

FBC Aasia offers five different value-adding lines of businesses:

  • Staff augmentation
  • Seat leasing
  • Full outsourcing capacity
  • Build-operate-transfer
  • Recruitment process outsourcing

Automation in the BPO industry

Siva is certain that “artificial intelligence is going to happen”, though he has yet to see how quickly enterprises and SMEs will adapt to it.

SMEs are mostly handled by millennials, which are open to technology-based solutions. Though, 80% of customer calls are still handled by agents while only 20% consists of self-service portals.

Per Siva, it is expected that these statistics will flip in the next three years or more. 

Yet, at the end of the day, the most crucial thing to do is to “treat the right customers with the right tools”. It still pays for companies to understand their customers rather than assume that technology will resolve their problems.

Switching from a ‘cost center’ to a ‘profit center’

Call center outsourcing can be more valuable to a company than ever. Siva advises that businesses wanting to turn their call centers from a “cost center” to a ‘profit center’ should nurture the part that makes it valuable: people.

According to him, a person can understand and resolve customer’s issues while, at the same time, trying to upsell or cross-sell to them – something that technology cannot do.

Yet, integrating sales strategies into a call can sometimes be annoying to customers. This is why Siva advised that agents should “pitch the right story at the right time”.

FBC Asia’s approach to work from home

Since July 2019, FBC Asia has been investing a lot into the work-from-home model. Some of their client’s concerns involve data security and productivity while at work.

For this, the company developed systems for employee monitoring that lets clients monitor their outsourced teams in real-time and take screenshots of their desktops. 

FBC Asia’s approach to work from home

At the same time, they have systems in place to maintain the happiness of their employees. Through an AI camera, they can see the happiness and stress levels of their WFH employees. 

Several programs are launched to promote their mental and physical health through an on-demand psychologist and fitness instructor. HR teams are as well on standby to check on their workload and work conditions.

With this outstanding practice, they received a gold award for employee engagement from COPC Inc.

Working during the pandemic

The company was less impacted by the pandemic during its wave in 2020. On the contrary, it even brought them more clients from the US and Australia that are looking for short-term work at home programs.

For their office-based employees, they make sure to follow health and safety protocols while working. 

All in all, Siva recognizes that COVID might be here for a long time and work-from-home is here to stay. What’s important is for companies to “have [these] multiple options as part of [their] business configuration and disaster recovery plans.”

How Siva sees FBC Asia in the next years

Initially, FBC Asia started their WFH program to “help smart individuals [that are] stuck at home for unforeseen circumstances… [and] leverage on their skills.” Currently, their focus lies on employee satisfaction and engagement. 

Siva does not have the aim of building a “rich company”. Rather, around 4,000 employees will be enough for them as long as they can “put more money in the pockets of [their] employees” to help them become more successful.

Siva admits to having “a bit [of] bias” among Filipinos. With a positive outlook, highly literate and educated workforce, and a ‘never say die’ attitude, Filipinos are surely reliable and responsible in the workplace.

Companies interested in reaching out to Siva and FBC Asia can check out their website: https://www.fbcapac.com.

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