In the current marketplace, there is simply no way around a multishore contact center delivery model. The reality is that with unemployment rates in key demand markets at near-record lows, the ability to source qualified, motivated talent needs to be done both domestically and in overseas locales. This is a dynamic that may be the source of political dispute but for those on the front line of delivery, it is simply a fact of life. Fortunately for both providers and buyers of these services, there are destinations aplenty from which to choose. In the current environment, there are some countries that are on the verge of making a global delivery impact. Equally, there are some locations that have yet to make their presence known, or which have become lost in the shuffle, meaning a great deal of required work is required to establish (or re-establish) their credentials.
Upstart locations driving offshore competition
The global contact center offshore outsourcing space is not confined to those mature delivery points so frequently discussed, including the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Mexico and South Africa. In fact, while these five markets have done an excellent job in pioneering the offshoring business model, there are also many locations that are acting iconoclastically, by forging their own path in global front-office Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Among the most prominent in this group include:
- Bulgaria – This Balkan country has truly come on strong as a nearshore delivery point over the past few years. With both providers and their clients being suitably impressed with its Western European language skills, commercial empathy and multiple cities from which to deliver services, Bulgaria has been able to attract some of the biggest names in customer experience delivery, including TTEC and Alorica. In fact, in the most recent Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office Omnibus Survey of over 350 enterprise contact center decision-makers, Bulgaria was ranked in the top ten most favored locations among UK respondents.
Egypt – Following some difficult years post-2011’s popular uprising, Egypt’s outsourcing value proposition is more relevant than ever. Its government has prioritized attracting new BPO investment, touting the country’s skilled labor force, incentives and focus on quality. It should be noted that despite having slowed following the revolution several years ago, Egypt’s front-office outsourcing sector never shrank, a testament to the value that its investors place in that location. Egyptian BPO 2.0 is a reality.
Honduras – The Central American outsourcing upstart continues its march toward prominence in the American nearshore. The coordination between the industry, government and real estate developers has been instrumental in this location’s growth, as has the emphasis on bilingual education. The recent initiative to continue developing the space via the quasi-governmental organization Honduras 2020 has further accentuated this location’s appeal. It is noted that among US buyers responding to the above-discussed 2018 Front-Office Omnibus Survey, Honduras is now the second-most favored Central American location, which is a tribute to its stakeholders’ efforts.
Pivot needed to realise potential
Obviously, for the front-office outsourcing industry, it is crucial to have new locations available to challenge established ones in order to ensure a healthy swath of delivery options. That said, there are also cases in which certain locations need to raise their game if they are to remain viable players in an ever-competitive market. Some of the most obvious include:
Nicaragua – Once one of the most sought-after delivery points for contact center work in the American nearshore, Nicaragua has lost a great deal of voice in the broader front-office BPO discussion over the past two years. Despite having both globally and locally run players operating at very high-quality levels within its borders, as well as a historically-active investment promotion board, Nicaragua has fallen out of favor with enterprise buyers of customer experience services, finishing in the bottom quarter of the 2018 Front Office Omnibus Survey. To be fair, recent political upheavals have not helped perception in North America, but the country’s outsourcing stakeholders will need to take swift action to re-establish Nicaragua in today’s BPO discussions.
Turkey – A few years ago, Turkey was considered to be the next big location for global multilingual delivery. But despite multiple cities, significant infrastructure investments and a population in the same scale as those of the Philippines and Egypt, Turkey has not yet achieved its offshoring potential. Notwithstanding that it has a dynamic domestic industry (hosting one of the most impressive annual contact center conferences anywhere in the world) and has attracted a number of global BPO investors, this is one location that has yet to reach its peak in the offshoring game. On a bright note, UK respondents in the 2018 Front Office Omnibus Survey were warm to Turkey’s value proposition, but more work will be required to broaden this country’s appeal to other demand markets.
Haiti – Another case of a location that has not yet met its potential for offshore outsourcing, Haiti should be a logical choice for those firms looking to service Canada’s French-speaking market. It has the possibility of being a Francophone alternative to North African markets, but to date has unfortunately had a series of false-starts in promoting its value proposition. This is a shame, given its impressively-skilled labor force. However, to date no major regional or global player has deployed capacity in this country. Clearly, Haiti’s stakeholders need to pivot quickly and adeptly for this to change.
Offshoring has never been an easy project and there is little evidence to suggest that this will change any time soon. With more delivery points from which to choose it is clearly an investor’s market when it comes to contact center outsourcing. The key for so many providers will be to determine what works best for their clients, and to decide accordingly. For those countries with ambition to grow in the offshore and nearshore, positioning is everything. Those that get it right will reap significant economic benefits. Those that have the potential to do more must take action if they are to realise their potential. But the work needs to begin now.