A burgeoning Hispanic population in the U.S. has created a strong demand for Spanish-speaking contact center agents. Many American companies find such agents in Mexico.
While Mexico's close proximity and attractive labor costs are strong selling points, some companies are also starting to consider other Latin American alternatives, according to a destinationCRM.com article. Chile, Costa Rica, Argentina and Panama are among the options, says Peter Ryan, head of contact center outsourcing for Datamonitor.
Such evaluations are more a sign of growing interest in Latin American than any dissatisfaction with Mexico, says Ryan. Diversification also helps protect companies from the kinds of talent shortages and steep salary increases that resulted from India's overheated market.
Ryan says some Latin American countries, such as Colombia, must battle inaccurate perceptions about political instability and organized crime. He says:
There are so many advantageous reasons [that companies looking to outsource their contact centers] want to look at Colombia, but the first thing someone not familiar with the country thinks is drug cartels, rebels, public-security issues, and kidnappings of Western business people.
While Mexico will remain a "mainstay" of nearshore outsourcing, says Ryan, he does expect to see more companies adding operations in locales like Argentina and Chile.
Another option for American companies with Spanish-speaking customers, according to the article, is blingual home-based agents in the U.S. Among the advantages of home-based agents are the ability to draw from a broader talent pool than is possible with traditional contact centers, as I blogged back in October.
Mexico, in the meantime, is working to position itself as a destination for higher-value outsourcing work. Felipe Calderon became the first Mexican president in 22 years to visit India, when he journeyed to Bangalore in late 2007 to promote closer business relations between the two countries. Two of India's outsourcing giants, Wipro and Infosys, have opened software development centers in Monterrey.