The Economic Intelligence Unit states, “The concern with a lack of creativity is particularly acute in Asia and Latin America, indicating a feeling that workers in these regions, in particular, are conditioned to think in straight lines, and are less able to adapt to changing circumstances.”
Speaking of how Genpact's client feels about their chosen locations -Juarez, Mexico and Guatemala, Mary Korthuis, vice president and operations lead, Mexico and Guatemala, Genpact said, “Drug cartel-related violence and related media stories has caused concern with some customers and their own security organizations have limited/eliminated their travel to Juarez. Other customers are fine and continue to travel in and out with no concern. Besides the city issues, customers are pleased with the near shore location; easy access for mail pick up/drop off; facility literally within a “stone’s throw” from the US; easy hiring of English speaking resources who go back and forth across the border themselves so they are integrated into US culture. Technology is all in the US, so for all intensive purposes – on-shore functionality at near-shore prices.”
Don Berryman, general manager of Americas at Sitel enunciated, “Sitel is always on the lookout for oversaturation in a market where we are competing for resources with our competitors or local providers. However, an interesting development is surfacing where our clients desire to enter markets that we see as slightly oversaturated. This may be happening because of regional promotion directly to our clients or even the loss of expertise within the contact center industry. The key is creating a great work environment and offering incentives like continuing education to become the most desirable place to work in these areas. But, at the same time, you need to consider other markets so you don’t saturate an area. We work with our clients to provide an honest assessment of the situation.”
Potential entrants to Latin America should consider the following:
Rather than a company-by country approach, companies should adopt a regional, networked approach. They need to capture the right skill in the right cities.
Differentiated advantages should encapsulate cultural similarities and the physical proximity part. These advantages should be promoted aggressively on how they can translate into real business value.
Berryman added, “You must remember this is not a domestic US location. There are many cultural and sociological similarities but they still don’t have the infrastructure of the typical U.S. location. So customers will not have the same experience they would with a US call center. Expectations have to be aligned to the uniqueness of the environment, similar to when we developed our presence in the Philippines or India.”
He added, “Agents and front line supervisors are the foundation of our business and Sitel always builds our operations from the ground up. We have an outstanding real estate group at Sitel, and they do a great job of analyzing these locations and markets. In some cases, we are looking at the quality of people, quality of education and the support in the call center. Other times, Sitel looks at the role of government to see if they are active in terms of subsidies, credits or opportunities for job training in preparation for positions in a new call center. Sitel believes it’s not just the quantity and quality of the people; it’s also the participation of the government on a local and national level that can elevate a destination’s capabilities.”
Focus on the services that are best provided in this region and also carve out new niches that may do well. Compete vigorously in the local market and the global service delivery playing fields to mitigate risk and enhance economic benefit.
Juan Diaz, consulting manager, Wipro Consulting Services, author of the recent report (by Wipro Consulting Services) titled Latin America- A New World Option for Offshoring stated, “I would recommend a company that is looking at setting up their operations is that they need to have local support. As they are the ones who are operating in this location, they are the ones who know the region and they are the ones who know which are the countries that bring the best benefit depending on what you want to do.”