Preparing a Roadmap to Best-Suited Cities

The U.S., the Caribbean, the Philippines… today’s global economy offers a world of call center location options that come with overwhelming amounts of data points for each country and city. It’s easy to get lost trying to narrow the contenders list. So, how do you effectively evaluate call center locations and select the right destination to achieve your business goals? Here are the initial preparation steps that will create a roadmap to your best-suited locations.

Detailed Requirements Offer a Roadmap to Your Best Locations

A very detailed requirements list will help you directly match location characteristics and demographics to the best suited location while also still balancing cost and quality. Your site selection team should identify program needs including key dates, call types, employee skill requirements, service time zones, language needs, projected headcount, seasonal or business demand fluctuation calendars, economic investment budgets, desired labor rates, accessibility to customers/management, real estate needs, infrastructure requirements, and cultural affinity. Investors often overlook cultural affinity as a requirement. How important is customer loyalty and your agent’s ability to connect personally with your customer?

Here are some general guides for mapping needs to demographics:

  • If you need top-quality IT services, target highly literate and well-educated populations with technical colleges in the area.
  • If you have complex customer service calls that need high-level care, target on-shore service or a country with the highest English proficiency ratings and cultural affinity.
  • If you want a multi-channel or omni-channel contact center, target a market with stronger technology infrastructure that can handle heavy chat sessions and social media service.
  • If you need service only via email or chat, consider low-cost markets overseas.
  • If you need a high-functioning sales program (subject to higher agent turnover), target metro areas and high-density urban zones.
  • If you are a business prone to seasonal fluctuations or are in a volatile industry that requires call centers to quickly scale up and down, target larger populations and metro areas.
  • If you are in an industry that requires highly specialized talent, you might also need to target metro areas, larger populations, or areas with technical colleges that align with your needs.

Decision-Making Maps: Ranking Key Elements

Your site selection team will find themselves comparing a virtually endless list of demographic data, but ranking which key operational elements are most important to you will replace madness with a roadmap for decision making. Consider the elements below and rank them using this suggested ranking system. Understanding which demographics directly influence each element will also guide your selection.

Ranking System: Must/Should/Could/Won’t

  • Must: critical to success – if not present, the risk of failure is high
  • Should: important but not completely necessary
  • Could: desirable but not necessary
  • Won’t: least critical, not necessary – keep in mind for future phase

Key Operational Elements and Demographics that Drive Success

  • Talent
    Factors: population, literacy rates, education rates, English proficiency, metro vs. rural areas, types and number of colleges in the area, first-class call centers and operational facilities
  • Cost
    Factors: wage rates, mature vs. emerging markets, metro vs. rural areas, cost of living, technology and infrastructure, economy, ease of doing business in the country
  • Sustainability and Scalability
    Factors: population (including average age and growth vs. retraction), metro vs. rural areas, unemployment rates, number of colleges in the area, first-class call centers and operational facilities
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
    Factors: weather and natural disasters, government and political stability, technology infrastructure and redundancy, mature vs. emerging markets, security and compliance
  • Operational Headaches
    Factors: Accessibility (travel time, cost, jet lag), government and ease of doing business, safety and political stability

These required preparational steps will make the next evaluation phase worlds easier, but you don’t have to face this process alone. EPIC Connections has contact center industry veterans seasoned at guiding site selection process including leading requirements gathering and ranking, researching and selecting locations that drive out risk, as well as performing due diligence and implementing a seamless launch or transition.

Don’t miss our next article in the site selection guide which covers:

  • Emerging vs. mature markets and why newer yet maturing markets might be best for you
  • Rural vs. metro destinations and where to find the “sweet spots”
  • On-Shore vs. near-shore vs. off-shore markets and the advantages and disadvantages of each

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