This is the second in a series of articles offering a guide to help your decision-making process. Read the first article here.
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. So, how do you effectively evaluate call center locations and select the right destination to achieve your business goals? Here are some market dynamics, considerations, and tips to help simply your decision.
The Basics: On-Shore vs. Near-Shore vs. Off-Shore
On-Shore: sites located within the U.S.A.
- Advantages: No language or cultural barriers, ease of doing business, accessibility
- Disadvantages: High-cost markets
Near-Shore: sites located in close physical proximity to the U.S.A.—typically Canada, Mexico, Latin American and Caribbean countries
- Advantages: Accessibility, close cultural affinity, ease of doing business
- Disadvantages: Mid-range-cost markets
Off-Shore: sites located far from the U.S., typically the Philippines, India, and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as Europe
- Advantages: Low-cost markets
- Disadvantages: Accessibility, language and cultural barriers, ease of doing business
Emerging Markets vs. Mature Markets
Market maturation directly affects the price and quality of service. Every city is unique, and while the larger country/city may be considered a mature market, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a smaller population nearby that offers the benefits of an emerging market. This is often considered a “sweet spot” that some investors intentionally seek.
New and Emerging Markets
- Advantages: low-cost markets where small and mid-size outsourcing partners thrive
- Disadvantages: less sophisticated technology and infrastructure, potentially longer learning curves and project launch timeframes—some of which can be offset by partnering with outsourcers with years of experience in the local market
- Advantages: a “safer bet,” rapid-launch capabilities, sophisticated technology and infrastructure, talent-rich regions with a history of success in service delivery
- Disadvantages: higher costs, highly saturated markets create challenges in operational scalability and sustainability—success often requires strategic programs that address employee attrition/retention
These markets may still be considered newer but have had time to evolve and prosper. Some prefer these markets because they have proven operations, lower costs, and the quality is increasing year after year. Signs of a maturing market include:
- Increasing service costs
- Large global outsourcing providers are beginning to move in
- Large technology and infrastructure investments
- Government liaison organizations and programs now offer assistance or incentives to outsourcing investors
Rural vs. Metro Destinations
Metro areas and high-density urban zones are perfect for sales programs (known for higher employee turnover) and seasonal fluctuations or highly volatile industries that require call centers to scale up and down with customer demands or ever-changing business needs. By contrast, rural areas offer lower labor and overall operational costs, but beware. If it’s too rural, scalability and sustainability quickly become an issue. Some investors strive for the “perfect” mix of country-style living and family-oriented communities—sometimes in the outer regions just beyond large cities.
Now that you have a solid understanding of key market dynamics, you should be able to narrow your contenders to a short list, where you will want to start digging deeper with site visits and due diligence. Teasing out nuances between top cities can be challenging, and contact center industry veterans offer help both in these later phases or in managing your entire decision-making process from start to finish.
Warehouse Retailer Makes Smooth Transition to New Location and Reduces RFP Process by 3 Months
When a warehouse retailer was unsatisfied with their existing call center partner and location, they partnered with EPIC Connections to both evaluate other near-shore locations that could offer even greater ROI and also to explore new outsourcing partnerships. EPIC reduced the RFP process by three months, ensuring each decision and site visit was an effective step in identifying the finalist city and partner. In the end, executives felt confident they had conducted a comprehensive inspection and made a smart investment. After the selection, EPIC continued to support operational negotiations to confirm the best contract, service level agreements, and long-term outcome. Read the case study.
Don’t miss our next article in the site selection guide series which covers:
- Site visits and how to get the most out of your trip
- Due diligence steps that drive out risk
- Negotiations: timing, critical knowledge and conflicts of interest