Outsourcing to a nearshore location is becoming more popular, especially in
the past year. However, some businesses are still skeptical of the unfamiliar
territory. We’re here to put you at ease, dispelling 5 common myths about
nearshore call centers.
1. Unstable Infrastructure
Efficient transportation and quality connectivity are high on the list of must-haves when considering your outsourcing partner. Your call center may have skilled employees, but if they don’t have a reliable means to get to work or a stable Internet connection, they don’t have the basics of what makes a dependable BPO. While this is certainly a point you should include in your RFP, you don’t have to worry about Nearshore infrastructure like you might think. Especially in capital cities like Bogotá, Colombia where the call center industry plays a big role, the city makes a point to invest in infrastructure.
In many cases, the public transportation system is better than what you’ll find in the US. Living in Miami, although traffic was rough the metro wasn’t any more convenient. It had limited range, and rounded corners like snail. In Bogotá, the Transmilenio (their version of an above ground subway system) covers 80% of urban transport needs. This system works to reduce regular traffic, and also provide a reliable means of transportation for all citizens.
Nearshore countries also invest in telecommunications when the call center industry is a main source of income. Bogotá, for example, has a redundant, high-quality telecommunications infrastructure, and nearly 100% electric utility coverage. According to Invest in Bogotá, the level of investment in Colombia’s telecommunications puts them in the top 10 countries in the world for reliable coverage. From personal experience, we had no issues moving our 400+ agents to a work-from-home structure in just under 2 weeks, with little to no interruption to our client’s daily business.
2. It’s Dangerous
Crime exists in any city, but you shouldn’t assume the worst of your nearshore neighbors. The same rules should apply when traveling anywhere you’re unfamiliar with; don’t wonder off alone at night and be mindful of your surroundings. That being said, there is no reason to fear visiting a city like Bogotá, Colombia. While it’s true that this city made a name for itself for violence in the mid-90’s, Bogotá has gone the extra mile to change its crime rate and its image since that time. You aren’t going to find a Netflix series about increased security and investing in infrastructure, so I understand why some are skeptical.
When visiting, most reputable call centers will also provide you with transportation and an escort to make your stay more confortable. I’ve traveled to Bogotá on my own many times over the past 4 years as a young female, and Callzilla made sure I felt a sense of security every step of the way. Just like for our clients, our trusted driver, Liliana, would pick me up from the airport and escort me to the hotel, office, or restaurant in the evening for dinner with the team. You may also be surprised to find how high quality your typical hotel chains are in nearshore countries compared to the US.
3. You can lose control of your business
With outsourcing of any kind, you are giving up a certain amount of control. If this is something you’re worried about, it’s important to partner with an outsourcer that gives you easy access, skilled staff, and a culture that can share in your brand’s vision. We discuss this in detail in our Complete Guide to Outsourcing.
While some believe you don’t have control with a nearshore center, it’s actually a great place to look for your outsourcing needs. Being just a short plane ride away, you’re able to visit your call center for onboarding, annual reviews, new product training, etc. and treat it like any other business trip you’d take within the US. Bogotá is only a 3-hour plane ride from my home in Miami, which is the same distance as when I’m visiting my family in Michigan. Although the majority of our clients prefer that we run the show, we have a few that visit us 4 or 5 times a year. The location makes for a flexible relationship based on your company’s needs and management style.
You will find that nearshore countries share a similar culture, and even consume some US products and media. They are attuned to US commercial and popular culture, and can easily adapt to your brand vision.
4. More Security Risks to Customer’s Data
This is not necessarily true, as many nearshore centers subscribe to the same security standards as companies in the US. Callzilla is PCI and SOC 2 Type II compliant, which relates directly to data security.
Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard is an information security standard for organizations that handle branded credit cards from the major card schemes. This is a common standard in nearshore call centers, but will usually be located on their website with the certification logo. This certification comes with strict regulations, and there will be processes in place to uphold them. For example, our call center does not allow phones, pens, or paper on the call center floor. We also remove the copy/paste ability on computers, so there is no way to easily transfer customer data outside of the appropriate program.
A company that has achieved SOC 2 Type II certification has proven its system is designed to keep its clients’ sensitive data secure. While PCI is specific to customer’s credit card data, SOC 2 Type II covers a broader range of processes that hold, store, and/or process customer data. If your call center has these certifications, you can feel confident that your customer’s data is as safe as with the brand next door.
5. Employees Are Not Adequately Skilled
You will find plenty of nearshore call centers located in cities that place a priority on education. In Colombia, not only is there a large pool of educated workers, but they also come from varying industries with different skillsets.
Colombia spends an above-average percentage of its GDP on education. 42% of 25-64 year olds in Colombia attained at least upper secondary education, and we see even higher trends in the call center industry as students consider it to be a great way to gain experience in their field. In our call center, 38% of agents have completed their secondary education and 25% are currently taking University classes. Due to the large pool of educated workforce, we’re able to successfully service industries such as retail, finance, tech, beauty, and home goods.
For more information on nearshore outsourcing, feel free to contact our team.