By Andrew Clarke, Vice-President, Business Development, Advantage Communications Inc.
They admit that name recognition is still an issue, since the nation’s profile as a tourist destination tends to overshadow its reputation as a BPO destination, says Diane Edwards, president of the Jamaican trade and investment promotion agency JAMPRO. Despite this, there is growing interest in the Caribbean island’s BPO services and the country expects to double the size of the sector by 2020.
Jamaica has positioned itself as an emerging contact centre market over the past decade, as infrastructure and connectivity greatly improve. An increasing number of global businesses are choosing outsource their business needs to contact centres in Jamaica. The majority have set up shop in the Greater Kingston-Portmore area, but centres can be found all over the island.
Several appealing factors of the region have led to this growing industry. Companies like Target, Ford, Capital One, and General Motors have successfully outsourced to Jamaica and have found the work ethic of the Jamaican people to be superior to other near and offshore locations. Jamaicans have also been noted for their strong negotiation skills leading to lower error or rework rates and more first contact resolution.
Education and Labour
Jamaica boasts four major post-secondary institutions and graduates an average of 6,700 people per year. Business and accounting make up the largest group of majors, with the technology trade comprising the next largest. This stream of education bodes well for vendors hoping to outsource more sophisticated business needs. In addition to this traditional education, many contact centres also put their agents through accent training to ensure they are clear and articulate when they answer calls for a client company.
As a result of the excellent exchange rate, this highly educated and skilled workforce is accessible and affordable.
Investment in the Industry
According to an article published in The Gleaner, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Business Process Outsourcing are currently a major area of focus industries for the Development Bank of Jamaica. The DBJ told the gleaner that over US$23 million has been invested in the ICT and BPO sectors, an investment expected to created 11,000 jobs.
It’s no secret that outsourcing to foreign countries has gained a less than positive reputation among customers. Jamaica breaks that mould with an excellent reputation for positive customer communications. The substantial investment by private and government organizations in the Jamaican contact centre industry is proof of that excellent reputation.
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