Call Centers in Latin America: Soon to Be Irrelevant?

Speaking at the IMT Contact Forum this week, Juan Manuel Gonzalez from Frost & Sullivan has some actionable recommendations for the digital transformation of the Latam contact center industry.

juan manuel gonzalez contact center industry

The Latin American contact center industry may be teetering on the brink of real success in the global market, but it still needs that sharp push of innovation to send it over the edge.

Speaking at the IMT Contact Forum in Mexico City this week, Juan Manuel Gonzalez, Research Manager and Latin America Associate Fellow at Frost & Sullivan, broke down some of the key recommendations for providers that should be considering or embarking on a digital transformation.

juan manuel gonzalez“In contact centers, Latin America still has an excessive dependence on the voice channel,” he told the audience. “The social media channel is only penetrating 1.1%, so why is it not growing? Because for most outsourcing companies in this region, social media does not represent a captive market.”

According to the slides presented by Gonzalez, BPO in the Latin American region is now a $9.6 billion industry, with 7.0% annual growth, and 820,200 agents, with the top five companies representing 41.1% of the market. In the nearshore region, Colombia is fast becoming a relevant player in addressing some demand from the US, claiming 6.6% of the market.

On top of that, new technologies are starting to see some real play, with Gonzalez predicting rapid growth in the face of new opportunity. “The Big Data Analytics market will be worth more than $3 billion by the end of 2017, but that only represents 1% of today’s information that is currently being analyzed by humans, so there is a huge opportunity to better understand customers through the right analytics approach.”

So what needs to change in order for the Latin American contact center industry to start dipping into this massive opportunity?

“Companies need to innovate and transform; Latin America’s perception of outsourcing is still leaning toward reducing cost, but the importance of customer experience and digital transformation is just as high,” Gonzalez explained. “Your company must show that it is ready to transform to accept this reality.”

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Gonzalez predicts that nearshoring will create new business worth $1 billion in Latin America by the year 2020, which will all come from demand in the US. “To be a part of this, you need a commercial office in the U.S., so look for partnerships with medium-sized providers in the States that will allow you to enter that market in time to reap the benefits.”

In terms of omnichannel and analytics, Gonzalez sees that the difficult part is integrating the data and information you collect into more channels, but it must be achieved in order to offer a better experience to customers. He suggests using analytics to process your masses of information, which can then be used to offer new services or products to the right customers.

Finally, Gonzalez points out a distinct lack of focus on vertical industries. “Companies are not yet customizing the vertical message,” he explained. “So, they need to better understand customers and create marketing campaigns based on vertical needs.”

Despite certain geopolitical concerns surrounding the United States, Latin American contact centers should take heed of these actionable recommendations and start applying them today before the opportunity passes.

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