New Outsourcing Hot Spot: The Caribbean

The worldwide market for customer service outsourcing is set to grow from $8.4 billion in 2004 to $12.2 billion in 2007. According to Art Hall, vice president of sales and customer care operations for Alpharetta, GA-based NetBank, Caribbean countries will benefit from much of this growth. Hall addressed this during his session “Market Trends That Impact Contact Center Strategy” at the National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment (NCOF) last week.

St. Lucia, Jamaica, and Barbados are among the sun-soaked countries becoming more attractive to U.S. companies seeking to outsource, because they are more culturally aligned with North America and the language barrier is less of a hurdle than in countries such as India. What’s more, the contact center agent population in the Caribbean has more than doubled to 25,000 during the past two years. Jamaica has the most contact centers in the Caribbean, with more than 8,000 agents as of the end of 2004.

There are a few drawbacks to outsourcing to the Caribbean rather than to Asia. For one thing, the labor pool is smaller. For another, labor costs are higher. The labor cost per agent is Jamaica is roughly $14-$18, compared with $9-$11 in India and $12-$13 in Mexico.

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