Cost continues to be a major concern when it comes to finding a new base of operations for a contact center. In the past years, however, many international bodies that give out BPO destination rankings have been putting equal — if not more — weight on factors other than cost when it comes to choosing a new location. Aside from offering affordable labor, a city that aims to attract new businesses should possess a host of facilities that will make it an advantageous option for investors.
When reviewing choices, investors should ask the following questions to find out if a particular city can serve as an ideal location for the contact center they want to establish:
- What is the skill level of the talent pool in the given city? There are several metrics that can be used to measure the skill level of workers in a potential location. A good indication of skill level is the high cultural affinity between the labor pool and the customers the contact center is supposed to service, as well as average TOEFL scores, and annual tertiary graduate output.
- Can the local workforce sufficiently support the staffing needs of the business? Look into the number of annual college graduates and skilled workers in and around the area. Will it be enough to meet the company’s current and future staffing requirements from both the quality and scale perspectives? Check the availability of programs that aim to train contact center employees; these can help boost the skill and quantity of contact center employees in the city.
- What’s the current status of the physical infrastructure in the area? The quality of the physical infrastructure in the city, such as roads, airports, hotels, and transportation options, will greatly affect the culture and day-to-day operations of a contact center. A class-A office building is also a must; compromising on this aspect can lead to an unsafe workplace and added expenditure due to extensive repairs and upgrades.
- Does the city offer stable and reliable technology infrastructure? Unreliable power systems and connectivity networks can cause outages, which can disrupt the operation of any internet-dependent business. High bandwidth costs can also cut into a contact center’s revenues. It is best that you set your eyes on cities with reliable facilities and services, back-up infrastructure, and solid crisis and emergency plans in place.
- What’s the current geopolitical status of the country or city? In the same way, a geopolitical environment that’s prone to change can get in the way of regular business functions. A place that’s on the brink of social unrest and frequently receives travel advisories might be too unstable to be a profitable base of operations.
- Are there information and communication technology (ICT) groups that can assist investors? ICT-focused government bodies and outsourcing service consultants can facilitate the establishment of a contact center by providing investors with all the pertinent data they need in order to properly evaluate their options. In addition to assisting in research, these groups can provide investors with opportunities to network with other businesses in different industries.
- Are there special economic zones in the city, and if there are, what advantages do they offer? Special economic zones typically offer incentives in order to attract businesses to set up operations in the city. These incentives may include reduced taxes, discounted training costs, and tax exemptions, just to name a few. See if your prospective cities have economic zones and compare the benefits offered in each.
The questions above will help investors find a cost-effective operations base and connect them with a skilled workforce that will meet the needs and requirements of their business. These key elements, coupled with a business-enabling environment in a given city, can greatly reduce the stress and speed up the process of establishing a contact center.