Nearshore Outsourcing in a Post-COVID Era

6 minute read, posted on 06/28/2021, by VXI Marketing

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During the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) boom at the onset of the 21st century, geographic options for outsourcing have also increased as companies recognized the potential of hiring skilled and enthusiastic employees from countries other than their own. While outsourcing organizations took advantage of the cheaper cost of labor, companies started to up the ante on looking for a passionate and hardworking workforce with (possibly) better communication and comprehension skills. Hence the increased need for nearshore outsourcing.

For the BPO industry, nearshore outsourcing refers to the process of entrusting customer experience-related functions to companies that are located in nearby countries. Nearshore outsourcing has become a clever way to hire employees from another country without sacrificing distance, enthusiasm, cultural similarities, infrastructure, and cost.

While offshore outsourcing had been the general practice for a decade, companies in the US have gradually grasped the challenges and complexities of collaborating with a labor force that demonstrates a slight—if not considerable difference in culture, communication, and language. Also, one of the biggest disadvantages of offshoring is time zone differences as many offshoring companies operate within a 5-12 hour difference from their client.

Current State of Nearshore Outsourcing

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has upset the natural order of business around the globe. While employees were urged to work at home, companies were forced to turn a blind eye to what was perceived as major challenges with the work-at-home setup such as deficient communication, reduced productivity, and diminished security. Some companies were also compelled to lay off a significant number of their workers due to cost-cutting, and some turned to nearshore outsourcing for relief. The work-at-home trend brought about by the pandemic has considerably impacted the nearshore outsourcing industry. At the very least, outsourcing organizations can resolve several issues brought about by the pandemic with nearshore outsourcing.

Even leading research organization Forrester with their recent evaluation argues that nearshore service providers are those offering distinct advantages for digital customer experiences. Forrester analysts recommended selecting the companies that combine digital customer experience with expertise in robotics and business process management.

 The value that nearshore offers

One of several advantages of nearshore outsourcing is that onshore companies can take advantage of short flight times from the US, so executive visits are a breeze. Aside from the distance, parent corporations also enjoy being in the same time zones as their nearshore counterparts. Employees are easier to reach since they do not have to come to work during peculiar periods of the day.

Another benefit of nearshore outsourcing is having a more enthusiastic workforce. Call center jobs are held in high regard in several countries compared to the US, and this generates employees that are generally more passionate and reliable. Nearshore outsourcing can be revenue-generating because a loyal workforce means attrition is generally lower, therefore saving costs in training new employees.

Companies in US neighboring countries also usually exhibit a higher level of engagement with their parent corporations because of similarities in culture. Several countries in the Americas have a solid cultural kinship with the US, and countries that demonstrate exceptional English-speaking skills are excellent nearshore options. Agents from Latin American countries may also be able to help attract the fast-growing Hispanic market in the US.

Most nearshore countries also offer better infrastructure than many alternatives. Infrastructure is vital to companies because it makes life easier for the entire company—bad roads mean that fewer people would want to make that travel from their homes to the office. Poorly constructed structures mean that offices are prone to natural or man-made accidents. Better infrastructure connects households across metropolitan areas to higher quality opportunities for employment, not to mention being cost-effective.

Multinational business organizations are attracted to nearshore outsourcing because operating costs are lower than in the US. Nearshore outsourcing is cheaper, employees are more excited, and the culture of neighboring countries is akin to that of the US more than anywhere else in the world.

A group of VXI employees standing in front of a wall

VXI Guatemala Team

Jamaica and Quatemala

Nearshore outsourcing’s best-kept secrets are perhaps two of the best options for nearshore business in the US, and that is Jamaica and Guatemala. Jamaica is a premiere location that not only offers excellent nearshore services but is also a traveler’s destination boasting year-round warm weather and beautiful tropical beaches. Jamaica boasts an educated workforce with an able and energetic work ethic far surpassing that of all other countries. The labor force is comprised of individuals who are polished, professional, hospitable, and who have excellent communication skills. As the closest and largest English-speaking island to the United States, and part of the former British West Indies, Jamaica offers both cultural and economic advantages.

Guatemala, on the other hand, has the largest student body in the region which makes up a qualified workforce. Guatemala City, where VXI’s local site is strategically located, is the economic, political, and cultural capital of Guatemala. It serves as the main port of entry into the country and offers the highest availability of internet accessibility. Guatemala has the same time zone as North America, making it perfect for them to perform intricate responsibilities to pursue modified projects. Guatemala also shares a cultural affinity with the US, and Guatemalan government policies are oriented to encourage and advance the local BPO industry.

VXI personnel from Jamaica and Guatemala performed admirably during the crisis as they overcame several challenges due to the pandemic to ensure business continuity. Employees played vital roles in launching new programs, embraced schedule adjustments to mitigate staffing gaps, took on numerous functions, and led virtual transformations, all while observing necessary safety procedures such as social distancing and frequent hand sanitizing.

The Next Step

During the pandemic, both of our nearshore sites located in Jamaica and Guatemala handled the disruption brought on by COVID-19 successfully. VXI’s agile customer care teams not only transitioned new lines of business but also excelled in client satisfaction indicators.

As the world looks forward to a post-COVID world, nearshore outsourcing can be a key to shaping a more convenient future for your company. Convenience, collaboration, efficient communication, shorter time zones, and savings in time and cost are all benefits of nearshore outsourcing.

If you are thinking about reaping the numerous benefits of nearshore outsourcing and adding a nearshore delivery location, contact our experts to find out more about setting up your own nearshore team!

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