Philippines, India, Mexico or Jamaica? Which is for you?

As the staffing environment in the US becomes more and more challenging, it is more important for you to take advantage of labor in other countries. But each country has its own set of uses and challenges. As I see it most of the choices come down to the Philippines, India, Mexico or Jamaica. Sure we can talk about Nicaragua, St Lucea, Panama and others but most of the call centers there have the the biggest challenges from governments to safe access. So let’s focus on the top 4. 

Language and culture

The biggest issues in the Philippines and India are accents and lack of access to Americans and the American Culture.  Americans have trouble with the accents from people in these countries. The lack of access to US culture and people is also a big issue as they make speak the language but they do not get the culture, creating an even bigger communication barrier. In my opinion this is a deal breaker for all services as even if the team is not doing call center work you as an American must still train and manage them. And that communication barrier is still there even in non phone workers.

Mexico and Jamaica both have access to the people and cultures of the US. Proximity allows for high volumes of tourists to these tropical locations. Jamaica has millions of tourists and hundreds of cruise ship landings each year. Jamaica also has US cable so they are watching the same TV shows that Americans and Canadians watch daily. Mexico has call centers just over the border in California. And that allows them to have a full understanding of US Culture. 

Access from the USA

Well this is easy the Philippines is 14 hours from NY. India is 19 hours from NY. Both Mexico and Jamaica are just a short 1-3 hour flight from all US Cities. 

Governmental challenges 

Mexico has a lot of challenges that are getting worse with the current POTUS. Immigration issues have turned the border towns into places to avoid yet most of the call centers are located in those areas. Also the cartels control most of the Mexican border so this also complicates doing business in Mexico. 

Pricing in the Philippines has been going up as much as 100% over the last couple of years pushing many clients to other countries. Pricing in India has also seen a rise but not to the percentages in the Philippines.The government in India is favorable to the outsourcing model with US and many other countries. 

Jamaica has thousands of call centers and it is the number 2 industry for the island behind only tourism. The government is dedicated and supported by the Call center industry. Pricing has been somewhat stable for the last few years. Slow wage increases are expected over the next few years. 

Staff quality

For phone work it is clear that due to the communication issues stated earlier that India and Philippines are not going to be successful and also likely cause the Americans to become aggravated by the accents. Mexico and Jamaica are great locations for phone work. Mexico has more Spanish speaking agents for sure but many of the Spanish call center workers in Jamaica are from Cuba and have college educations. 

For BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) projects that do NOT have a phone component India will win every time if you can get past the communications issues. Philippines will do well for BPO work as well. Very little BPO work is done in Mexico and Jamaica has college grads working many types of BPO projects. 

Do your due diligence and decide which is best for you if you have questions call me at 904-347-5901 

Phillip W. Duff