Industry Commentary

BPO Opportunity Ripe in Mexico’s Border Communities

By June 19, 2020January 10th, 2024No Comments

As the world continues to recover from over three months of unprecedented chaos, contact center executives are contemplating how best to adjust their geographic delivery platforms.  The discussion around offshoring is evolving rapidly, and in the context of companies servicing US consumers, new nearshore alternatives are a priority.  It is in this context that the Mexican border is gaining more interest as a delivery point from which BPOs can find value.  Given its proximity, alignment with US consumers, and labor market flexibility, the advantages of using Mexico’s border communities are notable and should not be ignored.

Granted, the American nearshore has expanded massively over the past ten years.  What began as a Mexico-or-bust dynamic has steadily evolved to a buffet of alternatives in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.  Countries not considered a decade back have rapidly emerged as logical alternatives to established outsourcing delivery points, based on value and affordability. Consider Honduras and Colombia, both of which have become established nearshore powerhouses since 2010.

But, in the words of Canada’s songbird, everything old is new again. Today Mexico continues to offer BPOs ample nearshore possibilities, and nowhere is this more evident than along the US frontier in the form of Mexican border communities.

Mexico has long been a source of strong delivery locations for the US market. Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City all have solid track records in attracting nearshore outsourcing investment.  However, in cities that neighbor the US, there has traditionally been less contact center activity, especially by larger providers.  Thinking logically, moving into the post-pandemic period outsourcers need to place Mexican border communities front of mind for their US nearshoring needs.

Consider the strong propensity for bilingualism found in Mexican cities that line up next to the US.  Anecdotal evidence among contact center operators along the US / Mexican border indicates that the target agent demographic comes to the hiring table with English skills that are not only fluent, but aligned with the popular vernacular spoken by their American neighbors.

Empathy is another important factor in favor of servicing US consumers from along the Mexican border.  Mexico has always been a location where alignment between agents and American end-users is strong. But this is magnified among Mexicans that in some cases live within within a few hundred yards of the border. They have a heightened level of awareness of American commercial and popular culture, and this has a positive impact on interactions with US end-users.  Also, accessibility cannot be understated in the context of this discussion.  Being able to cross the border to a nearshore contact center delivery site by land is a distinct advantage over locations further afield.

The value opportunity is one that BPOs should consider as well.  As mentioned above, few global operators have set up contact centers along the Mexican border with the US. The majority of existing nearshore work is being done by local providers, players that include Redial BPO in Tijuana and One Star Solutions in Mexicali. Both these companies have demonstrated the solid value that can be derived by BPOs in this region.

Mexican border cities offer outsourcers looking for a new nearshore delivery point an alternative to saturated contact center geographies elsewhere in the Americas. They also boast fluid pools of bilingual talent from which to draw. But this opportunity may not last long. The recent acquisition of First Kontact by Advantage Communications highlighted the Mexican border’s growing attractiveness for customer experience delivery.  Thus, BPO players need to act fast in order to secure their position along what is becoming the nearshore’s newest location of choice.