There are times to play it safe, and times for a riskier approach.  When it comes to luring new CX investment to jurisdictions, economic development officers (EDO) can no longer take a business-as-usual approach.  The need for locations to differentiate themselves has never been so intense.  This means ensuring a thorough, multidimensional approach to investment promotion, one that gets attention but is also substantive.  There is an appetite among BPO operators to find new, quality delivery points — thus, no city, state or even country can sit idly by.

Numerous drivers have outsourcers seeking new offshore locations for CX delivery.  Probably the main motivator since the start of the pandemic is diversification. Covid has taught outsourcing operators that no customer management strategy can realistically rely on one point of delivery.  Natural disasters, public unrest, or epidemics can threaten operations, so a network of reliable, quality-oriented sites is required to ensure business continuity.

This interest in diversification to mitigate risk has not waned over the past two years. If anything, more than ever it has become more of a catalyst for offshore growth. In fact, it is no longer just the large, global contact center operators that are expanding their presence overseas. Rather, the willingness of emerging and mid-sized operators to expand abroad has been pronounced in the past few years.  Scottish BPO Ascensos opened in Turkey. GlowTouch moved to the Dominican Republic. And, most recently, Ventrica and Iterum Connections expanded into Jamaica.

The list could go on. But it points to the need for EDOs to up their respective games to win their share of these investments.  The reality is that in 2022 there is a pent-up desire for many BPO executives to get back on the road.  In many cases, this means the need to get up close and personal with potential new delivery points.  And EDOs have a major role to play.

First of all, with more demand for offshore and nearshore locations than at any other time in recent memory, both established and emerging destinations must find a way to stand out. Edgier materials and media campaigns based on the current needs of providers and their clients are a good start.  By contrast, generic and recycled CX value propositions are likely to go directly into the recycling bin.

Visibility at in-person conferences, which appear ready for a resurrection this year, cannot be underestimated.  Equally, these investment promotion efforts are certain to require funding for inward visits.  As executive travel resumes through 2022, the need to get a decision-maker’s feet on the street will become only more important across the nearshore and offshore.  Lobbying lawmakers for the required funding needed to bring in warm CX BPO investment leads is essential.  Bringing in key influencers from the analyst community should also be included, as this will generate much needed publicity in the form of research coverage and potentially-favorable blogs.

Lobbying policymakers need not stop there. EDOs should leverage high-level government officials.  How better to show a city, state or country’s seriousness about luring new BPO investment than having the Mayor, Governor or Premier on hand to actively tout a location’s virtues?  Recently, the bar was set quite high by the Prime Minister of Barbados, The Honourable Mia Mottley, who took time out of her schedule to speak directly with outsourcing leaders from EMEA and the Americas in a recent virtual session co-organized with Ryan Strategic Advisory.  This type of credibility is essential in showing prospective investors how serious a location is about winning their business.  Moving forward, other destinations would be wise to follow this lead if they are to appeal to BPO executives on the hunt for a new delivery point.

Image from Jernej Furman used under Creative Commons license