Sourcing a high-quality front-office BPO delivery location is never straightforward. Now, with more alternatives than at any point in the history of the industry, standing out among the options is crucial in gaining mindshare among the executives pulling outsourcing’s decision-making levers. It is within this spirit that Grand Bahama is becoming more attractive to third-party contact center service players looking for a balance between proximity, labor quality and price. This Caribbean jurisdiction remains relatively untouched in the context of BPO, but is gaining interest by investors and influencers alike. Of importance for those firms considering Grand Bahama will be to ascertain their own front-line requirements relative with the niche skills that the island has to offer, in order to find the right commercial model.
There are a number of reasons why Grand Bahama remains a consideration for outsourcing professionals on the hunt for a new location in which to deliver front-line services. This was on show recently for both analysts and prospective outsourcing investors in an inward mission put on by the Grand Bahama Port Authority. Obvious to all on this visit was that one of the location’s clearest benefits is its proximity in the American nearshore. A flight of under 45 minutes to Fort Lauderdale or Miami, or a relatively fast ferry trip from these same cities, means straightforward access to the island’s capital of Freeport. This is crucial in the current era in which BPO and enterprise executives are eschewing long travel times, and it places Grand Bahama in a competitive position with many of its Caribbean outsourcing competitors.
English capabilities are a given in Grand Bahama, and of obvious interest for outsourcing players (and their clients) eager to source a new forum for these language skills. One thing that immediately strikes first time visitors to Grand Bahama is the relatively flat accent of residents when speaking English. This would ideally make for straightforward interactions with Caribbean and North American consumers, but as well for ones supporting English-language end-users in other parts of the world.
It is this offshore element that in many ways makes Grand Bahama attractive from a financial perspective. Prospective investors cannot help but be intrigued by the location’s business-friendly financial framework. Taxes are low (for both personal and business rates), and this is alongside favorable laws that make importing equipment and repatriating profits straightforward. Moreover, the residency visa processes are streamlined. As a result, Grand Bahama has already managed to draw in one outsourcer, itelbpo, which is the largest home-grown third-party services provider in the Caribbean, and the most recent contact center investor in Grand Bahama capital of Freeport.
Still, prospective investors need to manage their expectations in Grand Bahama accordingly. With a small population of less than 100,000 people, this jurisdiction will not accommodate large-scale contact center deployments, and it may be better suited to more specialized support for targeted, higher-value industries that require smaller numbers of workstations, such as financial services, health care or technology. This smaller labor pool also has an impact on pricing, which is said to be higher than neighboring Jamaica (the hub of English-language activity in the region). Outsourcers and their clients will also need to ascertain Grand Bahama’s feasibility for supporting the UK and Australia / New Zealand, due to what could become complicated time-zone management. However, as it stands, there are compelling reasons to investigate this American nearshore upstart. Few relatively untouched territories remain in the offshoring context, and finding undiscovered value is an advantage, especially for mid-size and specialty BPOs.