Honduras Retains Significant Nearshore BPO Value

Instability occasionally menaces offshore outsourced contact center delivery. Of course, this can come in many forms, including natural disasters, economic calamity, or changes in government.  When political events occur that interrupt smooth business operations, contact center outsourcers and their clients have a tendency to look for the nearest exit.  Contact centers often rely on business from abroad to keep the lights on, and that can put them in a precarious position when there’s trouble at home. But, in the case of Honduras’ recent election, the BPO community should avoid knee-jerk reactions, and take a measured response.  Notwithstanding the disruptions that occurred in November, this country retains some of the highest contact center value in the American nearshore.

Political upheaval is nothing new in offshore outsourcing, and smart executives recognize that it is a phenomenon they must navigate in order to master customer experience delivery.  Over the past decade, it has impacted Egypt, Turkey and Argentina to varying degrees.  In the case of Honduras, it is the second time in a decade that political events surrounding the country’s leadership have appeared in the headlines of global news agencies. But, as with the events 2009, Honduras’ inherent value for outsourcers should be taken into consideration in a balanced overall view of this location’s potential.

There can be little doubt that Honduras has made its mark in the global offshore BPO context.  Its ongoing growth has been widely discussed over the past several years, and with good reason.  Few locations in the American nearshore can offer providers multiple urban centers of scale from which to deliver multilingual service both digitally and via voice.  So, while other countries in Central America are facing challenges surrounding market saturation because they have only one main city for BPO delivery, the impact on the labor market in Honduras has yet to be felt at the same level.  Equally, the efforts by Grupo Karims to expand their impressive Altia Smart City model throughout the country is gaining traction, as new BPO-targeted commercial real estate initiatives by organizations like Vizion Development and Grupo Jamar promise a further addition to Honduras’ customer experience delivery facilities.

The significant number of bilingual schools in Honduras that have supplied a strong supply of labor to the contact center community remain an important advantage. And the steady levels of investment in infrastructure that successive governments have financed since 2010 have clearly made a positive difference for doing business in the country.  More recently, the deployment of the new investment promotion arm Honduras 2020 has also been significant in facilitating competitiveness for outsourcers.

What is important for outsourcers to consider in the coming weeks following the upcoming Presidential Inauguration is how Honduras reconciles itself to moving forward and ensuring a stable commercial climate.  The levels of violent protests that resulted from the November 2017 vote were unpleasant and disruptive to the BPO sector, so it stands to reason that executives will be watching for signs of further escalation. But, once the oath of office is taken, contact center providers need to let the dust settle and consider the fundamental reasons why Honduras has emerged as one of the most prized delivery points in the hemisphere.