Opinion

BPO hidden offshore gems part 3 – Mexicali

The hunt is on for new nearshore delivery locations.  And, while the choices in the American nearshore have been aplenty over the past two decades, the need for value is more important than ever.  This is why the northern nearshore offers ripe options in the search for emerging delivery points to service US Spanish and English-speakers.  Already Tijuana has emerged as a mainstream BPO site along the US / Mexico border. Now its easterly cousin of Mexicali has started to capture interest among contact center providers and their clients.  A scalable population, limited existing CX deployments, and close proximity to the US combine to attract interest among American customer management professionals.

The tale of the American nearshore is a good news story.  Over a relatively short period of time, a small number of locations has expanded to encompass countries from the US border to the northern tip of South America.  Since the early 2000s, countries as diverse as Belize, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Colombia have grown into some of the most dynamic delivery points in the region.  But, for many CX players the story continues where it began, in Mexico.

To say that Mexico is a homogenous CX market would be naïve and wrong.  BPOs small and large have been able to leverage its population and geography to develop a network of locations for a multitude of tasks.  However, in many cases this has led to saturation and higher costs in established Mexican outsourcing sites.  This is why forward-looking providers are seeking out the possibility of establishing delivery operations in the Mexicali area.

As noted, there has been a great deal of BPO interest in Tijuana as a border location of choice.  However, with the success of that outsourcing community firmly established, the search for a new border city for CX leads eastward to Mexicali.  There are a number of compelling factors that set this city apart in the customer management context.  One is Mexicali’s size, which sits at over one million people.  This offers new investors a fluid abundance of talent from which to draw agents.  And it is not saturated with competitors.

In fact, a quick glance at Mexicali shows there is room for new contact centers. This is not to say that there is no local CX activity. In fact, established nearshore provider Telvista and the emerging operator One Star Solutions are just two of its players. But, Mexicali’s BPO space is not overheated. As a result, the community has not experienced the wars for corporate real estate and talent that have priced other nearshore destinations out of CX contention.

Talent plays a big part in Mexicali’s CX value proposition.  Several universities and technical institutions ensure a steady stream of graduates for burgeoning contact center operations. And, with the US literally across the road, young people in Mexicali are immersed in American English and culture, helping cement strong interactions with consumers north of the border.  Directly across the US border from Calexico, California, Mexicali’s proximity is also a major advantage for outsourcers searching for a new nearshore site. It is impossible to get closer to the US than Mexicali.

Granted, Mexicali has its challenges.  The city is still heavily focused on manufacturing and has not traditionally been seen as a business services center. The appropriate shift in mindset could take time.  Also, the contact center sector lacks a formal industry body to represent its needs to local authorities. A large airport is some distance away by car. However, as a hidden offshore BPO gem, the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Smart players looking for a nearshore delivery point need not look far — Mexicali lies just across the border.

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