6 Emerging Nearshore Contact Center Locations

6 Emerging Nearshore Contact Center Locations

Author: Heather Littlejohns | Director-Operations
at Aditya Birla Minacs

Selecting a country, region, state and city of interest in Latin America, or any region of the world, involves a significant process inclusive of tireless research, face-to-face communication and visits as well as validation of assumptions and confirmation of facts. In an earlier blog post, I described the site selection process in detail. In this post, I’ll give you the straight goods on some emerging locations that you might want to consider for your next contact center expansion.

Choosing the Right Nearshore Location!
Choosing the Right Nearshore Location!


Montego Bay, Jamaica offers access to the largest English speaking population in the Caribbean; strong cultural affiliation with the West and a highly educated population. Contact center work is desirable and working in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is a competitive and viable alternative to employment in the tourist industry. A contact center career provides stable employment in an office environment, benefits, incentives and advancement opportunities. At Minacs, our Jamaica team services Canadian and US clients and is consistently ranked number one in customer satisfaction when benchmarked against their competitors. Our clients view Montego Bay as a “closer to home” nearshore option. A strong recommendation can be made for Canadians and Europeans alike seeking solid customer service experiences through a team of service oriented representatives that have excellent soft skills. Excellent examples of leadership in this country come through the Bank of Nova Scotia’s international presence and JAM PRO’s commitment to Foreign Direct Investment.


it is critical to understand that the following factors exist in each selection:

  • Highly developed technology infrastructure
  • Comparable and qualified labor pool to that of Canada and the United States through education and volumes of people who are underemployed and unemployed
  • Significant emphasis by local government on the BPO services sector and its growth
  • Democratically elected government; strong affiliation with the “West” and progressive strategies leading to consideration as top “emerging” markets
  • Strong education system; English and multilingual
  • Competitive pricing, low attrition and a “niche” in each market
  • Safe and secure working environment comparable to that of any other major urban center. For example, Chicago has higher crime rates than any city selected here.

2013 Ones to watch

2013 Ones to watch

 Sunday, January 13, 2013

Embracing the four Y’s

Yoni Epstein is looking forward to his second happy landing. The second time, we reckon, will be a lot easier.

Epstein and his wife Lisa gave birth to Island Outsourcers six months ago and hit the ground running in the quest to “show clients why Jamaica has the reputation of being one of the best near-shore outsourcing options in the world”. This as a result of the advanced telecoms infrastructure, experienced workforce, low attrition rates, cultural affinity, proximity to North America, and significant savings to customers.

delivering a biological bundle of joy, is to expand their 11,000 sq ft-facility to a self-contained 20,000 sq ft- state-of-the-art Contact Centre. There are, too, plans to expand outside of Jamaica.

Expect to hear more on their four Y’s: quality, integrity, reliability and family. Epstein, wearing the hat of chairman of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, will bring more awareness to Jamaica as the near-shore destination to meet outsourcing needs.

Yoni Epstein


Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle/The-Dream-Team_13358802#ixzz2HsBeVzxo

ATL Rolls Out Online Shopping Site

Avia Collinder, Business Writer

Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) has invested upwards of US$2 million in new online shopping portal which, if it captivates sought-after markets among Jamaicans in the diaspora, is meant to drive up sales by 30 per cent in a year.

Ian Neita, assistant deputy chairman for the ATL Group, said last Wednesday that ATL has hired Island Outsourcers Limited, located in the Montego Bay Free Zone, to be the interface for ATL’s online customers.

The new online service, which will permit shopping around the clock, is coupled with free islandwide delivery, Neita said. Deliveries will be done by ATL.

“We have spent US$2 million in acquiring the infrastructure and rolling out the technology. We expect that it will expand our reach, especially where we do not have a physical presence in the form of a store. We project at least a significant impact on sales of at least 30 per cent in growth,” Neita told Sunday Business.

“It is primarily about giving a new opportunity for our customers to connect with us. It is a much friendlier way of representing information and gives an opportunity through an e-commerce platform to shop.”

Demand from the Diaspora

Neita said demand for the service so far has been coming from the diaspora.

“Jamaicans living overseas do shop for appliances for families here. It is a real opportunity for us. Jamaicans living here will also be able to shop and have goods delivered to their home,” he said.

The new online service also positions ATL to compete more effectively with rivals Singer Jamaica and Courts Jamaica, which also have online shopping sites. The appliance company, founded by Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, tends to cater to higher income scales than Courts and Singer.

Neita says ATL is distinguished from its competitors by its promise of servicing what it sells and a maintenance schedule for large appliances which is strictly adhered to.

Products available online at atljamaica.com include air conditioners, generators, pumps, and commercial laundry, kitchen and exhaust equipment; and for the household – washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves and solar water heaters.

ATL only “imports into Jamaica the appliances which are manufactured and tested for our conditions”.

50 per cent increase in sales

ATL Group does not disclose financial information, but Neita said the appliance division recorded at least a 50 per cent increase in sales.

“We had a very good financial year,” he said.

“We had at least 50 per cent growth year over year driven by marketing, product offers and the rapid service, which is our hallmark.”

The appliance company does business elsewhere in the Caribbean, but is currently contemplating physical expansion into territories where sister operation Sandals Resorts International operates hotels, but there is no timeline on the project.

“We do operate in other islands. We have installed equipment in hotels in other territories within the eastern Caribbean. Even though we don’t have a physical presence, we have procured, installed and serviced, especially for laundry, bars and kitchens,” said Neita.

“Expanding our physical stores is a natural progression for us. That is always something we are contemplating,” he said.


Yoni Epstein Bats For Business Sector

Yoni Epstein, chairman of the newly formed Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica, launched September 20, at the offices of JAMPRO in Kingston. - Contributed
Yoni Epstein, chairman of the newly formed Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica, launched September 20, at the offices of JAMPRO in Kingston. – Contributed

Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer

Members of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector have formed an umbrella group, the Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) with the support of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the national investment and export promotion agency.

The BPO/ICT sector which is currently valued at more than US$200 million ($18 billion), and employs more than 12,000 persons has brought together representatives from BPO/ICT companies based in Montego Bay, Kingston and St Catherine. According to Yoni Epstein, chairman of BPIAJ, one of their main aims is job creation and by extension ensuring the growth of the sector.

“Many of the players in our industry do not have a voice. The BPIAJ will act as a lobby for the right policies and tools to ensure the growth of the sector. We also want to help those small players in our sector grow their businesses as well,” Epstein said.

Cybercrime legislation

There are 26 BPO/ICT companies in Jamaica and the areas of immediate focus by BPIAJ will also include access to ready-built space, cybercrime legislation, development of a training curriculum recognised by the global industry, the establishment of a business incubator for start-ups and staff transportation.

“BPIAJ will bring the requisite leadership and collaboration to ensure that we build an industry that we will be proud of and help to transform our economy through worthwhile ICT investments,” Epstein said.

Worldwide BPO spending is expected to grow at an annual rate of nine per cent set to reach US$1 trillion by 2014, according to the International Data Corporation. Epstein added that he was looking forward to strengthening the existing working relationship with JAMPRO, which has provided invaluable support to the industry, as well as the relevant ministries and state agencies.

In 2010/2011, ICT/BPO investments facilitated by JAMPRO totalled J$3.2 billion, and created 2,583 jobs. For the 2011-2012 financial year, JAMPRO-facilitated investments created 4,729 jobs, with 51 per cent of this total being attributable to the ICT sector.

The executive of the BPIAJ comprises Yoni Epstein – chairman; Mark Kerr-Jarrett – treasurer; Karl Graham – secretary; Jacqueline Sutherland – director and John Spencer.

‘BPO sector crying for help’

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jamaica needs to act fast in addressing several Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector shortcomings or risk losing out on valuable investments, says an industry lobby group.

The urgent plea from the Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) comes less than a month after US outsourcing giant Convergys Corporation announced that it had delayed plans to open a call centre in Jamaica, with sources claiming that it was due to concerns over the availability of work space in Jamaica. Convergys, one of the largest agent-assisted customer service companies in the world, had planned to employ around 1,000 Jamaicans with an eventual course to expand to 3,000.

EPSTEIN… it is imperative for the private and public sectors to act fast

“That is why it is imperative now more than ever, for the private and public sectors to act fast regarding the support of the BPO division and the development of space, as this was one reason for Convergys to delay their entry into Jamaica,” said BPIAJ chairman, Yoni Epstein.

“In the wake of a large corporation postponing their entry into the BPO sector due to changeable factors such as lack of building space, Jamaicans, especially those who are leaving secondary and tertiary education institutions, are being disproportionately affected as their job security is being threatened,” Epstein said.

Along with sufficient space to accommodate call centre seats, Epstein said a drive to attract more local investment and a better training model are strategies needed to accelerate ICT activity.

Jampro can contribute to the BPO sector by not solely looking at foreign investors, and having more local investor involvement, Epstein said.

“While foreign investors certainly bring credibility to the table, the local market is devoted to Jamaica for the long haul. In addition, Jampro needs to look for third party business to pass on to local companies along with their search for multinationals,” he said.

According to Epstein, if Jampro went on a campaign to find 50 additional seats for each of the 26 BPO players in Jamaica, approximately 1,300 new jobs would be created.

This, he said would significantly contribute to the ICT industry which currently employs approximately 12,000 persons and generates $3.1 billion in payroll and consumption taxes annually for the Government.

What’s more is that the BPO industry needs help to improve service capabilities to include advanced and complex specialty services component. In light of this, the BPIAJ has called for a superior training model.

“While Jamaica’s BPO sector offers impressive industry advantages, including a highly trained and skilled labor force, an excellent telecommunications infrastructure, and prime accessibility to the US, these credentials are directly dependent upon the availability of building space and the investment in a proper BPO/contact centre type training model,” he said.

With these strategies, there is likely to be a steady incline in both private and public sector jobs, added the BPIAJ head.

“Furthermore expanding the credibility of the island as a near shore location servicing the US and strengthening the local economy by putting more people to work,” he noted.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/-BPO-sector-crying-for-help-_13152564#ixzz2EqMfKRku

More space needed for call centre development

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter

Thursday, November 22, 2012

MONTEGO BAY, St James – CHAIRMAN of the recently established Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIA) Yoni Epstein is lobbying private sector support for the creation of more space to develop call centres in the Montego Bay Freezone.

“Space is one of the huge issues here in Jamaica and we are looking at private investors to step in and assist with that,” Epstein told Observer West.

From left: President of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica Yoni Epstein, Junior Technology Minister Julian Robinson, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton and Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell at the recent launch of the organisation in Montego Bay.

“If you talk to JAMPRO, and you talk to the rest of us players, people are looking everyday to come to Jamaica, but we don’t have the space currently,” he said.

Epstein said BPIA is also working with the Montego Bay Freezone to use existing space to develop a turnkey business incubator, which is a call centre facility with cubicles containing requisite network infrastructure.

Epstein who was responding to questions following the launch of BPIA at Vista Print in the resort city of Montego Bay last week-end, said he wants the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to extend the existing 12 months moratorium offered to private investors to 36 months, specifically for BPO developers.

“We are looking to work with the DBJ to extend the moratorium so that the private investors can start building right away and therefore have ready built space so as the business comes, you can turn it in immediately,” he said.

Additionally, the BPIA head wants JAMPRO to attract more local investors to the industry.

“There are 26 (BPO) companies in Jamaica. We want JAMPRO to assist some of the local investor/operators in developing their businesses, and not only focus on the multi-nationals,” remarked Epstein, who is CEO of Island Outsourcers.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell who delivered the keynote address commended the formation of BPIA but was quick to warn members not to damage their external business prospects by competing among themselves.

“I hope members of the organisation see the need for less competition amongst yourselves. Rather to see the true nature of this industry which is global,” Paulwell declared.

He argued that if “we were to claw back five percent of the business that has gone to India or to the Philippines” then the sector could “do much more”.

“But we can only do that through cooperation, through collaboration of sharing information internally so that we can attract the bigger prize from the external sources and that is why we now have to go on this drive to expand the industry far and wide,” he said.

Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton also hailed the launch of the BPIA.

“I look forward to working even closer with you; and you can count on my support for the Association,” Hylton said.

ICT Ambassador Patrick Casserly — who was identified by Epstein as the BPO Pioneer in Jamaica — said the association reflected maturing of the industry.

“A coming together of its participants, a realisation that it is not simply a shop, it is truly an industry it has evolved, it has matured. Maturity means that we have to continue to tweak our offering,” Casserly warned.

Epstein told the Observer West that among other things the association was formed to “have one voice for the over 12,000 employees inside the sector with 26 companies, and to provide training for players in the industry”.

He noted that he is so far encouraged by the enlisting of new members, including the major telecommunication companies.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/westernnews/More-space-needed-for-call-centre-development_13055997#ixzz2Eh6oPDVI

Jamaica’s ICT Interests Form Lobbying Group With Eye on Doubling Market Size

Jamaica’s ICT Interests Form Lobbying Group With Eye on Doubling Market Size

October 1st, 2012
epstein 300x224 Jamaicas ICT Interests Form Lobbying Group With Eye on Doubling Market Size
Yoni Epstein of Island Outsourcers is chair of the new group

By Narayan Ammachchi

BPO and ICT companies in Jamaica have teamed up to form an industry association, saying they will lobby the government to help the country make full use of its potential as a nearshoring hub. Located 550 miles south of Key West, Florida,  Jamaica is home to about 2.8 million people and is known for its natural beauty, world-famous musicians, athletes and cricketers. “The beauty of Jamaica and Jamaican’s is that we are a versatile group of individuals with many talents,” said Yoni Epstein, Chairman of the newly-formed industry association (Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica) in an interview with Nearshore Americas. “Jamaica has it all: the beaches, the accent, cultural affinity to North America, the talent base, the telecommunications infrastructure. We are the closest & largest English speaking country to the United States.”

Jamaica’s BPO/ICT sector is currently valued at $20 million and its outsourcing sector employes about 12,000 people. Global industry giants such as ACS/Xerox and Teleperformance have already set up shop on the island, and Indian BPO firms – like Hinduja Global Solutions and Sutherland Global – are gearing up to begin operations this quarter.

Jamaica’s advantage is that its first language is English, and this island is just a short flight away from the United States, the world’s major source of outsourcing contracts. Jamaica’s bustling cities, such as Kingston & Montego Bay, have strong telecom infrastructure and rising pools of skilled labor.

But in Jamaica, it seems, call centers make up larger portion of the outsourcing industry because of the easy availability of English-speaking people. Epstein asserts that his country has the potential to excel in all areas of outsourcing sector. “We do have the talent pool to attack the higher end of the value chain”, he says.

“I would say that Kingston has the ability to achieve greater (success) in the categories of LPO, KPO, FAO, while Montego Bay continues to grow with traditional BPO, HRO, ITO and contact centers,” Epstein noted.

The BPIAJ is hoping to see the industry double in size and revenue over the next five years. To achieve this target, the industry association seems to be counting on its skilled workforce. “You can replicate most things, but you cannot replicate the Jamaican workforce. As Jamaicans we like to lead in everything we do and the recent success in London Olympics a case in point” says Epstein.

BPO Curriculum

Now the industry association has begun lobbying the government to add BPO training to the country’s education curriculum so it can have enough skilled labors to choose from. But that will take time to yield result. Therefore, the government is drawing up plans to provide training to freshly-graduated students in an attempt to meet the immediate need for human resources.

“As an association, we believe that training is the most important thing for any employee, and companies need to understand that training isn’t a cost but an investment,” Epstein said.

There are also attempts being made to introduce tax-breaks for realtors building infrastructure for BPO providers. “We are lobbying for the government to give the developers 36 months principal & interest free, or a signed contract, so that they can start to build as we speak,” he said.

Epstein concedes that there are some hurdles on the way ahead but expresses confidence in mitigating them. The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business Report’ for the year 2012 has ranked Jamaica 88 out of 183 countries. The overall score is three points lower than the previous year, reflecting declines in business confidence.

Yoni says he is confident that the current administration in Jamaica will make it ‘very easy’ to do business in the country. “I truly believe in Jamaica and our people, and I am very passionate about this industry because I know the possibilities of growth as well as what it can do for the GDP of Jamaica.”

Power Outages and Shortages

Given the most recent Enterprise Surveys (2010), the top three obstacles to running a business in Jamaica are tax rates, electricity, and access to finance. The biggest problem is electricity. According to the report, 55.5 percent of firms in Jamaica own generators in order to deal with frequent power outages and shortages.

Jamaica does have a cyber law, but, according to analysts, it is not strong enough to frighten criminals. Yoni says BPIAJ has already told the government to amend the existing cyber law bringing it up in lines with global standards.

Jamaica has unveiled ‘Vision 2030 Plan’ saying it has made ICT growth a priority to “enhance national productivity, efficiency and wealth”. The plan has already proven to be working because Jamaica created more than 2500 jobs in ICT sector in the past fiscal year alone.

“We here in Jamaica are poised to be a leader in this industry and we at the BPIAJ will ensure that all parties involved make the necessary steps in ensuring our piece of the pie and that is why the association was launched,” said Epstein.


Island Outsourcers Ready to Show Clients the Best of the Island

Island Outsourcers Ready to Show Clients the Best of the Island

 MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, August 20, 2012 – Island Outsourcers (IO) rocked the “rock” this week with the opening of its Montego Bay, Jamaica office in the Free Zone. Clients of the Contact Center and BPO Solutions company will experience the bona fide hospitality and expertise of Jamaica’s diligent workforce and while enjoying savings between 40% and 60% in operational costs—an IO guarantee. The new operation has currently developed a sate of the art facility and will create more than 100 new jobs in the coming months. The contact center will ultimately host more than 2000 call center seats within five (5) years as it serves a range of international clients, said Island Outsourcers CEO, Yoni Epstein.

 Just two months young, Island Outsourcers celebrates a roster of notable accomplishments, including industry recognition, the opening of a brand new, 5500-square-foot outpost, the acquisition high-profile clients, and big plans for the coming year.

“While our goal is to become a leading provider of global business process outsourcing services, it is equally significant for us to enhance and improve our clients’ overall business outcomes,” said Epstein.

Island Outsourcers’ specialized team, tailored core service offerings of sales and customers service; document and data management; and quality assurance management, coupled with an advanced & robust technology platform, has created a dynamic combination that brings together and certifies why IO is the best option in near shore BPO outsourcing according to Epstein.

Each and every IO specialist has undergone an extensive training process to make them the best at what they do. In addition, the company and its management team offer over 30 years of experience in key industries such as the travel industry and the ever growing ICT/BPO sector.

“Island Outsourcers is ready to show clients the best of the island,” said Epstein. “In other words, we’re ready to show our valued clients why Jamaica has the reputation of being one of the best near shore outsourcing options in the world, due to our effective, hospitable workforce, experience, proximity to North America and significant savings to the end user.”

Epstein says as the island’s outsourcing market continues to grow so will the Island Outsourcers enterprise.

“Jamaica’s outsourcing market has grown significantly over the past few years,” said Epstein. “We’re proud of the solid foundation we have been able to build in this short time, and look forward to being an integral part of the island’s market share with our fresh approach leading the charge.”

Currently, the IO contact center office space is approximately 5500 square feet. However, plans are already underway to build out 120,000 square feet of office space to accommodate the growing number of employees.

Call an Island Outsourcers Specialist at 1-305-600-1402 from the U.S.and 1-876-953-6907 from Jamaica, or visit www.islandoutsourcers.com to start experiencing tailored, world-class service.


About Island Outsourcers

Island Outsourcers is a Jamaican-based, business process outsourcing (BPO) solution that delivers an entire spectrum of BPO services such as inbound & outbound sales & customer service, quality assurance management, research & analytics and back office processes. Island Outsourcers is committed to impacting clients’ business outcomes by focusing on enhancing customer experience across all touch points and channels.