Nearshoring is becoming a more predominant choice for many growing organisations, since they are now favoring geographical proximity and lower costs as a more strategically beneficial option. By nearshoring with neighboring countries, many of the limitations are eliminated, such as language barriers and cultural learning curves.
“Like the rum (El Dorado), you have to experience it yourself to understand. Meeting the people and hearing contact center agents’ stories, you come to realize this is a proud nation that realizes the full potential that a strong and developed BPO industry provides.” John E. Thompson, Sitel, August 14, 2014.
Guyana is the only country in South America where English is the official language, and it shares more cultural and historical bonds with the Anglophone Caribbean than it does with its Latin American neighbors. The Government is prioritizing the development of education, ICT and transport infrastructure to maintain its viability for increased direct foreign investment.
One of the biggest benefits to nearshoring is geographical proximity, specifically for the United States. Guyana offers the perfect nearshore solution, since it is less than six hours away from New York. Organisations do not have to worry about hidden costs and delays associated with offshoring. Similar time zones mean shorter lead times and better response times, which improve overall productivity. The country is located outside of hurricane zones and is not prone to any other natural disasters. This means a low risk of operations being disrupted. Its border with Venezuela cannot be crossed due to its jungle terrain, so the country is isolated from the recent turmoil there. Finally, the country’s economy is one of the most stable in the region with a sustained 4.5 percent growth over the last decade, and the government remains committed to facilitating the growth and expansion of the BPO industry as it seeks to capture a larger market share.
The strong competitive edge of the BPO industry in Guyana starts with its young, educated and native-English speaking labor force, which has committed to BPO as a career. “Language is a big thing,” says Adrian Collins, CEO of Emerge BPO. “As customer service becomes more automated, what you are left with are increasingly complex transactions. These include customer-centric issues originating in the States, perhaps specific to retail or telecom, where having a strong command of English, and a neutral accent, makes a big difference.” In addition to back office processes, phone support can be added for more complex scenarios, and the strong writing skills of a native-English workforce easily facilitate adding web chat, customer email – even medical transcription – to the mix of outsourced processes. Without having to pay a premium for a bilingual agent, additional lines of business can be handled all within a highly competitive cost structure.
Guyana has an abundant and educated workforce whose language skills and cultural fluency promotes scalability of operations at a price point that is very competitive with offshore locations. In fact, a more agile management structure in Guyana’s BPO sector translates into a lower rate of a price increase as production ramps up, and therefore, return a better value to the client. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2014-2015, the cost of local labor in Guyana is not only low, but is also among the most productive in the CALA, ranking ahead of neighboring Barbados, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica. When comparing Guyana’s BPO services to those offered in other nearshore locations, not only are the rates more competitive, but the English is flawless with a neutral accent, unlike those found most often in the Caribbean.
According to Nearshore Americas, “Guyana’s geographic location, economic and political stability, as well as its long-term commitment to social investment, suggests that it will continue to offer competitive advantages for years to come.”