Latin American contact center outsourcing in demand

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A recent study of Latin American and Caribbean contact center outsourcing by Frost & Sullivan showed that this $11 billion industry is adding more workers and seeing bigger demand especially from the United States.

“In 2014, we saw $11 billion in revenue, which was 1 percent growth when measured in U.S. dollars ... and this had to do much with local currency depreciation,”  Sebastian Menutti, enterprise communications industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, told Latin Business Daily during a recent telephone interview.

Menutti explained that most outsourcing services are sold domestically and the invoices are in local currency. 

“... When measured in terms of number of contact centers, the industry expanded close to 7 percent,” he added.

The study looked at the industry in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru as well as Central America and the Caribbean.

“In 2014, the U.S. was the main export market of Latin America with close to 80 percent of all outsourcing exports, and we anticipate healthy growth in exports to the U.S. ahead,” Menutti said. 

Spain, another large export market for Latin America, has fallen off on its outsourcing exports with the European economy weakening in recent years. It is now 12 times smaller than that of the U.S. for outsourcing exports, Menutti said.

“Many people dedicated to service Spain are no longer doing that,” he said.

Telecommunication services, both mobile and paid television, are the biggest consumer of contact center outsourcing services in Latin America followed by banking and related services. The two industries account for three-fourths of the total, Menutti said.

Other industries such as tourism, technology,  insurance and health are becoming more important for contact center outsourcing.

Adding up all people working directly with customer service in Latin American and Caribbean contact centers, the number reaches 725,000 agents, not including administration and other personnel, Menutti said.

A little less than half of those agents are in Brazil, but most of them provide services to Brazilian clients. The other bigger markets include Mexico in second, Central America and the Caribbean in third place, and Colombia in fourth.

About three-fourths of all revenue comes from domestic or in-country sales of outsourcing, Menutti said. One-fourth of the revenue comes from sales of services to the U.S., Europe or from a Latin American country.

Despite the gains in recent years of Latin American outsourcing service sales to the U.S, the region still lags behind India or the Philippines. 

Another change Menutti identified is that outsourcing of services through alternative media such as email, chat and the Web are growing much faster than voice services. Voice services continue, however, to be the biggest contact outsourcing service sold, accounting for about 85 percent of the total, he said.



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