Postcard from Nicaragua: IBEX Global on the Move!
Apr 19, 2016
Greetings from the historic and tropical city of Managua, Nicaragua! Nicaragua is located1,430 miles southeast of my home base in San Antonio, Texas. I was recently invited by Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider IBEX Global, to be a part of the launch of the company’s newest call center.
As the largest but most sparsely populated of the Central American nations, Nicaragua borders Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. It is slightly larger than New York State. Nicaragua is mountainous in the west, with fertile valleys. Two big lakes, Nicaragua and Managua, are connected by the Tipitapa River. The Pacific coast is volcanic and very fertile. The swampy Caribbean coast is aptly called the “Mosquito Coast.”
Quick facts about Nicaragua1
President: Daniel Ortega (2007)
Land area: 46,430 sq mi (120,254 sq km); total area: 49,998 sq mi (129,494 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 5,848,641 (growth rate: 1.02%); life expectancy: 72.72
Capital and Largest city Managua, 970,000
Monetary unit: Gold Cordoba
A Sparkling New Center of Excellence
Nestled in a sleek, modern office complex in Managua, the site was designed and built by the powerhouse development company, Grupo Invercasa . This brand new call center interior is sleek and attractive and in keeping with the latest ergonomic design standards. Decked out in a red and white color scheme, the production floor shows off an excellent blend of form and function. With large windows overlooking Lake Managua, the area has a welcoming, open, and airy feel.
There is ample, dedicated space for agent recruitment, training and coaching. Meeting rooms and offices are spacious, bright and well-designed. As a reminder to visitors and IBEX Global staff, the company’s mission, vision and values are prominently displayed throughout the facility. Chairs, desks and wall colors are brightly colored and reflect a contemporary look and feel.
Nicaragua has an abundance of academic institutions. Most importantly, it also boasts an ample supply of well-educated bilingual talent. This is critical for customer service support since by 2020, the U.S. will have 63 million Hispanics according to some estimates. Only 47 percent of the Hispanic population speaks English at home.2 In addition Nicaragua has reliable network infrastructure, a very competitive labor cost structure and an attractive geographical location. This was my first (but not last) trip to Nicaragua. It was like taking a (pleasant)step back in time. I was impressed by Managua’s’ lovely colonial buildings and the charm of its residents. I felt very safe in this vibrant, alluring city. Online magazine, Nearshore Americas, has written extensively about the IBEX Global arrival in Nicaragua and can be read here.
Anchor IBEX Global Client: Western Union
Western Union is the IBEX Global’s largest client at this site. The company has had a presence in Nicaragua for many years. Speaking at the site opening was Tim Langley-Hawthorne, SVP, Technology Governance and Global Customer Care. He said, “Why Nicaragua? In 2015 Western Union started looking for our next nearshore customer service location. Nicaragua’s burgeoning economy, it’s highly skilled workforce with great English skills made it an obvious choice for us. We’re very happy to be the first client in Nicaragua with IBEX Global.”
Here’s a short excerpt from my speech at the IBEX Global launch:
“Let me first thank IBEX Global for inviting me to this wonderful Event. Let me also thank the local IBEX operations team their warm welcome. Gracias a todos Vds. por la calida recepcion y bienvenida. (Translation: Thank you all for the warm welcome and reception). I promise to be brief. My company, Frost & Sullivan, is Global consulting firm with 42 offices around the world. Our goal is to help companies grow in the midst of collapse, disruption and technological change. On a personal note, I spent many years as a contact center Manager with AT&T and I know this industry very well.
As an Industry Analyst I analyze and track the activities of over 50 of the largest global companies in the customer care outsourcing market. One of the most important factors for success that I measure is growth-revenue growth, client growth, geographic growth and employee growth. What you’re witnessing today is, in fact, a growth story! This opening is particularly important because it signals 3 things that you need to know from this analyst’s vantage point:
1.There is a HUGE critical need from companies in the U.S. for skilled bilingual talent; agents that can handle complex interactions for customer care, technical support, and sales across a wide variety of industry sectors including retail, consumer electronics, financial services, and healthcare just to name a few.
2.Nicaragua’s private and government sector, represented here today,
understand the business imperative and have teamed up to provide an abundant supply of educated agent talent here in Managua with excellent English skills.
3 Service providers like IBEX Global, after much due diligence, see the business opportunities and are willing to invest the millions of dollars of capital that it takes to open a new center.
Finally, the real beneficiaries of this growth are the Nicaraguan economy, the clients and of course the IBEX brand ambassadors (the agents), quality assurance personnel, local contact center managers/team leaders and support staff…who can now put their education and talent to use to pursue a meaningful career and provide for their families.”
There you have it! IBEX is on the move in Nicaragua.
!Hasta luego! Until the next postcard from Latin America…..
DeSalles has 25 years of contact center operational experience. He combines this with 10 years of research and analytical expertise in: Emerging trends, convergence, collapse and disruptive technologies in the contact center industry; Insight into site management, supervision and agent development; Customer care outsourcing; Skills based routing; BPO Near shore deployment; Home based agents