The evaluation started off with several countries but was narrowed down to 4. Those four countries come with their own positives and negatives. To start off I want to go over the first two countries that were disqualified and why. I looked at Brazil, and for better or worse, my neighbor who works at a large oil company really turned me off to them. He articulated that they didn’t have a common starting time as the US counterparts and that Brazilians tended to not speak as good of English as other countries. This coupled with the distance from our home office of Houston lead them to being the first off.
I know that may sound over simplified but his constant rants really affected me. The second country off the list was Mexico. For obvious reasons I was concerned with the Mexico, mostly due to the crime rate in that country. Living in Houston you hear a lot about what is going on with the Cartels and the issues around Americans, specifically businessmen, being kidnapped for ransom.
Mexico was attractive due to businesses in Mexico City, size of population and location. In the end, I looked at my management team, asked them “If there is a problem that needs attention, who is going down there?” Based on the resounding silence, Mexico was removed from contention.
This left Colombia and Costa Rica. Both of those countries have very good positives. Colombia has a substantial size benefit for resourcing compared to Costa Rica. Costa Rica of course has a very highly trained contingent of resources, but the population of the country is fairly small. Given this, both countries had very similar wage rates. In the end, it came down to flight proximity and geopolitical culture; it only takes 3 hours from Houston to get to San Jose, compared to 5 hours to Bogota and some other regions in Colombia.
While the political culture in Colombia is very good right now, Costa Rica has traditionally always been very stable. This coupled with the positive perception that many Americans have of Costa Rica, led us to select the Sabana region of San Jose, Costa Rica.
This is obviously oversimplified, there are some other very good criteria for utilizing Costa Rica IT and Call Center resources, but these were a few of mine.
- Posted by Doug Erb
- On November 27, 2014