Barbados is often recognized for its 166 square miles of pure island paradise, but it also has a few hidden gems that are made of the “right stuff” for the call center industry. Barbados attracted its first call center in the mid-1990s but, during the past 15 years, the local industry has been undergoing a transition. A new wave of energetic, creative, and educated entrepreneurs is emerging on the island, bringing with them a unique and nimble approach to the standard contact center. By limiting the volume of staff they hire, these smaller, boutique call centers are discovering that they can drive revenue with lower attrition, lower shrink, higher attendance, and ultimately happier frontline staff, which is also making for an improved customer experience.
Encouraging the Growth of Boutique Call Centers
Barbados’ call center entrepreneurs are emerging and evolving for a number of reasons. Firstly, the government has been focusing on growth in locally owned entrepreneurial businesses. Secondly, the ownership and operation of a sole proprietary operation with fewer employees is appealing to the people of Barbados. Finally, an increased ability to utilize personal leadership and management styles aligns well with the local culture. “The government of Barbados actively encourages investment in the ICT industry and is working with private enterprises to proactively develop it into a vibrant engine of growth in the Barbadian economy,” said a spokesperson from Invest Barbados, the country’s investment promotions agency. Today’s call center industry in Barbados provides tremendous opportunities for generating foreign direct investment, foreign exchange earnings, and employment for the country. Furthermore, Invest Barbados, has placed a high priority on attracting new call center operations, the island, offering them a number of economic and ease-of-doing-business incentives.
The Boutique Approach to Call Centers
The Boutique approach in Barbados would involve supporting and coordinating call center operations that develop a niche – or a “sweet spot”. Such a model would leverage approximately 200-250 agent representatives; pay a competitive base wage and attract talent from particular pockets of educational backgrounds in such areas of expertise such as finance and accounting; medical services and insurance. The above model must also go beyond what can be facilitated in competitive nearshore country operations. Barbados is smaller; less scalable so the REAL value must be positioned in expertise and value added services; expertise though education and a focus on technical capabilities and advancement beyond just offering Voice as a traditional solution.