25 YEARS IN COLOMBIA

Colombia 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Juan Carlos Hincapié, CEO CGP Región of Teleperformance, on the BPO sector, expansion in Colombia, and the country as a center of innovation.

How has Teleperformance boosted the growth of the IT and BPO sector in Colombia, and what is next for the company?

Teleperformance is a great company because it is difficult to stay in the Colombian market for 25 years. We have a great deal of knowledge to share. Colombia is becoming a global market to the services industry, and we are developing the talent and understanding the processes and technology. We have a very strong footprint to leverage this knowledge for the world. We have been growing significantly as an industry in Colombia and as a company. The Colombian IT/BPO industry is doubling or tripling every three years. I have no doubt we will continue to ensure Colombia has its fair share in the international environment because we have a great deal to say about customer experience in the world.

How has Teleperformance promoted human talent both in Colombia and abroad over the last 25 years?

When one understands services, they start to see that this is a beautiful combination of process, technology, and people. Having a disciplined and customer-service oriented labor force plus a company with strong processes and technology means we have a beautiful blend, like a good wine. We work with new economy companies, healthcare, insurance, and banks; we can do whatever we want to do for the world. Our services are not only for the American market, but also Latin America and Europe. Some 30% of Teleperformance's employees in Colombia service Spain, so that shift comes in to work at 2am. That is a completely different environment and profile.

Are there any particular cities that have attracted Teleperformance's attention for expansion and investment?

Currently, 45% of our labor force is in Medellín and 55% in Bogotá. Before YE2019, we will launch in a third city, Tunja. We will have a presence in a fourth city, though that location is still under discussion. In 2019, we also started having agents working from home. Teleperformance's target is to have 1,000 home-based employees by YE2019. We already have 700-plus people working from home in Colombia in nine different cities. Moreover, we have people working in Colombia's coffee and Caribbean regions and in the east of the country toward Venezuela. We are big into investing in expanding the company, including in Bogotá and Medellín. We have a huge expansion project because there is a great deal of space to cover in the international markets and many opportunities—we are still small. In fact, Colombia is just starting to acquire its fair share of the global customer service. We are putting our talent out there. Many companies would love to have Colombia's people, happiness, and pride. We want to connect this with the world.

How has Teleperformance handled such a diversified portfolio of client sectors, global markets, and services?

That makes us strong—having such a strong Spanish and English hub for the world. We cover the European Spanish market and Latin American countries. We have clients in Argentina, Chile, Panama, Mexico, Central America, and the Andean countries, and another part of our business is extremely important to US companies. Teleperformance is extremely diverse, and this makes us strong because in business, markets will vary—some will slow down and others will evolve. One just needs to learn how to staff their company correctly according to the different markets they serve. This is extremely demanding work that needs to be well staffed for every market. That is the secret to surviving this huge growth. Teleperformance is also growing in staff numbers and resources. We have created our own university with over 1,000 people studying at any given time.

Is there any specific niche that Teleperformance wants to target with new products and services based on its experience in different sectors and industries?

We love the new economy companies. We are extremely strong in PCI processes for banking, insurance, healthcare, telcos, and travel and transportation. One must have really strong process, and to be successful they cannot put the company into just one market niche; they need to be truly diversified.

Teleperformance has environmental and child welfare initiatives such as Citizen of the Planet (COTP) and Citizen of the World (COTW). How do these programs help you impact lives and elevate Teleperformance's role in the community?

We have many initiatives to take care of the community. When one has a company whose core product is its people, they need to truly understand that they are part of the community. We take care of the environment and elderly, and we have many programs where we donate to the poor. For example, 150 leaders from Teleperformance did a cycle ride and then donated the 150 bicycles to kids in Tunja who have to travel more than two hours to school. We also build houses and take care of the environment on a large scale. It is all part of having a genuine participation in the society we live in. For example, we are currently helping with the Venezuelan migration issue. There are many different causes we support.

In 2018, Teleperformance was recognized by Frost and Sullivan and IAPP. What does it mean to receive these awards, and what could be next for the company?

In 3Q2019, we also received an award for being the biggest BPO exporter in Colombia. Colombia is starting to become an important hub for our industry, so everyone comes to study us to look at what is happening in the market. Analysts come several times a year to study Teleperformance, and one of those companies is Frost and Sullivan, which has given us a number of awards because of our people, our processes, and technology. Two years ago, it gave Teleperformance Colombia its Innovation Company of the Year award. There is a big technology transformation happening in the way we address our clients. We cannot just continue to strengthen our human talent side; we have to continue to create strong innovative products for our portfolio as well. We have been developing a great deal of information management and robotic processes. In fact, Teleperformance has decided Colombia will be the big innovation hub for this region.