Immigration and the Impact on Your Call Center

People are on the move. According to the United Nations, the number of people living in a country other than the one they were born reached an estimated 272 million — or 3.5% of the global population. That’s 51 million more than in 2010. And this is altering the fabric of business: customers are changing; employees are changing; business models are changing. So, it’s more important than ever for your call center to adapt to these “people movement” patterns.

Educate Your Team

You’ll need to get an overall understanding of migration trends and themes in the regions in which your call center does business. This sounds pretty simple; however, people movement is a complex issue that’s difficult to decipher due to multiple definitions and data sources. Have someone on your team research the topic further. And reach out to the human resources department to see what assistance they can provide.

Evolve With Your Customer Base

As you learn how the demographics of your customer base are changing, your call center must evolve to ensure the customer experience continues to be as effortless as possible. You might want to add language skills and/or provide agents with cultural context so that they can connect with customers in more meaningful ways. For example, adding more Chinese language proficiency could be helpful for certain US companies. Studies show that recent migrants are more likely to come from Asia, with China and India being the top two countries of origin. In fact, by 2055, the largest immigrant group in the US likely will be Asians.

Embrace Diversity

People movement will change your workforce. Whether that means gaining much-needed skills or tapping into a new mix of available talent, migration patterns are evolving the makeup of customer service representatives. In the US, 19.1% of the customer service reps identify as Hispanic or Latino, up from 16.9% in 2011, according to latest estimates. Many have gone through great trouble to move to a new country for a better life not knowing exactly what to expect. Their immigrant mindset brings an openness to change and a willingness to deal with uncertainty. Those traits will help your call center adapt and evolve.

Be Aware of Global Developments

Globalization of the call center workforce isn’t new. However, it’s good to monitor global developments that migration shifts create. For instance, call centers in Tijuana, Mexico, are growing. According to an article in The San Diego Union-Tribune, people who have been deported after spending most of their lives in the US are a large part of that growth. Companies are accessing English-speaking agents at lower wages. And those who are arriving in Mexico find employment and assistance to acclimate to their new surroundings.

For customer experience professionals who agree it’s important to be in tune with, and adapt to, people movement patterns, International Migrants Day offers a great opportunity to reflect on how immigration impacts customers, the workforce and the global dynamics of your call center. Hopefully this blog will help get the discussion going.

One major technological trend in the call center that will position you to remain agile enough to adapt to changing business is migration to the cloud. Check out this report to accelerate your move to cloud.