Disruptive customer experience company, TaskUs, is well known for its unique culture and approach to the contact center environment. The company recently appointed BPO veteran, Porfirio Diaz as its VP of Operations for Latin America. Diaz, who has been in the industry for over 20 years, spent the better part of 18 years working for a BPO that was part of Grupo Carso.
Nearshore Americas sat down with him to discuss his vision for TaskUs in LatAm, how the company is approaching expansion and the challenges of bringing the TaskUs culture to Mexico. TaskUs is a latecomer to the Neasrhore market, having opened its first Nearshore center in Tijuana just one year ago. The firm will be playing ‘catch up’ to match the velocity some of its incumbent CX competitors, but that appears to be a key reason why Diaz has been brought on board.
NSAM: Tell us about your approach to your new role.
Diaz: I have always been focused on talent and on encouraging people to be confident about what they do and how they do it. I came to TaskUs by studying the competition and recognizing that while TaskUs is small in Mexico, there is real potential there. What caught my attention was what they were doing in their offices in the Philippines and the US. So my focus is really on bringing this type of frontline experience, which I believe could be disruptive, to Mexico; I definitely want to be part of that challenge.
NSAM: What is your vision for TaskUS in Mexico?
Diaz: If you look at the impact that TaskUs is having in an international context – you can see it on social media – it really is all about bringing that kind of culture shift with regard to being a people-first company to Tijuana. I have a holistic vision to make that vision happen.
In my role as Vice President of Operations, it’s about developing talent but also about ensuring we are operational, successful and efficient. Tijuana is where Mexico begins, the far west corner of Mexico, and there is a great opportunity to strengthen and amplify the TaskUS frontline-first culture. I am a firm believer that taking good care of people and providing an amazing work environment leads to success: extraordinary service, great partner satisfaction, and innovation and growth. I have always believed that that’s the recipe; If you want to fix the things, focus on the people that do the things.
NSAM: TaskUs has certainly been a disruptive force in its operations in the US and the Philippines, but Mexico is different. How do you address that?
Diaz: It is culturally different. I believe that for a long time Mexico has been seen as a good manual labor market, but what we want to focus on is developing people so that they can have meaningful careers. I have been in the Mexican market for a long time and it is rare that companies are really willing to invest in the frontline. So, the biggest task is bringing the trademark people-first culture to the call center environment in Mexico. My experience with contact centers in Mexico has been that they are focused predominantly on the numbers. But I believe that if you want to fix the numbers, focus on the people who make the numbers. I am proud to be part of an organization that is a game changer in the contact center industry.
NSAM: When we interviewed Aaron Davis in February, he spoke of growing the Mexico base to 1,000 or more. What are TaskUs’ expansion plans in Latin America? What kind of headcount are you looking at? Are you looking at other countries in the region?
Diaz: It is very similar. Our plans currently are to be at 400 employees by the end of this year and expand to 800+ by the end of 2020. Ultimately we are looking to grow to 1,000 employees in Mexico. We are in an amazing new location in Tijuana, north of the city. We have named the office The Oasis, because it is designated as a break to the hustle of the city. The vision is that The Oasis is a place where yes, people work but also have fun and have great rest periods.
TaskUs contributes to the health of its employees. We are one of the few companies in the contact center industry who provide employees with major medical expenses, not only for them but also to family members. We are one of the first companies in this industry that aside from paid holidays that provide 16 days of paid time off (PTO), half of which is unplanned. We provide that flexibility. We also offer food coupons – weekly electronic cards to assist with the cost of groceries. All of these things are above and beyond what is considered as mandatory by law and that’s a big game-changer in this environment.
We plan to perform a full market scan in 2020 to assess options and make more formal decisions. We have experience through our LATAM partners in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Colombia, so we will certainly consider those markets. We continue to see strong demand from our client base for LATAM support and are currently exploring opportunities in numerous LATM locations. There’s untapped potential in LATAM, and we’re interested in seeing what locations and regions are interested in partnering with us. If there are leaders out there that would like to engage with TaskUs and explore opportunities, please contact us.
NSAM: What is it about Mexico that makes it a good fit for TaskUs’s unique culture?
Diaz: By being near and having this bicultural understanding of the US market, we are positioned to meet the needs of the market. I am passionate about talent and I am an observer of human behavior. What I see in the Mexican market, is that there is much more we can do with our talent. When we encourage and empower them and trust them to make decisions, they become more creative. That’s the great thing I see. It is a long-term investment.
NSAM: What are the challenges for TaskUs in the Mexican context?
Introducing the TaskUs brand to Mexico. The market isn’t used to our frontline-first approach. One challenge is to position ourselves as a frontline-first company and truly integrate ourselves into the Tijuana business community and that will take time. Another one might be balancing our global model with our local culture. What works in Manila won’t necessarily work in Mexico, so we’ll need to tap into the unique traits and passions of our Mexican team and make our Tijuana location an environment that really works for our employees here.
TaskUS has already established itself throughout the US and southeast Asia as having this frontline culture, so it is about bringing it, amplifying it throughout the Mexico region.