Canada’s Telus Sees “Mandatory” Need for Spanish: Exclusive Interview

Jeff Puritt, president of Telus International, sees further expansion in Nearshore operations sites in Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama

Jeff Puritt, president of Telus International, sees further expansion in Nearshore operations sites in Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama

Telus is probably the most bullish company I have yet to run into that has established a comprehensive Nearshore presence. As the second largest telecom carrier in Canada, Telus has made global expansion a key priority under the leadership of CEO Darren Entwistle, who has run the company since 2000. That global growth comes partly in the form of responding to the requirements of customers, who increasingly require call center agents to possess Spanish language skills.

Telus, through its partnership with Transactel, runs three outsourced customer delivery sites in Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama, employing a total of 3,400 agents and support personnel. Customers can be other telecom providers, pizza delivery companies, video game operators or just about any business seeking BPO and outsourced call center services.

Jeff Puritt, president of Telus International, told us why Transactel was selected among over 100 Nearshore service providers, the commitment Telus has to corporate responsibility and why increasing geopolitical stability is great news for the entire Nearshore services industry. To read the interview, click

Question: Can you give us an example of the service you provide from your Nearshore sites?

Answer: If you order a pizza in New York, you’re probably speaking to one of our agents.

Question: Why did you choose to land in Central America?

Answer: It was pretty much mandatory for us to develop Spanish. We obtain access to a skill set that is not readily available to us in Canada. There is a growing US population that includes Spanish speakers. As we grow our US customers – it’s more and more critical to have Spanish-speaking delivery capabilities.

Question: How well are you positioned to scale?

Answer: In the outsourcing game, scale and efficiencies are the name of the game. When you can amortize your infrastructure costs across a broader base you are in an advantageous position.

Question: What are some key attractions of the region?
Answer: Government stability is growing and standards of living continue to improve. There is clearly a growing long term opportunity and we want to participate in that growth. Overall, there is a growing sense of stability across the region. My personal expectation is we will grow our footprint.

Question: What about geopolitical issues?

Answer: There is no shortage of risks associated with doing business internationally, and clearly risks around working in certain countries. There is also less obvious risk around connectivity, energy availability, systemic support structure and education.

Question: Do you see some of these Nearshore destinations moving up the value chain in providing more specialized services?

Answer: Near term India still represents the largest destination for that skill set. There is more recognition among the newer destination that KPO is an important capability. Voice based services are becoming commoditized. We’re already delivering KPO and ITO, so India does not have the monopoly.

Question: What makes your partnership with Transactel succeed?

Answer: We found Transactel to be fantastically component and highly capable. They have helped us accelerate our capability.

Question: What’s your outlook?

Answer: We certainly have some ambitious growth forecasts and it’s not a trivial undertaking to pursue these objectives. We also will continue being a contributing member of the communities where we have operations. Darren Entwistle (CEO) is passionate about his desire to ensure we are active in a corporate citizen role.


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