Nearly half (46%) of businesses say outsourcing allows them to access skillsets not available internally. Another 45% view outsourcing as an effective cost-saving strategy. There’s little doubt the right outsourcing partner can help a business cut costs, improve customer experiences, protect profit margins, and scale services. However, choosing the wrong partner can have unintended consequences.
Outsourcers with headquarters in the U.S., contact centers around the world and domestic management teams offer the best blend of all options. These companies typically employ U.S. leadership to oversee global operations which makes communication, time zones, and strategic collaboration that much easier. If your company is growing rapidly and you’re considering outsourced customer support, it’s important to make an informed decision. Here are several key considerations to keep in mind.
Onshore vs. Nearshore vs. Offshore
Outsourcing is a broad term that describes any time a company contracts with a third-party entity to provide specific services, such as customer support. Outsourcing partners can be headquartered anywhere in the world. Regardless of where they’re headquartered, many of these companies deliver services in any number of global locations – i.e., contact center sites – which introduces the terms onshore, nearshore, and offshore. These contact centers get their names from sharing, or not sharing, the same country as the parent company.
When seeking an outsourcing partner, business owners have several options at their disposal. Organizations can partner with a domestic contact center outsourcer, seek an overseas counterpart, or secure a nearshore supplier. While the overseas provider may offer a cheaper rate, it doesn’t always mean they’re the right choice. In fact, there are many hidden pitfalls associated with overseas outsourcing that most business owners are unaware of until it’s too late. Onshore, nearshore, and offshore contact centers get their names from sharing or not sharing the same country as the parent company.
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As the name suggests, onshore contact centers for U.S. companies are those located domestically. While these sites may be spread across time zones or regions, they physically are situated inside the U.S. Services delivered in these contact centers may be higher priced than other options due to employing U.S.-based frontline agents.
Nearshore contact centers are those located in countries adjacent to the United States, like Central America. Contracting with nearshore providers can be an alternative to both onshore and offshore sourcing as these locations may be only one or two time zones from the business they serve. Geographic nearness also enables a mid-range price point for many services.
Offshore contact centers are located in distant nations, like the Philippines and India. Often these sites offer a low-cost alternative which makes them attractive to business owners searching for a way to save money. However, going with the cheapest option often involves unforeseen risks.
Common Shortfalls of Overseas Outsourcing
Some outsourcing partners maintain headquarters and contact center sites in the same country. For example, an India-based outsourcer may only offer contact center locations in India. Other outsourcers may be headquartered in one country, like the U.S., and offer contact center services in other countries. Regardless of location, all outsourcing vendors likely have the best interests of your company at heart.
However, good intentions don’t always guarantee the partnership will flourish. Frequently, offshore relationships are doomed to fail from the start due to certain unavoidable issues, including:
1. Communication Barriers
By far, the most common reason overseas outsourcing contracts fail is communication difficulties. Organizations sometimes commit to a vendor too quickly, without establishing effective lines of communication and laying the framework for a mutually beneficial relationship. Another significant communication barrier that can strain a relationship with overseas vendors is the massive time difference between providers and businesses. If your outsourcing partner is located halfway around the globe, getting someone to answer your calls during your workday can seem like an impossible task. Language differences also may become a challenge as well.
2. Lack of Shared Goals
A great outsourcing partner’s goals and values should align with your organization. If they do not, the relationship will be on unstable ground from the outset. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to establish shared goals with an overseas outsourcing partner due to communication and cultural differences. Conversely, it will be much easier for you to schedule phone calls or video conferences with a domestic or nearshore outsourcing provider due to time zone and communication similarities. The two of you will be able to establish agreed-upon goals and outline your expectations before doing business together. This approach will lay a strong foundation for a long-lasting and mutually beneficial business relationship.
3. Cultural Differences
Cultural differences between your customer base and the employees who work for the offshore provider can be a major friction point in the service experience. For instance, workers located in some countries recognize different holidays than the United States. This discrepancy can hinder your ability to serve your customers consistently, ultimately impacting your brand reputation. In addition, work styles and social norms vary from nation to nation. These variations have the potential to create friction between your clients and the offshore customer service personnel.
4. Lack of Accountability
Due to the nature of overseas outsourcing, it can be a challenge to hold a contact center support provider accountable. Once you enter into a contract, you act in good faith and hope they do the same. However, if they do not perform up to your expectations it may be challenging to void the contract. This difficulty means that you could be forced to pay for subpar services, even if they negatively impact the customer experience and damage your brand image.
The Goodbay Approach
At Goodbay Technologies, we leverage a combination of domestic, nearshore, and offshore services to provide our partners — and their customers — with an exceptional level of support. Our highly skilled and talented support agents take pride in solving customer issues and representing your brand in a positive light. We employ U.S. leadership to oversee global operations which makes communication, time zones, and strategic collaboration stronger.
We want to forge a lasting relationship with partner companies that’s based on trust, communication, and transparency. Contact our team today to learn more about Goodbay Technologies’ suite of services.