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Without question the pressure for organizations to manage their customer experience functions to the highest levels of quality have been intense over the past several years. And, while trends come and go in terms of how best to
achieve the best results for consumers on voice and digital platforms, it has been the offshore outsourced model that has been the mainstay in contemporary CX delivery.
There are several reasons why organizations work with a provider that operates in the offshore. The key elements that are consistent in this regard are offshore’s capacity to drive scalable, skilled agents alongside a significant
value. However, as enterprises seek out an offshore partner, it is important to consider the location of choice and how it aligns from a CX quality perspective.
What are the prime reasons for offshore outsourcing?
When it comes to providing clients with the best possible service delivery, there are a lot of choices available to enterprise contact center managers; so many so that it is understandable to get lost in confusing messages.
However, as is so often the case, some trends prove their resilience, which in the case of the latter applies to offshore outsourcing. In fact, over the past two decades, offshore third-party delivery has proven its worth to those
enterprises that have chosen to use it as a means of ensuring the best possible outcomes for their consumers. Some of the key reasons for this endurance can be summarized in the following categories:
Availability of CX talent – ask any captive or BPO contact center manager in North America, Australia or the UK and you will hear the same thing time and time again – the volume of people willing to
work in a domestic contact center operation is declining year on year. There are a number of reasons for this, including alternative employment opportunities and a perception in key demand markets that contact center work is not a
career-oriented life choice. The net result is lower quality interactions and higher human resource costs. This is especially challenging for enterprise operations, which indicate that their in-house contact center
budgets are likely to be under considerable strain in the coming calendar year.
Contrast this with the option of offshore outsourcing. In these locations invariably there is significant demand among the workforce to work in a customer experience facing role. This helps remove the human resource management
pressure, while driving better outcomes for consumers, due to the tendency for offshore recruits to remain longer in their roles.
Access to specific skill sets – workforce volumes are not the only reason for outsourced offshoring’s advantage. Equally, it relates to labor force quality. The reality is that in established
demand markets, domestic contact centers tend to attract recruits that have limited education, with high-school or matriculation being the highest attained schooling level. Contrast this with outsourced contact centers based
in offshore locations, where front-line CX is seen as a true career opportunity, attracting graduates of universities and technical institutes. This almost certainly contributes to better service delivery and consumer loyalty
Value for investment – offshore outsourcing has established itself as a premier method of driving the best possible interactions for consumers. For enterprises across sectors, this has been
monetized in a number of manners, which include:
Lower overheads – there can be no question that the price of labor, facilities and all associated inputs in running a contact center in North America, Western Europe or Australia will be higher
than doing so in the offshore. Working with an overseas outsourcer, not only will an enterprise save on capital costs by not running their own CX operation, they will recoup further savings due to the lower cost base
in the offshore destination.
More favorable attrition rates – credible offshore outsourcers have lower rates of agent churn than their counterparts based in established demand markets. This means that the
enterprise client will recoup value in the form of reduced offshore costs around recruitment, training and retention, which ensure limited price increases for service delivery.
Better end-user loyalty – the intersection between lower offshore costs, an abundance of willing agents and higher levels of education is a better-served consumer. Consumers will feel better about
their interaction, and more likely to spend more with the enterprise over their life cycle, thereby ensuring a longer stream of revenues.
What to look for in an offshore CX delivery locations
The case is clear – working with an outsourcer that is based in the offshore makes sense from a quality and cost perspective. However, for many enterprises the next question of where to look in the offshore for a strong
outsourcing partner may be intimidating – but by following a
few straightforward guidelines, this need not be overly complex. Consider the following dynamics –
Accessibility - when it comes to an enterprise CX executive directly accessing its offshore delivery partner’s location, the ease of this process should be a major consideration. So many
decision-makers are less likely to work with outsourcers in countries that are excessively far in terms of travel time, preferring to opt for locations that are more straightforward to access. Equally, the availability of
direct flights is another consideration, in order to reduce the chance of delays or cancellations during correspondences.
Proactive local industry – one of the most important things an enterprise new to offshoring needs to investigate is the activity of the local players. By nature, those countries in which there is
an active outsourcing association tends to have better luck in ensuring more favorable regulation from all levels of government, while lobbying for the sector’s needs when it comes to education and training needs for the labor
force. Without such an organized industry approach, offshore locations may not be sustainable from a CX standpoint.
Stability – no enterprise wants to work with a provider that is based in a location that has challenges related to economic, political or public security stability. Even the best third-party
partner cannot overcome macro-level factors that impact service delivery. Choosing a location offshore that has a stable operating environment is a must.
Infrastructure –a quality infrastructure is imperative for an offshore outsourcing partner. Contact centers must be able to access a robust telecommunications network, while solid roads, rail and
public transport need to be in place for orderly migration of agents to / from work. Without these in place, managing a reliable CX program will be impossible.
Favorability among buyers – there is something to be said for an offshore location’s level of favorability among those organizations that are using it for CX delivery. A country that is
well-viewed by clients working with outsourcers in a specific location is likely a strong delivery point for managing interactions with end-users. Consider that in the 2020 Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey by Ryan Strategic
Advisory, enterprise contact center decision-makers chose those countries listed in the graphic below as their most favored locations. Each of these has a longstanding history of providing outsourcers with a strong base from
which to supply consumers with both voice and digital interactions of high quality.
Reputation for CX excellence– a final consideration in this offshore choice relates to reputation. The reality is that each offshore CX delivery point is created differently and
enterprises need to balance their expectation for quality. In some cases, there are offshore countries that are better known for handling large volume, transactional frontline tasks. However more enterprise
decision-makers are favorable toward offshore destinations in which agents are better positioned to problem-solve more complex CX challenges for consumers.
For any enterprise aiming to work with an outsourcer, the decision on where that third-party provider is based will be a major consideration. With more contact centers facing the pressure of delivering onshore with escalating
costs, higher attrition and difficulties attracting talent, it is little wonder so many are choosing to offshore. This business model continues to prove its CX worth by way of providing scalable, educated talent and a lower cost
base that ensures price stability for clients.
Equally enterprise decision-makers need to be conscious of the locations in which they choose to seek an outsourcing partner. By finding accessible delivery points that have solid infrastructure, an established CX outsourcing
community and a reputation for strong interactions with quality talent, executives will be in a position to make a reliable strategic choice.