Onshore vs. Offshore Call Center Outsourcing [Pros & Cons]

Trying to decide between onshore and offshore services outsourcing for your business? Both options have unique pros and cons that could have a big effect on your customer care. Keep reading to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of the two options. By the end of the article, you’ll have a better idea of the best option to suit your company’s needs.

Benefits of All Call Centers

Call centers of any kind help to reduce costs and ease the responsibilities of a busy company. Once a business hires a call center, they free up their time to accomplish more important tasks and can be more effective in their day-to-day job. Call centers also allow for 24/7 customer service to support customers whenever they need it.

Onshore and Offshore Company Meaning

Onshore and offshore companies get their names from sharing or not sharing the same country as the parent company. If you are located in the United States, any company that is part of the United States is considered as onshore. An offshore company would be a company that is based in any other country. Even nearby foreign countries like Mexico or Canada would still be considered as offshore. 

The main benefit of using an onshore contractor is that you will share similar time zones and languages, which can play a very large role in communication and negotiations. The main benefits of using an offshore company as a contractor include a significant reduction in the cost of labor and the possibility for multi-language support.

What is an Offshore Call Center?

An offshore call center provides a company with around-the-clock services as well as multiple language options at a fraction of the cost to the parent company. Offshore call centers can also reduce the need to invest in communications technology and help lower the overhead cost of customer support infrastructure. 

A BPO will provide the staff, training, and infrastructure, as well as manage all day-to-day call center operations. The offshore call center can provide both comprehensive and partial call center support for a company. This can include operations like sales, marketing, and customer support. 

An offshore call center is an external service provider located outside of the United States. Many U.S. companies choose to hire offshore call centers in countries like India or the Philippines. Here are some of the pros and cons of offshore call centers:

Benefits

  • Lower Cost. The main draw of offshore call center outsourcing is that call centers offshore are more affordable than onshore call centers. Because of differences in economies, the cost of handling a call offshore can often be half the cost of handling a call in the U.S.
  • Bilingual Services. Offshore call centers can be found all over the world. Customer services representatives in these countries are often bilingual, and sometimes even speak three or four languages. If you have a high volume of customers who speak another language, it could be greatly beneficial to find an offshore call center that can easily speak to customers in their native language.
  • Afford a Wider Range of Services. Because offshore call centers often cost much less than onshore call centers, companies can afford to hire them for a wider range of services. For example, a company that hired an onshore call center to answer calls during business hours might be able to afford 24/7 customer service with an offshore call center.

Disadvantages

  • Language Barriers. As you likely know from your own experience calling customer service, the biggest concern with offshore call centers is that many of the agents will have lower familiarity with the US language conventions and culture. Although representatives may speak English, their fluency skills may not be conversational, which makes connecting with customers hard.
  • Reduced Control over Business Processes. Additionally, offshore call centers are geographically far away, which makes them more difficult to visit regularly. In turn, this reduces the amount of control you have over workflows, processes, culture and day-to-day operations.
  • Security Concerns. Onshore call centers are easier to regulate and secure than offshore call centers. An offshore call center may not follow the same security protocol, which may increase the likelihood of a data breach.

Onshore Call Centers

An onshore call center is one located within the United States. The call center could be in the same area as the business or be located in another state. For example, a company in San Francisco might hire an onshore call center in Dallas, Texas. Here are some of the pros and cons of onshore call centers:

Benefits

  • Shared Language and Culture. Most companies who choose onshore call centers do so because they know the customer service representatives have a shared culture with their customers. This eliminates language barriers and increases customer satisfaction.
  • More Control Over Business. Having an onshore call center allows businesses to more easily engage with the call center and visit in-person. They can monitor the quality of the customer service and ensure it lives up to their standards.
  • Higher Efficiency. Offshore call centers often have inefficiencies due to language barriers and physical distance from the company employing them. These problems are removed with onshore call centers, making them more efficient and effective.
  • Better Data Security. Running an onshore call center can help you better protect your company from security breaches. Since you’re likely more familiar with your country’s privacy and data protection standards, you’ll know what security protocol and technologies will work best to keep your information secure. Additionally, the United States may have stricter cybersecurity regulations than some countries with offshore services.

Disadvantages

  • Higher Cost. The main drawback of onshore call centers is the higher cost. Employing people in the United States simply costs more. But the company may enjoy savings over time with the increased efficiency and ease of communication with the call center.

Onshore vs Offshore Call Center: Which is Right for You?

Still can’t choose between onshore vs offshore services? Here’s a quick rundown to help you decide once and for all.

If you’re a company looking to maximize your budget, an offshore call center may be the best option for you. Quality of customer care may be lower, but you’ll be able to afford more expansive services and 24/7 care.

For companies with a more flexible or larger budget, consider partnering with an onshore call center. Working with an onshore call center will not only eliminate linguistic or cultural barriers that can decrease customer service quality, but it will also enable you to be more involved with day-to-day processes and systems of your call center. Either way, you should carefully consider all of your options to find the best fit for your outsourcing goals.

By carefully weighing your options, you’re sure to find the right solution to fit the needs of your onshore and offshore projects.

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