When determining which contact center to hire for your next program, you have an important decision to make: do I engage with a provider within the United States or nearshore vs. offshore, and does it matter? Call center outsourcing is a strategic business decision that should not be made lightly, so it’s important to consider all the facts involved.
Your contact center partner will significantly influence your customer’s perception of your brand. At Telecom, we believe that the quality of representatives in the United States is better than anywhere in the world. Educated and experienced staff who speak eloquently and offer advanced customer service and computer skills are available throughout the country.
Call Center Outsourcing: Domestic vs. Nearshore or Offshore
In addition to the quality of domestic agents, US-based contact centers surprisingly don’t cost more money (net comparison), than offshore providers. Domestic providers can actually save you money, relative to offshore providers, all while providing a higher quality experience for your customers.
Outsource providers operating offshore often promote how their representatives are similar to domestic. They may state that their agents speak impeccable English or that a handful of their agents may have attended school, or worked, in the United States as verification of their cultural knowledge and awareness, but once the project is underway, companies quickly find that these claims simply don’t hold up. The bottom line is that the quality and net cost of services provided by contact centers operating in the US is superior. Domestic providers represent the gold standard. You’ll certainly never hear domestic BPOs claiming to emulate the practices of their offshore and nearshore competitors.
US-based customers prefer talking to agents speaking with agents who clearly understand their questions and needs. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t had a bad experience with an offshore agent. What is your initial reaction when you realize an agent you’re speaking with won’t be able to help you the way you expect? Your customers shouldn’t have to settle or try to make the best of an often frustrating situation.
Typically when a company outsources a project, management’s biggest concern is rooted in the fear that those not under their direct supervision won’t properly represent their brand. The good and bad experiences your customers have with your outsourcer’s agents have a direct reflection on your valued reputation. Choosing the proper partner is an extremely important decision. You can accomplish some wonderful things with the right contact center partner, but you can also cause serious damage by choosing the wrong partner.
Some people say the cost of call center outsourcing to an off/nearshore center is less, and at the surface, it typically is. However, are you comparing the proper costs? Your net cost is what matters most. Telecom looks at costs from three perspectives: gross, adjusted gross, and net.
Comparing Call Center Outsourcing Costs
Many times, the hourly or per minute rate billed by an off/nearshore provider is less than those of a domestic provider. That’s their leading value differentiator, but it’s also true that this is the least important cost to consider. Start your next level analysis by calculating your adjusted gross cost – the cost of the service adjusted by the amount of time associated with the service being provided.
Consider a scenario where an off/nearshore provider charges $.40 per minute for inbound order processing. Now compare this to a domestic call center charging $.80 per minute for the same task. The average handle time (AHT) must be applied to calculate the adjusted gross cost. Off/nearshore handle times typically exceed domestic handle times. Often the AHT of an off/nearshore provider is twice as long as that of a domestic provider. If a call serviced by the off/nearshore agent averages 6 minutes and the domestic call center agent averages 3 minutes, the adjusted gross cost per call is $2.40 for both off/nearshore (6 minutes x $0.40/minute) and domestic service (3 minutes x $0.80/minute).
One must consider the production impacts resulting from both delivery teams to calculate the overall net cost of working with a given provider. To do so, one must measure the impact of the service experience, specifically the quality of the interactions with the agents. By conducting post-contact customer satisfaction surveys, you can quantify the impact your outsourced provider is having on your customer’s experiences. One can reasonably assume that customers grading their experiences poorly are unlikely to remain loyal. You can extrapolate the percentage of the surveyed audience who are unlikely to purchase again to the entire audience serviced by the outsourcer. Next, apply your customer’s average lifetime value to that figure to approximate the opportunity cost of working with that company. This is part of the formula for calculating the net cost of working with an outsourced contact center.
There are other important pieces to consider when determining the net cost of working with a given BPO. For example, if you’re outsourcing the function of order processing, you must measure the conversion rate. If your program requires up and/or cross-selling additional products or services, the additional revenue from such efforts must also be factored into the net cost equation. In both settings, research indicates that results generated by domestic contact centers greatly exceed those of offshore providers.
When choosing your outsourced partner, vet the reliability of the centers in question in addition to their compliance standards and best practices. For one thing, the electric grids found in many other countries are reason enough for concern. To service your customers, you need reliable power, high-speed and redundant internet connectivity, and access to the latest in communication technology. It became more apparent during the pandemic when agents were forced to work from home that most technological infrastructure pales in comparison to what we have in the United States. Another consideration is data security. Make sure you understand a company’s compliance status and security standards, no matter where they are located.
Contact the Expert Domestic Team at Telecom, Inc.
Regardless of how the contact center you hire interacts with your customers, inbound or outbound, phone, chat, or email, you have to focus on the net cost of working with the company and their impact on your reputation. There are certainly some applications where an off/nearshore provider makes sense, such as supporting products with low price points and non-recurring orders. However, the vast majority of the time you sacrifice money (and possibly your reputation) when hiring a nearshore or offshore provider. There is truly no comparison to the superior quality offered by a domestic delivery team.
At Telecom, Inc., we believe the best representatives and management can be found right here in the US. It’s why we exclusively provide call center outsourcing services with domestic agents and are proud to offer them for your programs. To learn more about why Telecom, Inc. could be the right partner for you and how we compare to other contact centers, please contact us today.