Offshoring your customer service to a call center is a great way to improve your customer experience at an affordable rate.
However, you should only select an offshore call center after careful consideration. Your customers may be unsatisfied and could leave you if the service your offshore call center provides is poor.
But how do you choose the right offshore call center?
This article includes:
(Click on the links below to go to a particular section)
- What is an Offshore Call Center?
- 6 Key Things to Consider Before You Offshore Customer Service
- 3 Popular Offshore Call Center Consultants
Let’s dive in.
What is an offshore call center?
An offshore call center is a service provider from a foreign country that offers your company 24/7 customer service. Usually, they provide customer support services in multiple languages and at an inexpensive rate.
Some popular offshore call center destinations include developing countries like India, China, the Philippines, and some countries in Latin America and Eastern Europe.
Keep in mind that an offshore call center is different from an onshore call center — which is located in the same country as your company.
Before exploring how to choose the right offshore call center, let’s understand the key differences between offshore and onshore call centers.
Offshore vs. onshore call center outsourcing
Offshore and domestic call centers have different characteristics due to the difference in their location.
Let’s compare them on four key aspects and see which model will suit your business best:
1. Operating costs
The main attraction of offshore call centers is that you may get call center services at a lower cost when compared to onshore call centers.
For example, let’s say your company is in the US. Now, you could either outsource customer support to an external party in the US (onshoring) or a service provider in a foreign country like India (offshoring).
When you outsource call centers to India, the labor cost and other expenses related to call center services are much lower than if you onshore in the US. This is due to India’s lower cost of living.
With offshore outsourcing, you can make a cost-effective investment in infrastructure and resources for your company.
So if you own an SME (Small and Medium Enterprises), you should consider offshore outsourcing your customer support for cost saving benefits.
Offshore call centers can have agents who speak more than one language. This skill can help your business cater to non-English speaking customers.
If your offshore call center agents are bilingual, they could communicate in a language suitable to the customer — especially if you have customers in the offshore country. This can help increase customer satisfaction.
However, onshore call centers might have only English-speaking agents who aren’t well versed in other languages. This can prevent you from giving customers the comfort provided by call centers in offshore locations.
3. Range of outsourced services
Due to the cost difference between offshore and onshore call centers, you can get more offshore outsourcing services at the same cost.
You can utilize the money you save to increase your service quality or invest in your core competencies and grow your business.
For example, US companies may have to pay $100 for 5 hours of onshore call center service, while they can get 24/7 customer care service by offshoring services for the same price.
Similarly, you can hire more agents to work during busy hours. This way, you can improve your phone answer service rate as you’ll be equipped to answer more inbound calls from your customers.
4. Maintaining technology
When you have an onshore call center, you may have to invest in its infrastructure and regularly update technology.
Additionally, you may have to spend more money on maintaining it, as you have to hire a team solely to look after its performance.
For example, you may have to pay money while you subscribe to a software that streamlines customer communication. Similarly, you may have to repair laptops or other devices when they stop working.
By outsourcing customer service to an offshore company, you can eliminate the cost and effort required for technical maintenance and other related expenditures. Additionally, you can also get a competitive advantage over companies if your offshore partner uses modern technology.
6 key things to consider before you offshore customer service
Many factors can guide you to choose the best offshore call center or contact center for your business.
Let’s look at some of the factors that you must consider:
1. Language barriers
You must test the language skills of offshore call center and contact center agents before you sign an agreement with them.
Your customers who contact the helpline may find it inconvenient to talk to a worker who doesn’t understand what they’re saying or can’t convey the solution properly.
By eliminating language barriers, your customers may not experience any difference in the services provided by an onshore and offshore call center.
That’s why it’s essential to ensure that the quality of the service provided by your offshore call center meets your customer expectations before actually outsourcing it.
2. Cultural differences
Any type of cultural barrier can reduce customer satisfaction by creating misunderstandings during the conversation between agents and customers.
For example, a customer from the USA may prefer starting the call with an informal greeting — which might be considered impolite in the Philippines. So if your customer service representative in the Philippines starts the conversation quite formally, it may not please your American customer.
Similarly, if your customer is from a place where casual talk isn’t encouraged, they may find it annoying when an agent is friendly or informal.
Such cultural gaps can create a poor brand impression and decrease customer experience.
You can solve such issues by offshoring to a call center whose agents understand your customer’s culture. You can also customize the call center script and train agents to talk to your customers in a way that keeps the customers happy.
3. Resources to ensure business continuity
Your offshore call center or BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) center should have the right equipment, advanced technology, and knowledge about any latest business process.
This will enable them to provide the best customer service, technical support, and outbound (reaching out to customers) engagement.
For example, if your offshore partner has an ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) that matches customer calls with agents best suited for it, they can provide a better customer experience.
Additionally, they should have the potential to provide business continuity even during times of distress.
Your customers may not understand the reason for disruption in customer service when everything is fine in their country. Your overseas service provider should have the facilities to function even when the situation makes it difficult.
For example, if you outsource call center jobs to India, you should ensure that the company can provide services even during power failures, heavy rains, or other issues without interruption.
While outsourcing calls, make sure your overseas call center has:
- Multiple branches to ensure smooth customer service during unforeseen situations.
- A dedicated team that can provide 24/7 customer service.
- Latest call center technology like automation software, cloud storage, etc., to provide better customer service.
4. Quality of customer experience
Your offshore call center agents should be trained such that they can represent your brand.
The customer service you provide will reflect your brand image — which means your call center must understand your company persona and values.
You can train your call center agents to:
- Familiarize them with your product.
- Customize the tone of agents to reflect your brand.
- Educate them about your customer’s persona and culture.
Additionally, your agents should remain calm, polite, and patient throughout the conversation — as any mistake can result in you losing a customer.
To assess the quality of customer service, train the agents in various simulated scenarios of customer calls. The way the agents react can help you predict your customer’s experience and satisfaction after the call.
5. Client portfolio
The offshore call center’s client portfolio can give you an idea about the type of customer service they provide.
For example, if a call center has multiple B2B clients, you can expect their agents to have experience in dealing with B2B businesses. On the other hand, if a call center mostly provides service to end consumers, they’d be better suited to B2C support.
This way, you can predict the service a call center provides by examining their client list.
6. Offshore call center monitoring requirements
It’s important that you closely observe your outsourced agents, even if they are miles away from you.
For this, you can ask your offshore call center to use productivity management software like Time Doctor, which lets you track employee performance from any corner of the world.
Time Doctor allows you to:
- Track the total hours worked on your projects.
- Monitor the websites and applications they use during work hours.
- Pay the service provider via trusted payroll solutions.
- Gain insights into agent performance with accurate productivity reports.
Check out the complete list of Time Doctor’s features and benefits.
3 popular offshore call center consultants
As you’re shifting customer support operations to a foreign destination, you could be unfamiliar with the call center providers available in that country.
Fortunately, there are several platforms that can help you find an outsourcing partner that suits you best.
Let’s look at some of the best outsourcing platforms where you can find offshore call centers:
Triniter has been in the inbound call center industry for almost a decade. They have been awarded for having the highest customer satisfaction rate in the industry.
2. Outsource consultants
Outsource Consultants is a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) that can help match your business needs with a suitable call center.
This BPO has over 25 years of experience in the industry. It helps you find a call center or contact center that offers telemarketing services, attend inbound calls (incoming calls from the customer), etc.
Key call center solutions
- Provides agent curriculum training, supervisor curriculum training, etc.
- Performs quality assessment on call centers.
- Recruits call center operation, sales, and marketing executives.
- Offers outsourcing strategy consulting service.
3. Worldwide Call Centers
Worldwide Call Centers is a domestic and international call and contact center outsourcing company that connects you with call centers in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the USA.
Their call center partners offer a wide range of services like sales, lead generation, telemarketing, inbound and outbound call service, etc., to different industries.
Key call center solutions
- Recommends companies with a minimum of 25 years of experience in the call center industry.
- Matches you with call centers in your preferred location.
- Offers free call center consulting and referrals regarding outsourcing.
- Can hire call centers with agents who have different skills from your employees to help expand your talent base.
4. Call Centers India
Call Centers India is an outsourcer that can help businesses meet the best call centers in India. Their team of consultants can help your company migrate their call centers to India and monitor your call center partners.
Key call center solutions
- Provides the largest database of call centers in India.
- Helps verify the authenticity of call centers via their consultants.
- Performs regular audits for quality, performance, software, and infrastructure.
- Solves any issues between you and the offshore center to ensure a smooth, professional relationship.
Offshore call centers are an effective way to streamline consumer communication and provide a better customer experience at a low cost. And with the advancement of technology, various US, European, and Australian companies have begun to offshore customer service.
Go through the tips and consulting platforms covered above to zero in on the call center that meets your needs. Once you find the right offshore call center, you’ll be able to boost customer satisfaction with ease.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.