Photo Gallery

Call Center Services Buyer's Guide - The Offshore Call Center Debate

Call Center Services Buyer's Guide - The Offshore Call Center Debate

Published: 03/27/2011

» Marketing Services
»» Call Center Services


The Offshore Call Center Debate


One of the major decisions to make when considering outsourcing your call center is whether to go with an offshore provider or use a company whose call centers are in the U.S. In the last few years, “offshoring” has really started to take off – and the controversy has taken off with it. While the idea of businesses using foreign plants and workers in manufacturing is less contentious than it used to be, choosing offshore providers for call centers has caused much heated debate. The best advice we can give you is to make sure you make your decision on solid business reasoning, not emotion.



The main tradeoffs are these:



Choosing an offshore provider is almost always cheaper. Rates can be as little as 25% of what a U.S.‐ based firm would charge for the same service. The savings are substantial enough that this option simply can not be ignored.


Your choice of providers can impact your corporate image. There will always be a segment of the population – including some within your own company – that prefer to keep these types of jobs in the U.S. Larger companies usually face more media scrutiny on these issues; for smaller companies, customer perception is the larger risk.




While it is slightly less than PC to discuss it, some of your callers may be bothered by unusual accents. (Of course this can be a factor with American call centers, too.) Other challenges of offshore outsourcing include the difficulty of arranging site visits for evaluation or training. 10‐ to 14‐hour time differences can also make problem resolution difficult.



You can reduce some of the risk and still lock in significant cost savings by choosing providers whose call centers are in the Caribbean, Canada, or other locations where English is commonly spoken. In places where English is not the first language, you may have better success with highly scripted applications, because the call center agents are not expected to have extensive conversations. Simple order placement or informational calling are good examples.



As with most hot‐button issues, there is no best answer to this question. Whichever route you choose, make sure your management team is on board and understands how the choice was made.