2017-09

Offshore vs onshore: Your contact centre options

by Matt Carracher
 | 
31 August 2017
Offshore vs onshore: Your contact centre options
To onshore of to offshore? That is the question. We consider both sides of the coin so you can make an informed decision.

An offshore contact centre could help your organisation save in several areas, but an onshore operation has the advantage of local service.
 
To consolidate at home or abroad?
 
It’s a tricky call to make. By weighing up the pros and cons, you may get a better picture of what will work for your business.
  
Both do what they say on the label. 

Onshore means keeping your contact centre operation in Australia, whereas offshore involves relocating it overseas. Traditionally, the offshore model was best suited for more complex operations, but this is not always the case. Cloud technology has made it viable for both.

So, which model should you choose? Let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Offshore contact centre

Cost savings

More Australian contact centres are moving offshore, and cost continues to be the main reason. With salaries accounting for 80% of the running costs, sourcing cheaper labour overseas makes sense. To put this into context, the minimum wage of a full-time agent in Australia is over $33,000 more than the average salary of an agent in the Philippines. Plus, rent and running costs are cheaper too.
 

Supports global business

An international contact centre in the face of globalisation can be a big plus. It can open your business up to new markets, and allow you to take advantage of local expertise, for example India’s strong IT outsourcing capabilities. Bilingual staff can also boost satisfaction levels by delivering service in a customer’s own language.
 

Communication barriers

Trying to overcome language barriers while receiving customer service can be a big customer peeve. Choosing a compatible offshore location can make all the difference. The Philippines, for example, has an English-speaking workforce with a neutral accent and strong connection to Western culture.
 

Management

In today’s multichannel contact centre, good management is critical. But how can you be sure your offshore counterparts are pulling their weight when they’re located overseas? Outsourcing contact operations to a nearby country, or ‘nearshoring’ as it’s known, has been the solution for many Australian companies.
 

Onshore contact centre

Local expertise 

Your organisation’s commitment to keeping jobs in Australia could be your key selling point for choosing to locate your call centre onshore. Companies like Bankwest and Budget Direct both promote their Australian-based contact centre to set themselves apart from competitors.
 

Scalability

If your organisation is prone to fluctuating call periods, or seasonal rushes, then a local workforce could be a better fit for your organisation. In addition to instant-response customer service, their experience with new customer communication channels, like social media and online chat, could be beneficial when you move into multichannel customer services.
 

Recruitment and retention

It can challenging to attract onshore contact centre staff – especially if you require large numbers of agents to manage your operation. Outsourcing your onshore operation to a provider saves you the headache of hiring, training, and scheduling of staff as the supplier will have an established process in place for hiring new recruits with the requisite skills.
 

Making good on your choice

If you decide to offshore, make sure you carefully consider your provider. Do they have a reputation for service and efficiency? Can they support you if you want to grow your contact centre, or if you need a temporary solution? Will they monitor and report on customer satisfaction levels?
 
If you decide to onshore, think about innovative ways to keep costs low – although industry research suggests customers are willing to pay a little more for better service.
 

Cloud-based contact centre: The future is virtual 

As cloud technology becomes more sophisticated, the argument for the offshore versus onshore model is being displaced by an appealing cloud-based model. As well as enhanced security, cost savings, and greater flexibility, allowing you to upscale or downsize or roll out new features – enabling remote working gives way to the virtual contact centre of the future.
 
If you’d like to learn more about Salmat’s contact centre solution, visit our website or call us on 1300 725 628.

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About the author
Matt Carracher
General Manager - Marketing Solutions