Cheap isn’t our idea of a virtue. If you’ve ever driven a low-cost lemon off a used car lot or bought a shoddy home appliance, you’re all too familiar with the reasons why. Yet when the stakes are even higher, i.e. a business searching for a contact center to represent their brand and increase their revenue, some still choose to jettison quality in favor of a lower cost. In our experience, there is a middle-ground where companies can find harmony between cost and quality: nearshore contact center services. Here are some of the benefits of nearshore contact centers that show they might be right for you.
Low Unemployment Has Hurt Your Hiring
U.S. consumer confidence is near a 15 year high, but the unemployment rate is at 3.7%. This means most companies are experiencing high customer demands from their customer care services or outbound sales support but have a difficult time finding the workforce to keep those consumers satisfied. Even name brands with the recognition to maintain stronger pipelines are hard-pressed to hire agents during seasonal spikes (for that reason, preparing now for holiday season customer service should be of particular importance).
Nearshore contact centers are subject to a different set of conditions. Take the Dominican Republic as an example. The current unemployment rate is 5.8% and even more citizens are underemployed, which makes reliable contact center work an appealing option for Dominicans. However, it’s important to know that not all nearshore options are currently right for your contact center workforce. Reviewing the current unemployment rate of a nearshore destination and the strength of their BPO industry before you make any decisions helps ensure you make a cost-effective choice.
You Want Agents Near Your Time Zone
These days, we’re all global businesses. Scheduling contact center agents who synchronize with our customers’ local time zones is near impossible. However, when the majority of your agents are half a day ahead of your customers, there can be some negative impacts – if your contact center partner fails to mitigate the issues.
For example, studies of BPO workers overseas found that those working a “UK-USA shift” often developed “cumulative sleep debt leading to significant sleep deprivation” or felt “socially alienated […] owing to nocturnal labor”. The right contact center culture can mitigate some of the impact of the night shift, helping agents to feel a sense of connection to their work and greater bonds with their coworkers. Yet not every contact center treats their employees as their most important assets, so for this reason you need to pick partners with greater caution.
A team of nearshore agents is less impacted by this issue. At most, the difference in time zone is negligible and doesn’t risk disrupting agents’ circadian rhythms. This is of vital importance. Just like a domestic contact center, your customers are more likely to encounter agents who are alert and ready to tackle the challenges of the day.
You’re Worried about a Culture Clash
Every exceptional customer experience stems from a deeper connection. Agents who can relate to customers in a way that feels familiar and natural generate higher customer satisfaction and even boost revenue. To a large degree, these feelings of familiarity are easier to come by when your agents possess some level of cultural literacy, whether it’s a grasp of common idioms or relatable pop culture references.
In many cases, nearshore contact center agents have a lower barrier for cultural proficiency. The Dominican Republic is yet again another great example. Close economic ties between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic and steady Dominican immigration to the U.S. since the 1980s have created greater cultural familiarity between the two countries. When your agents and customers have a similar awareness of the same sports, pop culture, and brand phenomenon, there is bound to be a more natural connection.
You Want to Visit Your Team
Visiting your contact center partner is a must. It’s critical to get a sense of how your outsourced team functions and meet the people who make your brand shine.
From a budgetary standpoint, it’s more cost-effective to make a trip to a nearshore provider. Traveling to a distant offshore provider can cost upward of $7,000. On the other hand, a nearshore trip is typically lower than $500. And believe me, you won’t regret the lack of red eye flights in your life.
A Final Thought
Quality is irreplaceable. The most important consideration is always whether your outsourced contact center partner will provide remarkable experiences to your customers and business. When you can get the best of both world (i.e. quality service and cost-effective prices), you’ll see why some people value nearshore contact centers among their best options.