Setting up customer support services can be an overwhelming task. There are hundreds of options available, from onshore customer service outsourcing to in-house support.
And customer service (CS) is crucial to get right. 83% of customers cite good customer service functions as the most important criteria when deciding what to buy, and 69% will spend more money with a brand they feel understands them.1 The better your customer service, the better your acquisition, retention and conversion rates will be.
In this article, we’ll explain what onshore customer service outsourcing is and how it compares to other CS solutions.
We’ll give you the information you need to make an informed decision about the kind of service you want to deliver — and explain the benefits and downsides of a variety of different approaches.
Suggested reading: Read our free eBook, ‘The State of Customer Service’, to get insight into the customer service trends you should know about in 2023.
What is onshore customer service outsourcing?
Onshore customer service outsourcing is the process of acquiring customer services through a third party within the same country as your business. So if you are based in the UK, that could mean reaching out to a UK-based call centre for phone support services.
Partnerships with outsourced providers allow companies to significantly reduce the time, effort and costs required for hiring personnel and managing in-house teams. It also allows them to tap into inclusive and adaptable CS expertise, and benefit from increased scalability potential on top of round-the-clock customer support.
Approximately 54% of companies seek third-party assistance to connect with their customers.2 While the cost, flexibility and scalability of onshore outsourcing will really depend on the provider and their business model, the core benefits remain the same:
- Improved scalability of customer support beyond in-house capacity
- Lower wait times and improved customer satisfaction
- Eliminated or reduced agent training and hiring costs
Pro tip: The decision between in-house vs outsourcing customer service isn’t always clear cut: some businesses will choose to turn entirely towards onshore outsourcing, while others take a hybrid approach. Make sure to consider your existing capacity when choosing an onshore outsourcing solution.
Onshore outsourcing business models
Businesses can make the choice to outsource their services by using either:
- A call or contact centre that operates from a single location, or…
- A distributed service provider that sources agents from across the country in a virtual, cloud-based contact centre.
With remote and hybrid teams being a fixture of the workplace, distributed CS providers have become increasingly valuable to today’s businesses.
They can source the best talent from around the country, and ensure you get a high quality of service without having to pay the high costs of employing a call or contact centre according to a fixed-term contract.
Centre-based and distributed onshore outsourcing should not be confused with offshore outsourcing, which provides a very different type of customer service…
Onshore vs offshore outsourcing: what’s the difference?
Offshore customer service outsourcing, as the name suggests, is when customer services are outsourced to a third party outside of the country where your business is located.
Offshore call centre outsourcing gained popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s as businesses looked for easy ways to cut costs and scale their operations.3 And while it does allow businesses to reduce CS spending, it can also have a damaging effect on the overall quality of customer care.
Offshoring customer services can lead to:
- Translation setbacks: As many agents don’t provide support in their first language.
- Dissatisfied customers: Who are unable to get the support they need due to time zone differences. Considering the importance of customer satisfaction, this could be detrimental to your business.
- Cross-departmental confusion: With some customer services provided offshore and some onshore, the likelihood of misinformation and confusion is increased.
On average, 22% of people would happily pay less for offshore services, while 64% would prefer to pay more for onshore solutions.4 And since 51% of consumers will refuse to buy from a business again after one bad customer service experience, it’s crucial to ensure that the support you’re providing is up to scratch.5
The upfront costs of offshore call centres are generally lower than those of onshore call centres, but the long-term costs in terms of customer dissatisfaction are often higher. With that all in mind, onshore outsourcing is often the most cost-effective type of customer service.
Due to the cost-benefits of onshore CS, many businesses in 2023 have started moving customer services back to their country of origin — including big-brand names like BT and EE.6
The benefits of onshore outsourcing
Onshore outsourced customer support services have lots of benefits compared to in-house or offshore CS. Here, we’ve outlined some of the main ones:
1. Meet modern customer expectations
Today’s customers expect more from customer service than ever before. 80% of customers will only buy from companies that offer a tailored service, and 78% of consumers report having backed out of a purchase due to poor experiences.7 8
To meet modern customer expectations, it’s important to ensure you have the capacity to cope with demand and keep response times low. Additionally, agents should be qualified at identifying and responding to queries efficiently, to prevent customers from having to come back for answers.
But how can you get that kind of expertise while keeping costs down?
The best way is by working with a distributed onshore outsourcing provider. They will be able to source the best talent from across the country to provide you with an expert, highly scalable team that enables a high-quality omnichannel customer experience.
These agents can be hand-picked according to your customer service requirements, ensuring that your buyers receive the best service possible.
2. Improve flexibility and scalability
Neither offshoring nor physical onshore call centre models offer a perfect level of flexibility. Typically, they both follow long-term contractual structures, which can make it hard for businesses to prepare for spikes in calls or periods of reduced demand.
Distributed onshore models are beneficial in this respect as they can:
- Eliminate call queues and allow agents to spend more time with customers
- Rapidly expand to get more hands-on-deck during peak times
- Help businesses provide customer support at a large scale
- Simplify customer service management for in-house staff
3. Provide cost-savings
Onshore customer service outsourcing can help you transform CS from a cost centre into a revenue driver. The best customer service outsourcing companies will allow you to scale your CS according to demand, eliminating all upfront over-provisioning costs and indirect under-provisioning costs.
ID-Pal, an identity verification tool, was able to make its customer services more cost-effective by using Odondo’s onshoring outsourcing solution alongside its own in-house team. They had been struggling with capacity during busy holiday periods, and using Odondo allowed them to expand their team without committing to a long-term CS investment.
Simon Montgomery, Chief Operating Officer at ID-Pal, said:
“Odondo allowed us to scale up with more agents as needed with no fixed term contractual commitments or additional overheads, so we’ll definitely use them again when our customer service demands rise.”
Suggested reading: Read the full ID-Pal case study to learn more.
4. Increase personalisation and service quality
As well as eradicating location dependency to ensure access to the best possible talent pools, outsourcing virtual call centres with the right partner can see agents matched with queries according to:
- Technical background
- Language skills
This ensures that consumers are always accessing the knowledgeable and easily understandable advice they need without being passed around or tackling frustrating language barriers.
Odondo matches you with agents who have industry experience in your field, area, and demographic to ensure excellent customer handling and technical support at every stage.
Finding the right solution for your business
Here at Odondo, we’ve been working to reinvent customer service delivery and improve customer experiences for a range of businesses — including those in the financial sector, eCommerce sector, health and beauty sector, and more.
Our solution is a departure from traditional customer service outsourcing, and involves selecting agents from around the UK according to a distributed, cloud-based working model.
The future of customer service requires a model that provides access to experienced, high-quality agents that can deliver at an affordable, flexible cost. We ensure cost savings thanks to a flexible pricing model that avoids fixed-term contracts and allows you to pay as you go.
Want to learn more? Get a quote to start your journey with Odondo today.
Bobby spent 11 years as an Investment Banker before going on to co-found his own e-commerce start-up, where Customer Service was one of the core functions that fell under his remit.
He has spent the past 9 years in and around the start-up space, most recently co-founding Odondo with the aim of reimagining the delivery of Customer Service. Bobby has pursued a very traditional career path for someone who ultimately aspires to be a hardcore gangsta rapper.