Onshore vs Nearshore vs Offshore Customer Service

Companies that outsource customer service enjoy affordable, scalable solutions that can more easily meet consumer needs. Even busy periods are easier to manage with access to high-quality, ready-trained agents who can respond to demand. With 89% of customers reporting that they’re more likely to make a repeat purchase after a positive customer service experience, this kind of responsive service model has never been more important.1

However, not all outsourcing options are made alike. Deciding which is best for you generally comes down to choosing between onshore, nearshore, and offshore service solutions. 

While offshoring used to be an outsourcing go-to, buyers increasingly expecting quality, personalised service solutions means that this budget option is no longer necessarily the best.

Here, we’ll consider the pros and cons of onshore vs. nearshore vs. offshore, to help you decide on the best fit for your service requirements. 

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Offshore Customer Service

When businesses offshore customer service, they outsource customer service agents who are based in a different country. These countries will typically be far away from where that business is based. Notable offshoring activity in the last few decades has been based in countries that include –

  • India
  • South Africa
  • The Philippines

Offshoring customer service tends to be an affordable solution with easy scalability. Access to a large offshore talent pool can be especially beneficial. Many offshore agents are also multilingual, which is crucial for delivering service to global audiences. 

But offshoring isn’t without problems. Offshore service that keeps costs down can be of a generally lower quality due to limited training and generalised knowledge sets. The confusion created by language barriers can also lead to significant loss of custom. With 60% of consumers switching to a different brand after one poor customer service experience, those lost customers are also unlikely to come back.2 

Despite the ongoing potential of cost savings and scalable solutions, many brands are currently reducing the size of their offshore team. BT now offers 100% local customer service.3 Brands like EE are also moving jobs back to the UK after a decade or more of offshore solutions.4


  • Affordable call centre agents
  • Easily scalable service solutions
  • Access to broad talent pools
  • 24/7 availability
  • Multilingual customer service agents


  • Cultural and language barriers
  • Poorer quality service solutions
  • Lack of control
  • Less understanding of your brand
  • Potential privacy concerns with offshore data sharing

Onshore customer service

Onshore customer service is service that’s outsourced from within the same country as the company in question. Many brands have shied away from onshoring due to imaginary expenses and potentially smaller talent pools. However, as can be seen from brands like BT, onshoring is becoming an increasingly popular option.

By keeping customer service close, brands can negate long-standing issues with offshoring, including language barriers. The increased level of control and training capabilities provided by near-to-home onshoring also make it easier for businesses to ensure service that’s delivered according to brand values. 

Despite this, higher upfront costs continue to make onshoring difficult for some companies to achieve. Particularly for brands that require 24/7 service solutions, onshore costs can escalate with no guarantee of returns. 

However, as more companies switch to onshore solutions, high-quality providers are increasingly offering –

  • Access to 24/7 specialist experts
  • Distributed onshore service
  • Affordable pay-as-you-go models
  • And more

The right onshore outsourcing partner can improve outcomes and secure higher ROI to balance costs. Three times as many customers also report a preference for onshore call centres even if they could pay 10% less with offshore solutions.5 While cost and talent accessibility should still be taken into account, the benefits of onshoring for businesses of all sizes look set to keep on growing. 


  • No language or cultural barriers
  • Easier management and oversight
  • Generally higher quality service
  • Easier training and communication


  • Upfront costs can be higher
  • Generally smaller talent pools
  • 24/7 service isn’t as easy to achieve

Further reading: Onshore Customer Service Outsourcing Explained

Nearshore Customer Service

Nearshore customer service is something of a service middle ground. While still technically an offshoring process, nearshoring is the process of outsourcing customer service to nearby countries. For UK companies, nearshoring to European countries like Poland, Kosovo or Ukraine can cut costs without many of the risks inherent in long-distance offshoring.

Their proximity to a company’s home base means that nearshoring agents offer some of the most cost-effective service solutions. Sourcing quality talent is easier with wide nearshore talent pools across similar cultures and time zones. The removal of language barriers when nearshoring to English-speaking countries can also enhance user experiences. 

However, nearshoring isn’t entirely free from the downsides of offshoring. Affordable training and regulation remain difficult across countries despite shorter distances. Time zones and language barriers may also continue to be an issue when nearshoring to the wrong countries. To ensure its efficiency, companies considering nearshoring should factor in –

  • Location proximity
  • Culture and language
  • Training and skill sets
  • Specific support needs

If time differences still exist, and cultural issues continue to pose a problem to service, then nearshore solutions are unlikely to deliver on customer expectations.


  • Affordable, quality service solutions
  • Simplified communications across similar time frames and languages
  • Access to broad local talent pools


  • Difficulties with oversight of distanced services
  • Risks of different time zones
  • Language barriers may still be present
  • Higher upfront costs than offshoring

Meet modern demands with onshore outsourcing

Modern consumers increasingly prioritise onshore solutions, and big brands are making the switch accordingly. For companies working with lower budgets or global audiences, onshoring can feel like it still falls short. When it comes to saving money and achieving full scalability, offshore options therefore continue to feel like the only way forward. But that’s not necessarily the case. 

There is a compromise to be made, and it comes in the form of high-quality onshore outsourcing solutions like those offered by Odondo. Odondo provide access to a full range of experienced, high-quality onshore customer service agents, across solutions that benefit from plus points that have traditionally been associated with offshoring, including:

  • Affordable service solutions for every budget
  • Fully scalable customer service teams
  • 24/7 call centres
  • Distributed call centre agents

Odondo’s onshore solutions make it easier to deliver high-quality service offerings with the customer experience in mind. With our pay-as-you-go model, businesses of all sizes can afford quality onshore solutions. With on-demand flexibility, we also ensure that you’re able to increase service solutions as required, without ever needing to go overseas. We’ll pair you with high-quality, campaign-specific distributed agents according to your industry, niche, or project, from a talent pool that’s every bit as wide as any that you’ll find offshore. Explore an onshore solution with Odondo today, and start enjoying a wide range of service benefits that have previously felt out of reach.

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1  107 customer service statistics and facts you shouldn’t ignore

2 Why your customers hate offshore call centres

3 BT completes 100% onshoring of customer service calls

4 Britain’s biggest phone company EE is moving 1000 jobs back to the UK

5 The offshore vs onshore call centre debate

Bobby Devins

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.

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