The One Virtually Unknown Trick to Getting Onshore Call Center Quality with Offshore Pricing

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1 The One Virtually Unknown Trick to Getting Onshore Call Center Quality with Offshore Pricing

2 The One Virtually Unknown Trick to Getting Onshore Call Center Quality with Offshore Pricing In an increasingly competitive global market, many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are searching for innovative ways to remain competitive with the big boys. As your business grows, you may just find that you are in need of a call center. You can t expect your staff to handle all the calls that may come up, such as orders or technical support, and carry out their duties at the same time. You also may not have the office space, especially if you are a SMB. One option that you may want to consider is outsourcing. Put simply, this is turning the operations of your company, such as the call center, over to a third party. While this has the potential to raise the profits of your organization, it is not without its challenges, the biggest being which outsourcing option to choose: onshore, offshore, or nearshore. And it may surprise you to know who is outsourcing. While the main view may be that it s big companies, such as Dell, Microsoft, and Apple, which use major call centers because of cheap labour, it may come as a surprise that firms such as Columbia House and Comcast are also outsourcing their operations. Increasingly, many SMBs are starting to outsource their operations. 1 The One Virtually Unknown Trick to Getting Onshore Call Center Quality with Offshore Pricing

3 And it doesn t necessarily have to be overseas; as we will explore later on in this white paper, there s a shift to bringing outsourcing back to North America, thanks to a talented labour pool in a number of fields. In this paper, we will explore the three types of outsourcing available to you: offshore; onshore; and nearshore outsourcing, a little-heard-of-option that many business owners may not consider. Now, you re doubtlessly wondering what all of this means, or you may, at best, have a basic understanding. This is where 3C Contact Services come in. Why Should You Outsource? There are many reasons why an organization chooses to outsource, the first being to reduce and control costs. Also, by shifting part of their operations, such as a call center or data center, to another location, they can place a greater focus on running the dayto-day operations of their organization and long-term growth. It also allows them the chance to gain access to the best-of-breed technology that they may not have access to at their current operation. Or it may be for practical matters, aside from saving money. If you re already outsourcing, you may not be happy with your current provider and you may just be looking for someone who can do a job that s better suited to your needs. The one-sizefits-all approach that many organizations take doesn t work a lot of the time. That s why 3C takes a tailored approach, in which we look closely at each client s business and create a solution that s unique to them. An organization may only have a limited number of internal resources. Outsourcing their operations allows them to place a greater focus on their internal operations. It also allows them to manage problematic issues more effectively with additional resources and expertise. Also, the added assistance helps to speed along projects, such as restructuring the organization or transforming it, thanks to additional resources and staff. However, many organizations may not realize that there may be hidden costs associated with outsourcing. They may just discover that their original plan is outdated and they require a new one, or they may discover that the pay rate in the location they were planning to shift their operations to is comparable to that of North America. Similarly, employee wages in many areas that one would normally expect to be low may have gone up as well. Regardless of whether you re shifting your organization s operations to an offshore, nearshore, or onshore location (more on the differences between the three later on in this paper), you still need to take into account the cost of setting up a new location. There are also the legal considerations to take into account as well. The legal protection afforded to companies varies greatly from country to country, even between the U.S. and Canada. 3C recommends thoroughly researching the enforcement of legal protection in the area in which you re planning to outsource. Remember: you will be expected to comply with the laws in that location. The One Virtually Unknown Trick to Getting Onshore Call Center Quality with Offshore Pricing 2

4 You should also take into account the amount of time it will take to outsource your operations, as an assessment and proposal typically take two to three weeks. After it s approved, you can begin the process of moving forward with your outsourcing project. Though India remains the top choice for many organizations to outsource to because of its highly trained tech sector, some of the up-and-coming outsourcing locales include parts of Asia, such as China, Thailand, and Vietnam; surprising locales such as Mexico and Chile; and countries in Eastern Europe, such as Estonia and Lithuania. Britain is also rapidly becoming a popular destination for companies looking to outsource. When you re looking to outsource, you should also take into account the right time to do so. Maybe you have a new project coming up, but you want your employees to remain focused on the day-to-day operations of your organization, or perhaps you re looking to expand your organization, but want to do so at an affordable rate. You should take these factors into consideration when looking to outsource. You also need to look at which parts of your company you want to outsource. Is it just part of your business, such as your call center or tech support division, or do you want to outsource your entire operation? Again, you ll need to look at the cost. If it s just for a single project, you may be able to just bring freelancers on board, but if you re setting up a new location, even if it s in the same city or nearby, you ll need to take that cost into account. There s also the matter of finding the right people for the job. If you don t have an in-house human resources division, this may require further outsourcing or hiring a recruitment specialist to find the right people for the job. The do-not-call list is an added wrinkle to the call center business. No matter where you re moving your operations, you ll have to take this into account as well. You may just 3 The One Virtually Unknown Trick to Getting Onshore Call Center Quality with Offshore Pricing

5 face penalties if you contact anyone on the list, and if you re an outbound call center, you ll also have to have your call script verified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other regulatory bodies. But before all this can happen, you need to know what type of outsourcing is best suited to your company. There are three options available: offshore, onshore, and nearshore outsourcing. When you work with 3C, we will look at your budget and needs, whether it s a single project or moving your operations entirely, and create a solution that s ideally suited to you. Perhaps most importantly is the cost if you plan to hire a third party, such as 3C, to handle your outsourcing. While 3C does offer its services at an affordable rate, you should also take the cost of hiring a thirdparty outsourcing firm into consideration. As a start-up, we are well aware of the challenges that many organizations face when it comes to outsourcing their operations. However, with our team of experts and years of experience, we will work closely with you to find the outsourcing solution that s best suited to you. So what sets these three outsourcing options apart from each other? Here s an explanation: Offshore Outsourcing Offshore outsourcing is exactly what it sounds like: an organization sets up a location in a foreign country to handle its operations, such as its call center, that it might normally service in the U.S. or Canada. This has many advantages for the firm involved, the first being lower labour costs in the country to which they move their operations. Everyone is doubtlessly aware that when they experience issues with their computer or other electronics, their call is likely to be directed to a call center in India. There s been a significant growth of this type of outsourcing in recent years. Taking advantage of the highly educated population and low cost of living, along with the low labour costs, offers an organization the advantage of not having to pay the wages that employees in North America need to cover the cost of living. While many companies may enjoy reduced labour costs, they should also take into account the long-distance communication charges and the costs of traveling to their foreign operations for training as well. The money you save on outsourcing your operations may just have to be invested into covering those costs. There s also the disadvantage of the country you outsource to being in a different time zone. When you re going home at 5 p.m., the workers there may just be arriving at work, necessitating that you stay late or be available at home in case something arises. Offshore outsourcing also offers complications in obtaining the maximum number of throughputs. Put simply, a throughput is a business ability to reach a goal, be it producing a product or offering a service, in a set amount of time. Organizations that shift their operations The One Virtually Unknown Trick to Getting Onshore Call Center Quality with Offshore Pricing 4

6 offshore often face the challenge of focusing on multiple volumes of transactions across numerous industry segments. Perhaps one of the biggest disadvantages of a company shifting their operations offshore is the possible political turmoil in the country to which they are looking to outsource. Another downside to lower labour costs is that the country in question may just be developing their political infrastructure. As well, many countries have limited intellectual property laws, meaning it may be difficult to obtain certain copyrights, trademarks, and patents. And, unfortunately, espionage is rampant in many countries, leaving an organization that offers data storage at a disadvantage, especially if that data is sensitive. Probably the biggest stepping stone to offshore outsourcing for many organizations is the backlash against it by everyone from customers to unions to the government. It can be difficult to convince customers that their information is going to be secure in a foreign country. If it s an organization that stores sensitive data, such as customers credit card information, they may understandably be reluctant to move it to an offshore location. The backlash by unions has also led to proposals for federal and state laws that penalize organizations for shifting their operations offshore, such as having to disclose the location of their offshore call centers, restrictions on where work for government contracts can be performed, and restrictions on storing personal, medical, or financial data. If an organization is looking to shift their operation offshore, they should consider everything involved. While saving on labour costs may be tempting, the hidden costs, regulations, and long-term impact on their business should all be taken into consideration before making that decision. Working with 3C will help you to arrive at the decision as to whether or not offshore outsourcing is the best option for you. 5 The One Virtually Unknown Trick to Getting Onshore Call Center Quality with Offshore Pricing

7 Onshore Outsourcing This may just be the easiest option, since an organization doesn t have to worry about moving their operations, call center, or data center to a foreign country or across the border. It involves employing a third party, such as 3C, to find and supply U.S.- or Canada-based labour to complete the project or provide a service for the company. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that there is virtually no distance involved; the onshore location is typically located in the same city or close-by. Even if it s in another state or province, the travel involved isn t as extensive as offshore or nearshore locations. Onshore outsourcing also allows an organization to focus on a narrower number of markets, such as transportation and communication, and developing services to address the needs of these markets. This, in turn, offers them the chance to transform their client s business or further enhance an existing business. This is a highly effective model because it requires fewer employees. It provides customers with access to state-of-the-art technology and spreads the costs out over a broad client base. Since the average Fortune 1000 company spends 60% of its IT budget on system maintenance costs, this alone can cover that part of an organization s budget. Surprisingly, the cost of onshore outsourcing is competitive with offshore outsourcing, but it s without the risks, such as security, travel costs, and the other abovementioned risks that are associated with shifting operations overseas. However, onshore outsourcing is not without its disadvantages. Since an organization that chooses onshore outsourcing can expect to pay higher labour rates, they are more reliant on manual processes that are error-prone and require repair, often at a cost to customers. Nearshore Outsourcing If it seems like offshore outsourcing is too complicated and onshore outsourcing, while seemingly the easiest option, will likely involve paying the higher wages employees expect, many organizations are turning to nearshore outsourcing as an alternative. Nearshore outsourcing is exactly what it sounds like: moving your operations, such as your call center, to a country your business shares a border with, such as the U.S. and Canada. This has many advantages, the biggest being that the nearshore location is often in the same time zone or there is only a couple hours difference. Travel between locations is easier as well. A call center may be within driving distance or, if you re flying, it may only be an hour or two away, as opposed to the 10 or 12 hours it may take you to reach locations in India or China. You can also make frequent trips to your nearshore location. The cost of flying to an offshore location may be out of the price range of many organizations, and if you can only go once or twice a year, you ll doubtlessly have to deal with many issues that have accumulated since your last visit. With a nearshore location, you can make the trip every couple of months, allowing you to keep on top of issues as they arise. There s also no need to worry about a cultural or linguistic divide; if you re just moving to Canada or the U.S., everyone will speak English. Plus, there s no need to worry about the possible economic or political factors involved in shifting an operation offshore. The One Virtually Unknown Trick to Getting Onshore Call Center Quality with Offshore Pricing 6

8 This also makes collaborating much easier since, again, there may only be a couple of hours difference between the state or province your call center is in and your main office meaning you won t have to take calls at home in the middle of the night! Often, the wages in Canada or the U.S. for call center employees may be lower. It may only be a slight difference, but having to pay your employees slightly less may just result in considerable savings you can use to reinvest in your organization. And nearshore outsourcing doesn t necessarily have to be within North America; Brazil is rapidly becoming a popular nearshore outsourcing destination as well, thanks to its close proximity and skilled pool of employees. Regardless of whether you outsource to North or South America, both regions are stable politically and, perhaps surprisingly, are similar culturally. You also don t have to worry about the added cost of installing modern infrastructure, as it is already in place. Cities in North and South America are modern and fully equipped, whereas some of the more popular foreign locations for outsourcing, such as India or China, are working on catching up with the rest of the world. Nearshore outsourcing is rapidly becoming a preferred method of outsourcing, since it provides an ideal combination of offshore and onshore outsourcing benefits. The disadvantage is that the savings on labour may only be slight, since the wages in Canada and the U.S. are often similar. And much like offshore outsourcing, travel costs are involved as well. What Next? Now that you ve considered your options for outsourcing, your next step is to contact 3C and utilize our expertise with the best outsourcing option for you. We will provide you with an analysis of your best options, along with a quote of how much it will cost to use our services. With the most advantages, nearshore outsourcing may be the best option of the three. Surprisingly, not many businesses are considering it, choosing to stick to offshore outsourcing instead. However, with labour costs rising in popular offshore destinations, such as India, it s time to start looking for alternatives. When you work with us, we will find the best nearshore location for you, be it in North or South America, and we will work closely with you to create the best solution for your business. We will find the best professionals and areas with the lowest employee wages and get your call center set up there in no time. Regardless of which outsourcing solution you ultimately choose, we will get you up and running as quickly as possible. We have the experience and the tech knowhow and we ve been in the business for more than 25 years. We were there at the start of the digital revolution and have evolved to match the rapidly changing marketplace, helping our SMB customers to remain competitive with major corporations. Call us today and start your organization on the road to success. Information contained herein, while believed to be correct, is not guaranteed as accurate. Contents 2014, 3C Contact Services, 7000 Pine Valley Dr., Vaughan, ON L4L 2V5; Phone: ; web site: Images from Photos.com The One Virtually Unknown Trick to Getting Onshore Call Center Quality with Offshore Pricing

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