Are Onshore Call Centers Better than Offshore Call Centers?

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The call center industry and the online lending clients it serves have seen a fair share of debate over onshore versus offshore call center outsourcing. As a call center provider that offers both options, Centrinex is a neutral party in this ongoing discussion. Each type of call center has its own benefits, downsides and trade offs.

The differences between onshore and offshore call centers boil down to three factors: cost, language and location. Online lenders must weigh the pros and cons against their budget, business practices and goals to determine whether an onshore or offshore call centers better suits their purposes.

Cost: Onshore call centers are more expensive. Outsourcing to offshore call centers is less.  While onshore call centers are synonymous with experience, that knowledge comes at a higher price. Established online lenders with lots of volume might forego quality experience in exchange for quantity of leads.

However, gaining quality online lending customers is expensive. Considering the average online loan client takes seven loans per year, it’s in the lenders best interest to keep as many return customers as possible. Experienced call centers are better positioned to retain customers. A customer’s lifecycle lasts longer when onshore call centers are involved compared to offshore call centers.

Language: Native English speakers staff onshore call centers. Offshore call center employees speak English, but the context can be off. Onshore call center staff can engage customers in conversational dialogue better than non-native speakers can. Loan customers might feel more comfortable dealing with English-speaking staff—people who can create that “warm and fuzzy” feeling. Since getting quality customers can be costly, repeat customers represent an online lender’s lifeblood. A large number of repeat loans can offset the extra cost of an onshore center.

If repeat customers aren’t a high priority or your business funnels in from other sources, perhaps native-English CSRs aren’t a priority given salaries are higher in the U.S. than in offshore call center countries.

Location: Onshore call centers are in proximity of U.S.-based online lenders, making it easier to check in on operations and compliance. Online lenders face compliance scrutiny. For online lenders who prefer onsite visits to ensure call centers are following regulations, those trips are more convenient when the call center is close by air or car. Yet, lower costs associated with offshore call center savings could offset travel expenses incurred.

The quality of offshore call centers can vary. Finding an offshore facility like our Costa Rica call center assures that you can trust its practices, staff work ethics, regulations and licensing. Outsourcing to an offshore call center of a higher caliber provides peace of mind and requires far less direct oversight.

Are onshore call centers better than offshore centers? One option only becomes better than the other when it meets your specific online lending needs.