What’s driving contact centers reshoring after outsourcing to offshore BPO, are culture alignment, customer experience, and data protection.

The idea of reshoring capacity from the offshore back into domestic confines has been on the minds of CX decision-makers for years and, to some extent, has gained momentum recently. This was highlighted in recent buyer research conducted jointly between Ryan Strategic Advisory and ApexCX, which assessed the key drivers of reshoring customer management activities across eight demand markets (the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Italy and Spain). While enterprise contact center decision-makers in each specific country certainly noted some localized trends, the overall results of the 668 participants point to numerous important drivers for reshoring in 2022.

When it comes to what is motivating reshoring, the cross-market survey average exposes four primary drivers why organizations seek to bring CX operations back from overseas. Cultural alignment between the agent and consumer was the most popular reason. This bolsters the notion that within many in-house CX quarters there remains concern about the impact on an end-user’s loyalty to a particular product if an agent appears out of step during an interaction. This reason was especially prevalent in Australia, France and Spain, where survey respondents cited this as their prime reshoring motivator.

Customer experience is also a key driver for reshoring in 2022, especially among German survey participants. In many demand markets it only marginally trails data protection and agent / end-user cultural alignment. The perception that a domestic agent is better positioned to drive a superior voice or digital interaction outcome is hardly new. However, in practical terms, this is a subject of considerable debate in the current CX delivery climate: onshore operators are struggling to recruit in the face of the Great Resignation. Unfortunately, despite significant efforts by many firms, the view that contact center jobs are undesirable persists.

However, there was also the matter of data protection. Overall, this was a close second in terms of why enterprises would reshore CX delivery. Always a concern for contact center operations, the belief that information is more secure onshore was very prevalent among Italian and US survey participants; it was also consistent across the other demand this year. This correlates with results from the benchmarking report (to be published in the coming weeks), which shows clearly that enterprise contact center decision-makers are acutely concerned about data protection. Amid what looks to be tightening captive contact center budgets, repatriating work onshore may be seen as a faster, less expensive way of securing consumer information.

Given the current reshoring impulse, outsourcers that have embraced overseas locales must respond aggressively. The research by Ryan Strategic Advisory and ApexCX diagnoses clear vulnerabilities—if left unchecked, this could impact BPO revenues. The onus is now on outsourcers based in both emerging and established destinations to demonstrate that work delivered from abroad is of the highest quality, that it is secure, and that is done by agents with the utmost commercial and cultural alignment with customers.

And this must happen soon.

In many ways, 2022 is no different from past years when it comes to reshoring. Most enterprises (and their customers) would prefer to house contact center delivery domestically and avoid the offshore completely. But, this is not practical for many organizations, as they rely on outsourcing partners to provide a diversified footprint in the offshore and nearshore. To ensure that in-house customer experience managers do not go down a more expensive, less viable route of onshoring work that could be handled better in other parts of the world, offshore service providers must begin advocating the quality and security of their business model now.

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(Apr 20, 2022)