“You’re Still the One” – Why Nearshore UK Contact Center Locations Still Matter | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Posted On March 30, 2015

Despite changing market needs, key locations in Scotland, Ireland, and N. Ireland continue delivering value in the contact center space to the greater UK market. First off, these locations remain relevant in terms of the 3 C’s – cultural affinity, cost savings, and coordinates. But if you broaden the view, you’ll also see that the nature of the value derived from these locations continues to evolve, ensuring relevance into the future. Let’s take a closer look.

C#1 – Cultural Affinity: As with the rest of the market, about 83% of the traffic through UK nearshore contact centers involves voice-based interaction. Unlike the rest of the market, about 31% of such interaction involves supporting public sector needs. This combination underscores the draw for UK citizens to receive customer support from other UK citizens with a shared cultural compatibility. This dynamic, while most pronounced with public sector consumers, also resonates within banking, telecom, retail, travel, utilities, etc.

C#2 – Cost: UK nearshore costs remain compelling compared to operating costs elsewhere in the UK. Today ranging from 15-30% below that of locations in the southern UK regions, these nearshore locations are expected to continue offering favorable cost differentials for at least another 4-5 years. ­Further, this cost savings occurs in an environment with relatively low business and operational risk.

C#3 – Coordinates: Under coordinates, the most important element is the availability of talent. In cities such as Dublin, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, available entry-level and experienced talent in the areas of customer service, sales service, and order/payment services remains strong. In emerging delivery locations such as Derry and Limerick, similar skills exist, though fewer in number. However, these emerging locations typically have lower attrition rates, so talent volatility remains low. In the more mature locations, two sources keep the CC talent pool active, namely the influx of university populations and the growing base of experienced customer care professionals.

Beyond the core 3 C’s, the nearshore UK locations highlighted here continue to evolve their value propositions along with client requirements. One area involves voice interaction. Everest Group sees a future where the nearshore UK locations become increasingly specialized in complex customer voice support, with lower complexity interactions either moving to non-voice channels or to lower-cost offshore locations. This is especially true in the case of retail and telecom industry clients. We have also seen these delivery locations expand their scope of delivering value-added services. Activities such as customer retention and customer analytics are increasingly being serviced out of these locations. As evidence, over the past several years, spending on nearshore UK voice interaction has grown by 5-10%, notably above the global average of 4-6%.

The second key enhancement area involves expanded language capabilities. Across the region, we see many centers delivering services in the languages of Central and Eastern Europe, and to a limited extend, Asia. Whether Polish, Dutch, Norwegian, Lithuanian, and Hungarian, or Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, and Mandarin, UK nearshore contact centers have expanded their reach beyond English-only populations to offer customers a more targeted and effective consumer experience.

Despite their relative maturity in the scheme of the contact center market, UK nearshore locations continue delivering value to clients and customers. The trick to staying relevant will be keeping the value proposition balanced between cost savings and differentiated capabilities and higher skill sets.

For more information, download a complimentary preview of our report, “Cultural Affinity, Cost Savings, Coordinates – 3 C’s of Targeting UK Contact Center Market.”

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