Benefits of Nearshore Outsourcing for eCommerce

Feb 28, 2022

Exceptional customer service and support staff are vital to your eCommerce business’s success. Now there’s a better way to stand out from the crowd.

A successful eCommerce business needs more than great products. To stand out in a crowded market and boost your revenue, you must offer reliable fulfillment and customer service. Those are anything but simple tasks. The eCommerce giants have enormous departments devoted to each. How can you stay competitive with a relatively small team?

Handling orders, answering customer inquiries, and solving payment issues take a lot of time and finesse. As your business grows, you must either expand your in-house team or outsource. Unfortunately, outsourcing can be risky, especially if your overseas call center reps don’t know your business or can’t communicate well with customers.

You’re facing roadblocks for your growing eCommerce business: overwhelm your staff and cause burnout, or hire more and overwhelm your budget? Should you hire an offshore call center and risk frustrating your customers or losing revenue to failed orders and returns?

The solution is nearshore outsourcing, which allows you to grow your eCommerce support staff without bloated costs, burned-out staff, or customer dissatisfaction.

The Importance of Effective eCommerce Customer Service

Today’s consumers are shopping online at unprecedented rates. Worldwide, more than 14 percent of all retail purchases are now made online. The global eCommerce market is projected to reach $7.4 trillion by 2023.

That’s a lot of orders. And for most of them, there are high expectations. In the digital age, customers expect fast, accurate updates and near-immediate resolutions. It’s no longer enough to have a customer service team. Your team must be able to efficiently respond to customer inquiries and solve their problems.

According to a report by SuperOffice, 80% of businesses believe their customer service is excellent, but only 8% of customers agree. This massive gap is easily explained when we look at more findings from this study:

  • Most companies did not answer the customer’s questions in their initial response.
  • Average response time was 15 hours.
  • More than 41% of companies didn’t respond at all.

These are clear ways to lose a customer, and they’re often side effects of an overwhelmed service team. Many businesses use automated responses that fail to detect customers’ questions or concerns. If they do send the email to a human, a small staff can only respond to so many emails per day.

That’s why many eCommerce businesses have outsourced their call centers overseas. Unfortunately, that decision has its own set of risks.

Disadvantages of Outsourced eCommerce Staff

Booking an overseas call center or support team for your eCommerce business has some benefits. They are always less expensive than domestic support staff. Because they’re in a different time zone, you can expand your service hours to accommodate customers throughout the day.

However, that convenience and cost-savings come with some significant risks for your business’s reputation:

Cultural rifts and language barriers can make it difficult for overseas staff to understand — and therefore solve — your customers’ issues. This can lead to costly misinterpretations, increased rates of returns or chargeback requests, and overall, lower customer satisfaction.

Because overseas call centers typically don’t know your brand from another, they won’t affirm the online brand reputation you’ve worked hard to build. An inconsistent customer experience can harm people’s trust in your company — and trust is vital to any eCommerce business’s success.

The time-zone difference that benefits your customers also makes it near-impossible to schedule meetings or trainings with your overseas staff. This makes it harder to address the above challenges or integrate them with your in-house team.

Why Choose Nearshore Outsourcing for Your eCommerce Business?

Instead of choosing an overseas aka offshore support center, stay closer to home with nearshore outsourcing. A nearshore team is located in a country no more than 1-3 time zones away, typically on your continent or adjacent to it. This proximity solves the time-zone problem and, often, the linguistic/cultural barriers.

Plus, nearshore outscoring has other benefits for eCommerce businesses, including:

Shared cultural/communication norms

In addition to avoiding barriers, a nearshore team typically shares much of the experiences, language, pleasantries, and other cultural tendencies. So, they can more easily resolve conflicts, understand nuance, detect tone, and resonate with both your customers and your team.

For example, the United States already has a large cross-cultural exchange with many Central American countries. By contrast, overseas support staff are typically in Southeast Asia, where the language and cultural norms are very different.

Affordable cost

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, many eCommerce businesses simply can’t afford an entirely in-house/domestic team large enough to meet demand. On the flip side, cheap overseas labor may do more harm than good.

Nearshore outsourcing is much more affordable. Your additional staff work in countries with a lower cost of living, but they can still provide excellent customer service for your business. The nearshore outsourcing model also favors specialized skills, so you’re getting staff who can actually complement your in-house team’s efforts.

Better communication and collaboration

The proximity gained from nearshore outsourcing makes it easier to keep in touch with your augmented staff. This, in turn, promotes collaboration.

In eCommerce, it’s crucial to align your customer service department with your marketing team. That’s hard to do if you’re relying on overseas call centers to handle customer issues. Will they know the key messages to hit? Which offerings to promote as solutions?

That’s why nearshore outsourcing is often modeled as nearshore staff augmentation. You’re not simply passing off your service department; you’re augmenting your core team with a skilled workforce who can easily communicate with them.

Why Your eCommerce Business Needs Nearshore Outsourcing

Exceptional customer service and support staff are vital to your eCommerce business’s success. A great customer experience is now the top priority for today’s consumers. It can be a determining factor in their loyalty to your brand.

To boost your revenue and customer retention, you’ll need skilled staff to handle inquiries, process orders and refunds, solve problems, and release marketing messages. If you can’t handle it all in-house, you’ll need to outsource.

But more often than not, nearshore staff augmentation is a better option than traditional overseas outsourcing. You’ll gain stronger collaboration, clearer communication, and cultural connections. And it can be just as affordable as offshore outsourcing — with less risk of unhappy customers and lost business.

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