Common Issues with Offshore Outsourcing

May 20, 2021

Traditional outsourcing comes with some concerns, but nearshore staff augmentation gives you the benefits of outsourcing without the headaches.

So, you’d like to add to your workforce and are considering outsourcing, but you’ve heard horror stories about it. You’ve read about businesses who suffered a data breach because they outsourced to a foreign country. Perhaps you, as a consumer, tried to get customer service and got frustrated with the language barrier.

Or perhaps you’re just not sure if it’s worth it. Will you boost your revenue and productivity enough to justify the cost of dozens of overseas workers? Is it ethical to do so when you could hire local employees?

Nearshore staff augmentation, a type of nearshore outsourcing, is a more sustainable option. Here’s how this unique workforce solution solves the problems with traditional outsourcing.

It keeps your staff closer — both geographically and culturally

Many North American companies outsource to Asian countries. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it can present large cultural, linguistic, and even logistical gaps. What happens when most of your support team is 9-12 hours ahead of your time zone? Or when your English- or Spanish-speaking customer encounters a rep who has only a functional knowledge of their language?

Nearshore staff augmentation draws upon existing cultural and geographical proximity. Instead of outsourcing to India, your U.S.-based company may outsource to a Latin American nation, where many people speak English, Spanish, and perhaps even French or Creole. This makes outsourcing more attractive for serving a diverse North American market.

Plus, the time zones are closer to each other, so your teams can have meetings that won’t be held at unreasonable hours for any participant.

It allows you to pay workers a living wage while saving your business money 

Outsourcing to a country halfway around the globe raises some ethical and economic issues. You may be paying a wage that is a fraction of a typical North American salary, but that’s not always a good look for your business. However, it’s not always feasible to get the support you need without bloating your labor budget.

Nearshore countries have costs of living that are lower but not totally dissimilar from those in North America. This means your business can pay those workers a decent wage while reducing your costs. Plus, those people are more likely to participate in the North American economy (e.g. by ordering products from U.S. or Canada-based companies).

In short, you get the benefits of outsourcing, but you still keep the money (relatively) local.

You enjoy better quality control and stronger team integration 

Remote work is increasingly popular, but it’s not without problems. The farther you are from your team, the harder they are to supervise. Also, workers in faraway countries are rarely interested in being part of your team. With the cultural and linguistic gaps, that’s often not even feasible.

Nearshore staff augmentation gives you (a) greater transparency and (b) more natural connection among your in-house and outsourced teams. People in North America are already accustomed to chatting with people of Central and South American heritage, and vice versa. When there is already some cultural fluency, it’s much easier to forge a company culture that keeps everyone feeling connected.

You can access highly skilled workers and reliable infrastructure

Nearshore staff augmentation connects your business to staff who are trained and equipped with modern devices and good connectivity. By contrast, traditional offshore outsourcing often places the crucial role of customer service in workplaces that are subject to downtime and data breaches.

Those workers are also akin to temps — they are not specially trained to provide customer service or tech support, so they may quit or be reassigned at the drop of a hat. Workplace procedures and inspections may not reach your standards, which means calls are dropped, products mishandled, and customers lost.

This can impair customer service, lead to costly delays or productivity gaps, and potentially damage your company’s reputation — all of which are highly negative costs for the “savings” of offshore outsourcing.

That’s why nearshore staff augmentation is so valuable. Workers are highly skilled for their roles (tech support, complaint resolution, etc.) and they have the right tools to get things done.

The bigger picture

There are certainly times when traditional outsourcing may be necessary. If you want to provide 24/7 customer service, for example, you will have to have workers halfway around the world. However, nearshore staff augmentation can help you expand your workforce without the common pitfalls of typical outsourcing. It also smoothes over many of the PR issues, because you’re keeping the jobs “in the neighborhood,” so to speak. This helps your teams collaborate more efficiently and allows you to benefit from nearshore countries’ economic vitality.

To learn more about the benefits of nearshore staff augmentation, read our whitepaper on the topic.

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