Close this search box.

Help Desk Outsourcing Location Strategy: 3 Key Considerations


Adriana Bombaci

Related Topics

With help desk outsourcing on the rise, many CIOs are evaluating what option makes the most sense when choosing their service desk partner. The reality is that there’s no right or wrong answer because every organization has a unique geographic footprint, language requirements, coverage hours, volumes, and expectations.

All these different factors will dictate the best strategy for your business. In this article, we will provide you with three key considerations to keep in mind when going through the selection process of your help desk outsourcing location strategy, and why nearshore tends to yield greater sustainable results in the long term.

1. Do you require global coverage?

While organizations with global operations can appear to have limitless options, they need to look beyond the lowest cost to ensure the outsourcer they choose has a consistent track record for accommodating different time zones and languages with 24/7 help desks.

For instance, the abundance of help desk jobs in offshore locations like India makes it difficult for providers to find senior resources willing to work overnight shifts that align with western time zones. As a result, higher-skilled “A” teams are typically concentrated in shifts that have minimal overlap with U.S. schedules.

Unfortunately, that forces American enterprises to work with less-experienced help desk staff or experience frustrating lag time waiting for responses from the most skilled resources during business hours.

On the other hand, onshore U.S. locations bring the highest costs and even greater difficulty finding multilingual skills and quality resources willing to work night shifts.

For global organizations with a presence on all continents, sometimes it can just be unrealistic to try to accommodate all language requirements (e.g., English, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, Thai, French, etc.) in a single location. In those instances, a regional approach with multiple locations for supporting different parts of the world may be a better choice.

2. Does regional support make better sense?

For companies with operations concentrated in a single part of the world like the Americas or Europe, it usually makes sense to choose a provider in the same region. This minimizes difficulties caused by location-based factors, such as far-away time zones that impact communication and responsiveness.

For instance, nearshoring to Latin American locations like Costa Rica is a proven help desk solution for North American enterprises. Not only does Costa Rica deliver an average of 30-50% labor arbitrage, but it provides access to a highly educated workforce in a country so proficient in tech it’s been recognized as the Silicon Valley of Latin America.

Costa Rica also offers the #1 English proficiency in Latin America. Its westernized culture and proximity to the U.S. makes travel and communication easy for North American operations as well.

3. Does the location have the resources to provide the quality of service you need?

Many U.S. corporations initially lured to Asian locations like India or the Philippines by bottom-of-the-barrel pricing are rethinking their help desk strategy. Unfortunately, they now realize the low cost comes with significant risks, including unforeseen quality issues, an abundance of “black box” operating models that give customers little control, and language and cultural barriers that make communication a challenge.

Gartner found that language and dialect differences can present a significant challenge to offshore help desk solutions. India-based support agents, for instance, typically use U.K.-flavored English that can cause confusion and miscommunication when interacting with end-users in the U.S.

High turnover rates resulting from the plethora of help desk jobs in offshore locations like India also negatively impacts service consistency and training costs. Deloitte reported an alarming attrition rate of 21.5% in India’s IT sector in 2019, as workers frequently seek incremental salary increases in the competitive job market.

That’s higher than the global IT churn rate of 13.2% – already the highest of any industry.

In contrast, the deep pool of highly-skilled, multilingual talent in tech hubs like Costa Rica makes it easier for help desk providers to recruit and retain quality resources around-the-clock. Costa Rican nearshore providers benefit from a constant flow of IT graduates, with the country’s digital tech labor force expanding at an annual rate of 17%, according to the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE).

Costa Rica ranked among the top three countries in Latin America for tech skills in the 2020 Coursera Global Skills Index.

The pandemic spotlighted other challenges that plague offshore locations as well, including the shaky infrastructure, stressed healthcare system, and substandard living conditions that have impacted service delivery during COVID. A devastating second COVID wave currently has India in crisis mode, with CNN calling the situation “the world’s worst outbreak.”

Nearshoring to Costa Rica mitigates outsourcing risk with a modern infrastructure and world-class coronavirus management that earned United Nations recognition. Within days of Costa Rica’s pandemic lockdown, Auxis had easily transitioned 97% of its BPO and IT services at its Global Delivery Center in San José, Costa Rica, to a work-from-home model with 100% of services working as go