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5 Countries with Top-Notch Answering Services

Answering services save your business both time and money. When you outsource your business’s phone calls to people who handle calls for a living, you give your customers a reason to feel satisfied, cared for, and informed. What’s more, you free up in-house employees so that they can spend their time on more specialized tasks.

The Philippines and India have a reputation as the most popular foreign locations for Americans looking to outsource their customer service needs. According to Site Selection Group in 2016, that reputation is almost deserved: the Philippines and India have the third and fourth-largest number of service centers in the world.

The nation with the most centers after the U.S., though, is the U.K. – and many other countries are quickly catching up to the Philippines and India.

If you’re looking for a nearshore or offshore solution for your business’s answering service, consider the U.K., Poland, Ireland, Costa Rica, and Canada.

Where Are Answering Services Found?

Answering services come in three geographical flavors:

  • Onshore
  • Nearshore
  • Offshore

Onshore services are located in the same country as your business. If you work in New York, then a call center in Florida is onshore for you.

Services in neighboring countries to your own are nearshore companies, so if you’re American, nearshore locations include Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Last, offshore services work anywhere else. If you employ a contact center in the Philippines to manage your customer service relationships, you’re using an offshore service.

#1. The U.K.

According to ContactBabel, the U.K. had at least 6,200 contact centers at the end of 2016. Companies that handle inbound and outbound customer service are forecast to grow throughout 2020. That all makes the U.K. a solid choice if you’re looking for a robust, stable industry that will grow alongside your business.

London England Piccadilly Circus answering services business

London, England

English is the U.K.’s national language, so you’ll have no language barrier problems. Cosmopolitan cities like London, Birmingham, and Glasgow mean that you can also find speakers of many other languages, especially Polish and Punjabi.

The average yearly wage in the U.K. amounts to $28,408, which is significantly lower than the U.S. yearly average wage ($44,409). However, the minimum wage in the U.K. is higher than the minimum wage in the U.S. The amount you’ll save by choosing a U.K. voice service will vary between providers, so do your research.

The time difference between the U.K. and the U.S. is a possible downside. London is five hours ahead of New York City and eight hours ahead of San Francisco.

#2. Ireland

Ireland is a top BPO location because of the Celtic Tiger phenomenon of the 1990s and 2000s. The Irish government provides tax incentives to voice services, so the country has many more answering services and call centers than you might expect.

Since the industry is already established here, Irish voice services know what makes for a positive customer service experience. They dispatch calls with efficiency and enthusiasm.

Dublin Ireland business district

Dublin, Ireland

English is the most widely-spoken language in Ireland, just like in the U.K. The country also has a high immigration rate, which means you can find representatives who speak many other languages.

The average income is $25,439, which will likely save you money compared to a U.S.-based answering service. Expect the same time difference between the U.S. and Ireland (5 hours between Dublin and New York), however.

#3. Poland

Like many other Eastern European countries, Poland is increasingly playing host to business process outsourcing centers of all kinds. Unlike some of its neighbors, it’s capitalized on voice services.

Poland’s many university cities, like Warsaw, Kraków, and Wrocław, contribute to a young, educated, multilingual workforce well suited to answering service jobs. The nation overall has a high proficiency in English, according to the EF English Proficiency Index, so you’ll find many Poles in call centers who speak perfect or lightly accented English.

Warsaw Poland answering services business

Warsaw, Poland

The average yearly income is $18,906, so you can save significantly by choosing a Polish service.

As with the U.K. and Ireland, the time zone difference between Poland and the U.S. leads to distinct working hours. Warsaw is six hours ahead of New York City.

#4. Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s long-standing relationships with the U.S. and other international business partners means that the small nation has a big answering services industry. 27,000 Costa Ricans currently work in corporate services related to the U.S. Alexander Mora, Costa Rica’s foreign trade minister, thinks that number is only going to increase.

Costa Rica answering services business

San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has transformed its economy to provide services like software development, marketing, and customer care. It has a higher-than-average level of English proficiency for Latin America, and Miami is a three-hour flight away. All these factors make Costa Rica an ideal country for answering services.

If you pick a Costa Rican provider, expect a workforce used to customer service and U.S. business relations. You can also expect to pay less than you’d pay for an American service, since the cost of living in Costa Rica is much lower.

The time difference between Costa Rica and the United States is minimal. San José, the capital, is three hours behind New York City and in the same time zone as San Francisco.

#5. Canada

The answering services industry has been a major part of Canada’s economy for over twenty-five years. That means Canadian representatives are business-savvy professionals who can handle your company’s calls with ease.

Montreal Canada answering services business

Montreal, Canada

Canadian culture, language, and time zones are similar to those of the U.S. Almost all native Canadians speak English, and many speak French as well, which is useful if you’re looking for a multilingual answering service. Other common languages include Mandarin, Cantonese, and Punjabi.

According to 3C Contact Services, outsourcing from the U.S. to Canada means significant savings without the usual hassle of international communications. Since the U.S. and Canada are direct neighbors, the two countries already have a well-established business relationship.

Look Globally Before Choosing an Answering Service

The U.K., Ireland, Poland, Costa Rica, and Canada are five diverse options for your nearshoring and offshoring needs. These five countries have well-developed answering services industries.

However, they’re not the only choices. You can find call centers all over the world – as long as you do your research.


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Elizabeth writes about the business process outsourcing industry for Clutch, a B2B research and reviews company in Washington, D.C. She also helps manage Clutch's Twitter account and contributed content program. Feel free to email her at [email protected] https://clutch.co/

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