Offshore contact centres: they’re cheaper to run, but could they be costing companies more than they save?

That’s the latest suggestion from independent business and telecommunications analysis firm Ovum. The report, released today, finds that concerns with offshore contact centres are rendering them a less viable option for many brands.

‘CRM Business Trends 2011’ includes results of a survey of 200 senior executives at leading North American, European and Australian companies, and has confirmed that the lower delivery costs provided by Indian and South American contact centres are not offsetting the concerns with these locations held by those who are yet to move offshore.

Only 2% of those surveyed said that they would consider a move offshore in the next 12 to 24 months and only 10% said they would consider it within 25 to 36 months. The majority indicated they had no plans to move their contact centres overseas.

The main causes of concern for companies is the quality of interaction with customers, stability of the offshore location, pressure from consumers to stay local and fears over safety of data.

Ovum analyst, Peter Ryan, says providers of offshore contact centres should be worried. “Several new barriers to offshoring contact centre work have come to the fore and made it a riskier prospect for enterprises. Enterprises feel that the reduced prices simply don’t compensate for the potential to lose customers in these tough economic times,” he says.

But questions remain over whether onshore customer contact centres will continue to be so attractive, as the economic climate that encourages countries hit with recession to operate locally won’t last forever. In Australia this is especially pressing. With contact centres among the most expensive in the world, can Australian businesses afford to remain here?