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Northern Ireland: The Future of European Nearshoring

Blog Post By Iain Banks, Regional VP International Markets, TTEC

Today’s complex contact centre space demands intense levels of front-line support and meaningful voice and digital interactions. Outsourcing has always been an alternative for contact centres looking to save money, but at the cost of potential linguistical and cultural misunderstandings.

We believe that the right partner doesn’t have to be across the globe, but only a few miles away. Northern Ireland has become an invaluable nearshoring opportunity for English-speaking consumers, with its close cultural ties and low cost without sacrificing skilled labor and insight. .

Why Northern Ireland

We understand that many locations in Europe can provide the same attributes, our facility in Sofia, Bulgaria has been particularly successful in facing the diversity of Europe, but Northern Ireland has particularly proven to be special.

  • Proximity: It’s one of the most accessible English-language support locations for British consumers. The one-hour flight time from London to Belfast dwarves in comparison to the 11 plus hours flight to English-speaking alternatives like Manila or Johannesburg.
  • Right economics: Low inflation, steady economic growth and near zero real interest rates have made Northern Ireland less susceptible to sudden cost escalations, a very real problem for a number of English-language offshore locations.
  • Work environment: The country’s limited union activity has kept it competitive and cost-effective. This is backed by a strong work ethic that has become undisputed with the region.

Belfast onwards

The nation’s capital has quickly become the epicenter of its customer experience activity. Boasting a youthful slant, it’s become a commercial hub as technology and financial organizations choose Belfast to become their regional and global headquarters. The young energy and new businesses have made it a drawing point for many talented individuals.

Its recent success as a commercial hub has also led to a growing proficiency in foreign languages. Its large student body is encouraged to study foreign languages while unemployment rates in parts of Southern Europe have opened up opportunities to source various native speakers. But your move to Belfast shouldn’t be viewed as investment in a multilingual centre since it’s still English focused, but rather as a source of niche volumes for one or more different languages.

TTEC in Northern Ireland

In 2001, we opened our first contact centre in Northern Ireland. Since then the site has matured into a hub of omnichannel customer experience services including: Customer care, revenue generation, technical support, social media management, and more.

One of our partners, a successful tobacco organisation, went to Belfast to find a centre that could help them differentiate from competitors while increasing market share, brand awareness, and the quality of their customer service. The partnership addressed every stage, from IT to HR, to reinvent the recruitment and training processes and provide meaningful customer interactions. Since beginning the partnership the size of the team has doubled and expanded into four new markets, with seven more planned for 2019.

Invest in the future

The time to invest in nearshoring opportunities in the UK is now. Just this year we opened our first CX Innovation Lab in Belfast to review and demonstrate the latest tech in omnichannel service such as AI, automation, analytics, and service to sales. Your organisation doesn’t need to make a complete transition over to Northern Ireland, but we’ve found from experience that looking into the capabilities of this workforce pays off. Consider today how you don’t have to go very far for the best of service.