Are There Productivity Differences Across Locations?
Contact Center Perspective

Assessing relative differences in productivity across locations is of significant relevance to firms that leverage an integrated global delivery model across offshore, nearshore, and onshore locations. In addition, the looming prospect of increasing barriers to offshoring/nearshoring, such as border tax on services, immigration reform, and H-1B visas, is shifting the focus away from labor-arbitrage model to productivity gains. Everest Group conducted a targeted research to assess relative differences in productivity across locations. This covered leading enterprises, service providers, and Global In-house Centers (GICs) supporting contact center work.

Our research highlights that while there are location-specific variations in resource (agent) productivity, there is no consistent trend of agent productivity varying by categories of locations (i.e., onshore vs. offshore/nearshore). Agent productivity in contact centers is influenced by multiple factors, of which average call handling time and agent utilization are location-dependent. Even after normalizing for other factors that are not significantly location-dependent (i.e., nature of business, work mix, and scale of operations), there is no evidence to suggest that agent productivity is higher in onshore locations compared to offshore/nearshore locations.

This viewpoint explores location-dependent factors contributing towards resource productivity and concludes that it is important to recognize that most of the productivity is actually impacted by internal factors that firms can optimize and are not location-dependent. Finally, it is worth mentioning that no single metric is sufficient to fully capture productivity, and it is important to consider a holistic dashboard that incorporates both efficiency and effectiveness.

Scope and Content

This report presents views on the following topics:

  • Why is there an increase in interest in assessing differences in productivity across delivery locations?
  • Framework for the research
    • The boundary conditions and key focus areas
    • Components of resource (agent) productivity
    • Location-dependent factors
  • Key findings and takeaways from the research

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