There are fundamental shifts taking place in offshore delivery.  Geographic options once deemed de facto destinations for servicing specific countries and language groups have been shaken up over the past few years.  Now, there are new alternatives that are becoming part of the broader offshoring discussion.  In this context, Kosovo has begun to take center stage as a country in Europe’s nearshore that is quickly evolving into an established BPO location.

No one should doubt the special place the European nearshore holds in the eyes of both the outsourcing community and enterprise services buyers. In data soon to be released in the 2024 Front Office CX Omnibus Survey by Ryan Strategic Advisory, captive contact center operators indicate that the region most favored for supporting domestic consumers is Central & Eastern Europe.  Given its ease of access and language / cultural alignment, this region is the overwhelming favorite among participants from key European demand markets.

But, what is significant in this discussion is the extent to which it is no longer simply the few traditional behemoths like Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania that have always been the source of CX delivery into Western Europe. Rather, the appetite to give new countries a chance alongside the usual suspects is more pronounced today than at any other time in recent memory. It is in this vein that Kosovo is coming to the forefront of BPO buying discussions.

Why is this the case?  Consider the extent to which Kosovo as an outsourcing destination of choice has matured over the past few years.  The country managed to attract not only solid levels of investment from multinational BPO operators (including Concentrix + Webhelp and Teleperformance), but it has also spawned a great deal of activity by domestic operators.

The story of local Kosovo BPO success stories would not be complete without mentioning SPEEEX, which has positioned itself as a European nearshore CX player of note. This is alongside numerous other domestic Kosovo outsourcing upstarts, such as Limitless Marketing and Lead Nation LLC, which are rapidly making a name on the European nearshore stage.

So, what is driving the interest in Kosovo by global and homegrown BPO operations?  A great deal of this is due to targeted language skills, notably English and German, both of which are popular among the country’s youthful, educated labor force.  With German especially being the cause of many headaches for both enterprises and their BPO partners to source in Europe’s nearshore, having an alternative like Kosovo alongside more traditional destinations in the region is helpful.

So too is the value that can be derived from Kosovo, and not only in terms of competitive price points. As noted in the 2023 Offshore BPO Confidence Index, targeted investments have rendered the country’s infrastructure in a strong position, both regarding network connectivity and public transport.

Still, there are some headwinds that Kosovo’s BPO sector needs to confront if it is to continue its upward trajectory.  Its small population will have trouble sustaining significant new deployments of English, German or any other foreign language.  The capacity of Kosovo citizens to travel visa-free to the EU could compound this skills tightening.  And worries about Kosovo’s political status within the region, due to ongoing border provocations by Serbia, do little to instill confidence among outsourcing buyers who are preoccupied with business continuity.

Awareness is also something that the Kosovar outsourcing ecosystem needs to work on.  The soon-to-be-released 2024 Front Office CX Omnibus Survey shows that favorability for Kosovo as a BPO delivery point has a long way to go with enterprise CX decision-makers, at least relative to other offshore or nearshore destinations.  Even so, there is a solid base for Kosovo to develop into a robust, mainstay delivery point for customer experience within Europe’s nearshore.

Image sourced from Xavier Caballe under Creative Commons Licence