South Africa is the most favored offshore CX delivery location in 2021, after three consecutive years in 2nd place according to the annual Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey. In 2021, this research initiative sounded the views of 628 enterprise contact center decision-makers across the demand markets of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the USA.

South Africa placed first out of 53 different locations, according to survey participants in the US and Canada. It tied for first place with India among British respondents and was a strong second in Australia. It also had a very respectable showing in Germany. Aggressive promotional campaigns in key demand markets by South Africa’s CX services stakeholders are certainly a factor in this country’s first-place showing.  So, too, is the view among enterprise CX buyers that South Africa is a high-quality service delivery destination.

India, which took first place in 2020, drops to second this year.  Notwithstanding the ongoing surge of interest in the world’s longest-serving offshore delivery point, India was pipped at the post by South Africa’s 2021 showing among western enterprise CX buyers.  That said, it is clear that this overseas destination is here to stay for contact center service buyers.

One of the strongest performances in this year’s offshore favorability rankings comes from the European nearshore.  Poland rises from 5th place last year, tying for 3rd alongside the Philippines and Malaysia among 2021 survey respondents. Much of this showing owes to Poland’s solid survey performance in the UK, Germany and Italy. Anecdotal evidence has been pointing to significant interest in the European nearshore for some time, and Poland is top of mind in this regard.

Shut out of the top 5 most favored offshore CX delivery locations last year, Egypt makes its return to this prestigious group in a strong 2021 comeback, claiming 4th place.  Driven by a reputation for high-quality multilingualism, and technologically adept agents, the interest that Egyptian CX delivery continues to garner from enterprise buyers in key demand markets was evident in this year’s study.

Northern Ireland rounds out the top 5 in 2021.  This destination’s especially strong performance across the UK and continental Europe cements its reputation as a niche multilingual hub that has proven the value of investment for some of the most well-known global BPO players.

So, what are the key takeaways from the 2021 most favored offshore CX delivery destinations?

Perhaps the most obvious is that investment promotion counts in today’s competitive CX site selection environment.  Among the countries listed above, South Africa, Northern Ireland and Egypt have presented customer experience services buyers in key demand markets with consistent messaging that positions effectively their respective jurisdictions.  In the case of each of these destinations, their efforts have borne fruit as per this year’s survey results.

It is also clear that buyer favorability is fluid.  This marks the third straight year in which the Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey recorded a different most favored offshore CX delivery location.  Thus, South African outsourcing stakholders cannot rest on their laurels. Industry players in that country will be under intense pressure to maintain this prestigious ranking.  In addition to the rest of the 2021 top 5, there were strong showings from several upstart offshore destinations, each of which is eager to take the coveted top spot next year.  For South African BPO providers, keeping an eye on how the needs of CX players in key demand markets are changing, and thereby evolving their location’s value proposition, will be crucial in maintaining their status as 2021’s best of the best.