Delivering outstanding customer service is paramount in today’s competitive business landscape. To accomplish this and remain competitive, businesses often seek exceptional customer service workers—and their search isn’t limited to their home countries.
This comprehensive guide to 20 countries from which to hire customer service professionals can be used by both business owners and support managers as they work with Oyster as a global employment partner. Each country on this list offers distinct advantages that enhance customer satisfaction and elevate your company’s reputation.
Where to look for exceptional customer service workers
1. The Philippines
Regarded as the call center capital of the world, the Philippines is one of the best countries to hire for customer service roles because it’s well known for providing outstanding customer service for companies around the world. Thanks to its large workforce that’s customer-centric, empathetic, and friendly, not to mention fluent in English, companies often turn to this island nation for service help because it already has a well-established and cost-effective infrastructure.
In fact, the winning combination of low costs and quality of skills makes the Philippines an ideal destination to hire customer service professionals. The Filipino government provides training programs for call center workers, supports the development of internet technology, and offers incentives for foreign companies to do business in the country, making it even more attractive to base customer service operations.
With the second-largest English-speaking population in the world and a deep pool of professionals with IT skills, India rivals the Philippines in terms of call center expertise and customer service potential. India is known for providing companies with service professionals who have a keen ability to understand and solve technical issues, as well as the skills to communicate effectively with customers. India’s IT graduates are well prepared for these roles, and the lower cost of living makes it a cost-effective choice.
3. United States
An increasing number of companies are choosing the United States for their customer service operations. Although American customer service workers are more expensive than those in other countries, many organizations recognize the benefits of tapping into a talent pool that offers unmatched professionalism and a dedication to customer service.
Not only is the pool of tech talent deepening, but U.S.-based customer service agents are more familiar with local regulations (like HIPAA and PCI DSS) and customer expectations. Companies with customers in the U.S. typically find that U.S.-based customer service professionals achieve better results.
Businesses looking for bilingual customer service agents might consider hiring in Mexico. Companies in the U.S. and Canada, in particular, are flocking to Mexican talent who can provide seamless interaction with both English- and Spanish-speaking customers. With a lower cost of living and average wages about 50% less than those in the U.S., proximity to both North and South America, and a large pool of talented and skilled workers, Mexico offers excellent opportunities for companies looking to hire across borders.
Like Mexico, Canada also has a large bilingual (English and French) population. The country’s exceptional educational system, reliable infrastructure, commitment to state-of-the-art technology, and proximity to the U.S. make it an attractive hiring destination. However, what draws many companies to Canadian customer service agents is the reputation for friendly and empathetic workers. Simply put, few countries have as strong a reputation for being “nice” as Canada does, and for companies that want to provide top-notch service, this is a welcome and sought-after trait.
Although Canada has a high standard of living, hiring here costs less than in other English-speaking nations like the U.S. or the United Kingdom. Companies that have high standards but want to keep costs in check should look at Canada.
6. South Africa
Businesses worldwide seeking global customer support are increasingly turning to South Africa. A politically stable and well-educated regional economic leader, South Africa has more than 300,000 people working as customer service agents. Many of these agents are multilingual (English, German, French, and Dutch are spoken here), which gives companies that serve clients worldwide an edge. The South African government also continues to invest in technological infrastructure, which supports ongoing growth in communications and creates new opportunities for businesses seeking diverse customer service operators.
Most people think of the Caribbean nation of Jamaica as a vacation destination, but it’s also a growing hotspot for customer service operations. Most Jamaican people speak English and have a friendly and warm communication style that supports positive customer interactions. Jamaica is also an affordable place to base customer service operations—it costs 50% to 60% less to hire customer service workers here than in the U.S. or other English-speaking countries.
With a prime location at the nexus of three continents (Africa, Europe, and Asia), Egypt is a fast-growing customer service call center destination, especially for companies in the Middle East and Africa. Although Arabic is the official language of Egypt, many Egyptians speak additional languages like English and French.
Government investment in business and technology is a driving factor behind Egypt’s growth in the customer service industry, which the country actively encourages through infrastructure investment and incentives for companies establishing operations. Combined with the lower cost of living and wages, it makes Egypt an attractive and cost-effective option.
Already a hotbed of growth in the software and programming industries, Poland is also developing a reputation for high-quality customer service workers. The customer service industry is thriving here, in particular, due to the country’s high degree of English proficiency and understanding of both Eastern and Western European cultures. Poland also offers lower costs, especially in comparison to other European countries (wages are about half those of the U.S., U.K., or Australia), a service-oriented culture, a highly educated population, and a well-established and reliable infrastructure.
Another fast-growing IT center, Malaysia brings a diverse workforce, proficiency in English, and a strong work ethic to customers seeking skilled customer service professionals. Changes to Malaysia’s education system mean there’s a significant influx of qualified professionals entering the workforce and a strong business climate that supports continued investments in the country’s communication and technology infrastructure. Malaysia also offers generous tax incentives to companies that do business here, making this a destination worth considering for affordable customer service talent.
Portugal is another fast-growing European center for customer service workers. Boasting a multilingual workforce—many people speak English, Spanish, French, and/or German in addition to Portuguese—service professionals here can offer global organizations customer support in many languages. Although it costs more to hire workers in Portugal than in other locations, labor costs are competitive, especially when you consider the highly educated, friendly, and customer service-oriented culture.
In recent years, Portugal has seen incredible growth in the tech industry and a deepening pool of tech talent. IT companies requiring support workers with knowledge of software development, programming, and technological solutions can find great talent here. Portugal’s government supports business growth and foreign investment with a reliable telecommunications infrastructure and attractive government incentives like grants and tax breaks.
Brazil has made significant investments in telecommunication infrastructure, making it one of the best countries to hire for customer service positions. The diverse talent pool includes multilingual workers who speak English, Portuguese, and Spanish, and Brazilian culture emphasizes the politeness and hospitality skills critical to customer satisfaction.
Although the regulatory environment in Brazil is more complex than in some other regions, the Brazilian government is working to develop programs and incentives to make the country more attractive to global businesses. The fast-growing technology sector and increase in well-educated tech workers also make Brazil an ideal location for customer service operations, especially for companies based in the Americas. Labor costs are also generally lower here than in other developed countries, so it’s a cost-effective option.
As a top tourism destination and the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, Thailand has a hospitality-focused, customer-centric culture that’s ideal for service-oriented roles. Much of the population is multilingual, well-educated, and skilled, making Thai customer support agents well-suited to companies that serve customers from all over Asia and beyond. The fact that Thailand is so appealing to so many expatriates also means that it’s possible to find and retain skilled customer service providers from around the world here.
Thailand offers an ideal balance of cost-effective labor, thanks to lower wages than many Western countries, excellent infrastructure, and advanced technology. The government offers attractive incentives and programs to encourage foreign investments, making this a great place to find the right balance of affordability and talent.
English is one of the official languages of Kenya, so most people speak the language. But that’s just one reason Kenya is a great place to find a skilled customer service workforce. Labor costs are generally lower across the board than elsewhere, and more people are seeking college degrees than ever before, many of whom graduate with the exceptional communication, problem-solving, and technological skills necessary for success in customer service.
Customer service and business process outsourcing are fast becoming some of Kenya’s top industries, especially given the government’s investment in technological and telecommunications infrastructure and other efforts to attract foreign business investments. The diverse, friendly, and empathetic culture also makes Kenya one of the best countries to hire customer service professionals.
Companies seeking affordable customer service talent often turn to Colombia, which offers lower labor costs. Considering the large pool of bilingual and multilingual, well-educated talent that provides friendly and warm service supported by in-depth training, it’s easy to see why Colombia is a preferred customer support destination for companies in North and South America. It’s also home to one of the largest workforces in South America, which makes it easy to find talent and grow businesses.
Most major cities in Colombia have the telecommunications and technological infrastructure to support customer service operations, and the country’s leaders are committed to ongoing growth and improvement. The government also offers incentives for foreign companies to establish a presence here, including tax breaks and grants.
16. Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s education system focuses on technological and vocational training, so many of the country’s bilingual workers can quickly get up to speed in any customer service role. The proximity to and cultural alignment with North America also means that hiring Costa Ricans for customer service roles is especially advantageous for companies in the U.S. and Canada.
One reason Costa Rica appeals to North American companies is its commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment. As more companies focus on their social responsibility, hiring in such an environmentally friendly country supports those efforts. Labor costs here are competitive, the modern telecommunications infrastructure supports reliable operations, and the overall high quality of life attracts knowledgeable and talented expatriates.
Vietnam is leaning into its potential as a customer service hot spot, developing business hubs to cater to customer service needs. With a young and tech-savvy population willing to focus on customer satisfaction, Vietnam is an attractive location for companies that want to offer innovative customer service solutions.
Vietnam has comparatively low labor costs and access to well-educated, friendly, polite, and skilled workers, many of whom are multilingual. Aside from Vietnamese and English, many Vietnamese people can speak French, Chinese, and more. The government has also invested in reliable tech infrastructure and offers tax benefits, streamlined regulations, and other incentives to encourage foreign companies to do business here.
Spain’s customer-centric culture, proficiency in multiple languages, and friendly demeanor make it one of the best countries to hire customer service workers. The well-developed and reliable telecommunications and technology infrastructure also supports reliable customer support services.
Like many other European countries, Spain is a hub for bilingual and multilingual talent, especially those who speak Spanish and English. Customer service workers in Spain can provide exceptional assistance to a wide range of customers, especially when you consider the workforce diversity. Here, you’ll find talent from many backgrounds with a wide range of expertise ranging from technical support to sales and troubleshooting. At its heart, though, Spain has a cultural mindset geared toward service, hospitality, and satisfaction, which is a boon to any company.
Despite ongoing turmoil, the customer service industry in Ukraine remains strong—more than 90% of the country’s call center activity is outsourced by foreign companies. A strong education system, proficient English speakers, and a growing service sector provide opportunities for customer service excellence. With a well-educated and skilled workforce—many fluent in multiple languages—and a lower-than-average labor cost, it’s no wonder this country is highly sought after for these roles. Their customer support specialists are known for their professionalism, courtesy, and commitment to delivering high-quality customer service.
Ukraine offers advanced call center technology, thanks to investments in infrastructure, and follows strict data protection laws. The government works hard to attract foreign investments with tax breaks and other incentives, and the rapid growth means it’s easy to scale up customer service operations with skilled workers when necessary.
20. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic shares many traits that make other countries on this list so appealing for customer service talent—cost-effective labor, a bilingual workforce, strong telecommunications infrastructure, and supportive government programs. The country has also invested in the call center industry with in-depth training programs focusing on skills like tech support and customer service.
Preparing your organization for customer service success
These 20 countries offer a diverse array of options for sourcing exceptional customer service workers. By strategically tapping into these global talent pools (here are some of the best remote job boards where you can post open roles), businesses can provide outstanding customer support, foster strong customer relationships, and elevate their brand’s reputation.
Each country’s unique strengths and cultural attributes contribute to a rich landscape of customer service professionals ready to exceed expectations and drive business success. Keep in mind, however, that each country has its own labor and employment laws that you'll need to remain compliant with.
Ready to tap into a deeper talent pool? Get help from Oyster, a global employment platform that helps you quickly and compliantly scale your international workforce.