Delivering poor customer service isn’t just bad for your reputation — it can cost a fortune. In fact, poor customer service costs large enterprise companies between $75 billion and $1.6 trillion each year. That’s why many companies hire a business process outsourcing (BPO) call center.
A BPO is a third-party vendor that takes over some of your company’s business processes. So, a BPO call center acts as your customer service team, using outsourced agents to handle tasks. The benefits of a BPO call center are significant.
The Benefits (and Challenges) of a BPO Call Center
Using a BPO call center lets you:
- Hand over customer service operations to a proven vendor who has the resources and expertise to manage your workload
- Benefit from the best call center technology available without added costs or maintenance
- Take advantage of streamlined processes that improve your efficiency and productivity
- Reduce overhead costs by 30-60%
These benefits save you operational headaches, but they also have the power to transform your customer experience. With outsourcing, you can provide streamlined, accurate, and around-the-clock support that wouldn’t be possible in-house.
But, because you’re entrusting your customers to an outside vendor, you have to choose a BPO call center with care. For example, it’s difficult for outsourced agents to have the same knowledge about your products and services. Plus, cultural barriers and varied experience levels pose challenges when choosing a BPO to partner with.
Before hiring a BPO call center, learn about what outsourcing is available and what you should consider in a vendor.
Want to learn more about outsourcing labor to a BPO? Check out our blog.
4 Types of Outsourcing to Consider
It’s important to first identify what type of outsourcing your company wants and understand the costs of each. There are four primary types of outsourcing.
1. Inbound Outsourcing
An inbound BPO call center takes care of incoming customer calls and messages. This, of course, includes any support questions and concerns, but also involves order processing, running analytics, and dispatching agents as needed.
- The ROI. Outsourcing inbound services generally saves you money. With an inbound BPO call center, you don’t have to hire additional employees to handle an uptick in call volume or ask salaried employees to work outside traditional hours.
2. Outbound Outsourcing
Most service teams are hanging on by the seat of their pants. As a result, they are only able to react to customers. Being proactive is a challenge. But with an outbound BPO call center, services are focused on proactive service.
An outbound call center helps you with customer outreach, sales calls, follow-up, and surveys and research.
- The ROI. Outbound services are time-consuming and tedious. With a BPO call center, you gain a dedicated group of agents who can reach out and follow up with leads in your pipeline in less time, helping you generate sales faster.
Nearshoring is when a BPO call center outsources to a neighboring or nearby country as opposed to offshoring to a country that is further away.
- The ROI. Nearshoring is one way to cut costs because you outsource to areas with lower labor costs while remaining in the same time zone.
- The downside. Because nearshoring shifts call centers to a different country, there is likely to be cultural differences and less quality control over operations.
Reshoring is when a company has an outsourced call center in a different country but returns operations to their country. For instance, your company has operations in Mexico but moves those operations to the U.S. using a domestic BPO.
- The ROI. Reshoring and onshoring support better cultural alignment with your brand, decrease security and supplier risks, and help support quality control.
- The downside. Reshoring is more costly than nearshoring. Especially in the U.S., where domestic labor costs are higher. As a result, more control over BPO operations requires more upfront costs.
3 Important Considerations: Flexibility, Scalability, and Experience
Beyond understanding what kind of BPO call center you want, you should pick a vendor that aligns with your must-have list. You want a partner who can stay agile and support your customers with the same expertise and attention as an in-house call center. Here are three important considerations.
1. Flexibility and Scalability
No business stays the same all the time. Sometimes, you need all hands on deck to help with a large number of customer calls. While other times, you may need a couple of agents to take calls. And, what if your company scales and your customer base rapidly grows? You need a partner that is flexible enough to adapt to your needs and scale with your business.
2. Industry Expertise
Imagine if you were a car manufacturer and your agents only had industry knowledge about clothing retail — it would be a disaster for your customers! Every industry has its own language, and customers need and want different things. So, it’s essential to find a BPO call center with experience in your specific industry.
This way, agents can be trained to understand your products, services, and customer base within the larger industry standards. Industry-specific knowledge also helps maintain compliance with industry regulations and standards.
3. An Emphasis on Customer Experience
Customer experience is everything. It’s the make-or-break investment that gives you a competitive edge. But when you outsource your call center, you give up direct control over customer interactions. You quite literally put your customers in the hands of someone else. It would be a huge disappointment to outsource your call center and have your customer experience go down the drain as a result.
Find a partner who prioritizes customer experience and aligns with your ideals. Define what your customer experience should look like and ensure your BPO call center can meet those needs.
3 (More) Considerations for Hiring a BPO Call Center
The first three considerations are super important. But let’s get a bit more specific. Here are three more things to consider when hiring a BPO call center.
1. Call Volume Capacities
One reason to invest in a BPO call center is to lean on a partner to handle your call volumes — no matter how high or low they are. What is the BPO’s cost per interaction? Do they have the capacity to handle an increase in calls? Do they use technology to mitigate high call volumes?
These kinds of questions help evaluate a BPO call center’s capacity and ensure your customers get quick, seamless service regardless of call volumes.
2. Multi-Channel Capabilities
Offering omnichannel support is vital to remaining competitive. A BPO call center should be able to manage multiple channels, including voice, chat, SMS, and email. Consider what channels your customers use to communicate. Then, look for a partner who can seamlessly interact across these channels.
3. Extensive Security Measures
You absolutely don’t want customer or company data at risk through your BPO call center. Ensure your partner has strict security protocols to protect customer information and company data. Find a BPO call center with a comprehensive understanding of compliance. They should use stringent measures to keep you and your customers safe.
Learn more about hiring a BPO for your outsourcing needs. Check out CXHub for more information.