BPO, or business process outsourcing, is a common practice where a company or organization hires another to handle a specific process that’s critical to the successful operation of their business.
The first industry that took advantage of BPO was manufacturing. Rather than incurring the costs of building numerous facilities and hiring more employees to make every part for every automobile they manufactured, the big auto companies engaged other manufacturers to produce some of the parts they needed, such as brakes, seats, airbags, etc. By hiring other companies to handle processes related to the running of their primary business, auto manufacturers saved time and money.
Even though a single industry began using BPO, it has quickly become common practice in a host of different industries. At this point, BPO has expanded to where all kinds of organizations are realizing the benefits of business process outsourcing, including government offices, nonprofit organizations, for-profit retailers, and more.
Many of these organizations seek help from BPO service providers in the United States, while others branch out to other countries in North America or around the globe. Call center brands using BPO services achieve success by following industry best practices for outsourcing, including implementing BPO management software such as NICE CXone.
What processes can be outsourced?
Business process outsourcing can be used for two primary areas of work depending on a company’s needs. These include both back-office and front-office functions.
Front-office processes are those related to sales or sales support, such as customer relations and support, marketing, and advertising.
Back-office processes include those that take place after the sale is finished or that are structural. These processes may comprise everything from payment processing and fulfillment to accounting, quality assurance, information technology, and human resources.
While some businesses might choose to outsource all back- or front-office processes, others might choose to outsource a single department, such as HR. In other situations, only one function of a department might be outsourced. For example, some organizations may only outsource the payroll function of their HR department. It all comes down to the kind of help a company needs to be successful.
The functions that can be outsourced today can span from typical back-office tasks, like payroll processing, data processing, and accounting, to newer functions such as customer service and social media marketing.
While most businesses choose to outsource functions that are not a part of the company core, sometimes critical tasks are being outsourced. This is common with financial services, customer service, and IT operations. Some companies also outsource strategic tasks like data analytics and data mining, both of which are essential parts of digital transformation, keeping the business competitive in the new digital economy.
Deciding to outsource business processes
Sometimes it makes good sense as a business to outsource to specialists. Executives or owners of a company may decide to outsource a certain business process for various reasons. For example, a new startup company might need to outsource both front- and back-office functions if they don’t have the proper resources to build a team and support all the functions in-house.
On the other side of the coin, an established company may choose to outsource something that used to be done in-house after doing analysis and realizing outsourcing offers better results and lower costs.
Experts in BPO note that executives should first look at the functions that are easily outsourced with minimum impact to daily operations. Next, look at each of those functions through a list of pros and cons to see whether outsourcing is a solution that makes strategic sense for the business.
If BPO appears to be the right solution, the company then needs to find the right vendor to do the work and go through shifting from in-house to external processes. While this can take time and energy, it’s often worth it for reasons we’ll go into a bit later.
Having a handle on change management is a must in this situation, since moving a process to an external company will affect existing workflows, staff, and established processes. Everyone needs to know what changes are being made and how they impact everyone who is a part of the company. Making a large shift will also affect company finances. The shift from handling processes internally to outsourcing is often done to save money, but this shift also influences reporting requirements and taxes.
The company needs to have the right technology solution in place to ensure that work flows smoothly from the business to the outsourced providers. The cost and extent of that solution will vary based on the level of difficulty of the outsourced processes and the technology infrastructure available at both companies.
Thankfully, NICE offers cloud-based contact center software solutions that can help call centers achieve greater efficiency. First, we’ll describe general BPO scope and objectives then discuss the specific benefits NICE provides.
Determine the scope and set objectives
When a business moves a process to an outsourced company, it also needs to determine the scope of work to be moved to a partner in another location. This involves identifying the processes and workflows that will be impacted by the shift and any adjustments that need to be made for outsourcing to be a success.
The people in charge of the business need to have an awareness of the main objectives related to outsourcing a specific need. This might come down to a quicker turnaround, cost savings, better quality, or something completely different. Once the key factors are known, those can be used in the search for a provider that will best meet a company’s needs.
Outsourcing objectives should also serve as the basis for contractual obligations to help determine how well an outsourced provider is performing in the process it is being hired to handle.
Where will you outsource?
Companies around the globe offer a variety of BPO services to companies just like yours. BPO can be broken down into different types based solely on where the outsourcing company is located.
- Onshore outsourcing: This sort of outsourcing, also called domestic outsourcing, occurs when a business contracts services from a company that operates in the same country as the hiring company.
- Nearshore outsourcing: With nearshore outsourcing, an organization contracts services from companies located in countries neighboring their location. For a US-based company, this could mean outsourcing to another company in Mexico or Canada.
- Offshore outsourcing: Also known as offshoring, this option involves contracting services from an organization that is located in a country not near the hiring company.
Business process outsourcing can go by a variety of names. One of those is IT-enabled services or ITES, which offers recognition that IT infrastructure, such as that from NICE, is needed to create outsourcing opportunities.
BPO by other names
In addition to categorizing BPO based on the country where the second organization is located in regard to the first, BPO may be categorized according to the services being provided. Several main specialties can be found.
- ITES: Information Technology-Enabled Services uses information technology over a data network or the internet to provide services. Some common ITES BPO positions include IT analyst, service desk analyst, and production support analyst.
- KPO: Knowledge Process Outsourcing applies to a service provider who is hired to help perform a business function or process but also offers additional expertise related to the process being performed.
- LPO: Legal Process Outsourcing, is a subcategory of KPO and specifically relates to matters revolving around legal services. This category includes a variety of processes, from performing legal research to drafting legal documents and offering advice on legal matters.
- RPO: Research Process Outsourcing is another form of KPO, but RPO is focused on research and analysis. This type of outsourcing is often used by investment firms, biotech companies, and marketing agencies who need to deal with large amounts of research in their work.
- Travel: This category applies to all business-oriented travel operations. It can include anything from making hotel reservations to booking vehicles. Travel BPO can save a company money by improving the travel experience of its employees and decreasing the associated stress. Travel companies and airlines may also use BPO for front- or back-office needs, such as the ticketing process.
The Benefits of Call Center BPO
In the world of call center operations, business process outsourcing has some pros and cons to consider. The modern contact center has several operations, tasks, and daily efforts that may benefit from outsourcing, but a proper evaluation and assessment will need to be done to determine if it is the right choice for your brand. In the event that BPO works for your contact center, you’ll enjoy benefits like:
Meeting the Service Level Agreement (SLA): Today’s customer demands a higher level of service and support than ever before. When you choose to outsource your contact center operations, in any capacity, you are giving your brand the chance to better measure success and deliver a higher level of service. Essentially, it’s another way to hold your brand accountable for reaching goals and hitting performance metrics. Plus, then you’re not doing all the data and metrics yourself.
Cost Savings: Contact centers can improve their budgetary concerns and reduce their spending by outsourcing various services. When you have a budget in mind, you can present it to your contact center outsourcing partner and allow them to help you maintain a high level of service while cutting costs and delivering results.
Access to Industry Best Practices: Even if you’ve been in the contact center or customer service industry for years, you still have much to learn. Outsourcing companies that handle contact center BPO have years of dedicated experience exclusively in contact center operations and know what it takes to keep your brand growing and improving.
24/7 Support and Service: Today’s customer demands always-on service and support. Thanks to the Internet, people expect answers when they want them. If your contact center is staffed in a way that limits hours and availability, outsourcing can resolve that. You can use a shared environment contractor and AI contact features like chatbots to ensure that your audience can always reach you.
Scalability and Growth: Whether you choose a physical partner or a software platform, outsourcing your call center operations will provide a more accessible solution to help grow and scale your brand. You will be able to adjust support and service on the fly, thanks to real-time analytics, and enjoy future growth without major overhauls or changes along the way.
Total Customization: In the past, having a dedicated, customized customer service and business management platform was something reserved for those who could afford to have it built. Today, however, cloud-based solutions make it easy for any contact center to build a better platform that fits the exact needs of their organization. In addition to being flexible and scalable, BPO solutions can also be customized down to the last detail to ensure they meet your budgetary and business concerns alike.
Now that you’ve seen some of the biggest benefits of using contact center BPO, let’s talk about the common pain points that might have brought you to this decision.
Contact center pain points
Every contact center has its own struggles and growing pains. If you are still trying to assess your situation and determine if it is time for a new solution, let’s take a look at some of the most common pain points that bring people to the customer service BPO arena:
- High costs related to daily operations, staffing and scheduling, or other parts of the contact center.
- Management and leadership conflicts and headaches that are affecting service levels and accuracy.
- Falling short of service standards due to other failures or shortcomings.
- Inability to accurately forecast workloads, call volumes, or other insights to ensure proper workforce and call center management.
- High turnover rates that often result from agents who are stressed or feel improperly or not well-trained on their role.
- Excessive issues with data accuracy and call tracking.
- Social media and online complaints are on the rise and no one can seem to find a solution.
- The company is facing human resources challenges or difficulties in being flexible and adaptable to the constantly changing industry.
- Customers are spending too much time waiting for assistance, but you don’t have the means to provide additional staffing.
- You need to upgrade or implement new contact technologies, but don’t have the means or know where to start.
If you’re experiencing these or any other pain points in your contact center, outsourcing customer service might be the way to go. Cloud-based solutions offer flexibility and scalability to help you create a solution that works for you. Plus, integration is quick and easy, which we’ll discuss more below.
Startups and small companies often exhaust their in-house staff by expecting everyone to wear multiple hats and do everything at once. Unfortunately, this will not only affect the focus on and quality of service delivered, but it could impact productivity and end up costing you a lot more than you think.
Choosing to invest in BPO for your contact center customer service gives your business the chance to focus on the important things while the service is handled by the pros. You will be able to trust that you have a dedicated staff available to handle any and all customer needs and deliver a level of service that is higher than you might have even anticipated.
No matter what pain points your contact center is facing, outsourcing will allow you to create a customized solution to address them all. Then, if you notice any new issues coming up along the way, you can revisit your strategy and see if there are ways to make even more improvements with your outsourcing solution.
The right solution for customer service outsourcing
If you are considering using BPO for your customer service processes, NICE offers cloud-based contact center software that ensures the best possible experiences for your customers. Benefits include:
- Sophisticated automatic contact distribution (ACD)
- Comprehensive and integrated workforce management options to empower and engage contact center agents to help reach your business goals
- Omnichannel management of the customer journey
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation solutions that help enhance customer experience and automate typical agent tasks
When working with a call center outsourcing provider, lots of arrangements are possible. You may want to outsource all calls, or you may only want to send overflow traffic when call volume is at its peak. BPO offers a company more flexibility to shape their service functions to meet all of their business needs, but that can only occur when using robust contact center software solutions.
NICE’s CXone offers a unified, intelligent suite of applications that cover all facets of contact center management. It can simplify administration requirements while streamlining the experience of users. Businesses looking to keep up with the competition, lower costs, run their operations more efficiently, and realize greater revenues should consider NICE CXone for call center outsourcing. Visit NICE today for more information.
Are “These organization” referring to the companies using BPO or those providing it?