BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING faster , with ready access to affordable quality labor and to the latest technology at scale .
The BPO industry is forecasted to grow from $ 251 billion in 2021 to over $ 500 billion in 2030 , according to Grand View Research . This is big business .
Well known for bringing significant cost savings , the practice of outsourcing a business process – when done well – can also bring better technology , process excellence , management practices , and workforce agility .
For instance , rather than hosting an internal customer service team in an expensive metro-area headquarters with a high cost of living , a company can spin up a talented BPO team in a less costly geography . While simultaneously partnering with a company that specializes in those state-of-the-art systems , processes , and hiring practices known to maximize the customer experience ( CX ).
While BPOs don ’ t always get it right , these are the reasons why big companies do it i . e ., outsourcing .
SMBS LIMITED IN BPO USE
And yet , SMBs have been nearly shut out of the outsourcing revolution . One reason : they often lack the in-house sourcing and vendor management teams needed to develop and oversee BPO relationships with confidence .
Also , while there have long been small outsourcer contact centers , performing basic tasks like taking messages and orders , many of them often lack the tools and the agent training to enable SMBs to compete effectively on more sophisticated service and support with the larger companies .
There are many thousands of BPOs around the world . Their maturity , skills , language proficiencies , and industry expertise vary widely . Plus , a given BPO ’ s performance ebbs and flows over time .
It ’ s the Wild West out there for companies searching for a BPO partner , and there can be significant business penalties for making a poor selection . Combine selection risk with the risks associated with launching and managing ongoing operations and it ’ s no wonder why many SMBs shy away from outsourcing .
Another blocker for SMBs is that many BPOs , especially the big , wellknown players , don ’ t take small deals .
They purpose-built their operations to deliver better economies of scale to large enterprises .
Standing up a team of five customer service agents breaks the model . It is neither profitable for the BPO nor large enough to benefit from the BPO ’ s sophisticated management systems designed to optimize the output of large teams . The BPOs willing to take smaller deals are lesser-known and therefore inherently riskier selections for the SMB .
Yes , BPOs , particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic , provide workfrom-home ( WFH ) agents , which helps with affordability , especially due to lowered facility costs .
But the management layer is still important ( QA , supervision , scheduling , etc .). Plus , new technologies are required to support WFH . Consequently it may not translate to BPOs accepting smaller deal sizes , except for the ones that focus on low complexity services .
In a U . S . economy where 30 million small businesses contribute 62 % of jobs and 43.5 % of GDP ( Forbes ) these barriers to outsourcing create a meaningful gap .
But there is good news : resources have emerged in recent years that are at last unlocking the BPO industry for SMBs .
Take customer service as an example . Cloud-native CX platforms , such as Zendesk , have become both affordable and feature-rich , making it possible for globally distributed teams to easily share a common knowledge base , reporting tool , and customer interaction system .
Gone are the days when systems complexity and massive IT projects were required to establish multinational teams and , therefore , to outsource .
These modern platforms are easy to configure , can start with as little as one software license , and then grow with the business . This creates a convenient technical backdrop that reduces the system ' s burden – time , cost , integration , implementation , and training – of engaging a BPO .
On top of this , the emergence of tech enabled BPO marketplaces solves the sourcing problem for SMBs . When an industry requires economies of scale but is also highly fragmented ( with thousands of BPOs and millions of SMBs ), an aggregation mechanism eventually emerges .
A marketplace can mediate numerous SMBs and numerous BPOs into optimal patterns to produce economies of scale , making deals both profitable for BPOs and affordable for SMBs .
Moreover , a healthy marketplace will provide services in any language , geography , skill set , industry vertical , or use case , while monitoring BPO performance , working conditions , diversity , equity , and inclusion ( DEI ) credentials , and more .
Plus , if the marketplace has deployed standard terms of trade , the sourcing challenge can be further streamlined . These marketplace features combine to make it easier , safer , and more affordable than ever for an SMB to source the right partner , at the right price , and on the right terms .
A new partnership is poised to revolutionize the BPO sourcing experience for SMBs : BPO marketplaces integrated into CX platforms .
By integrating the BPO marketplace into the CX platform , SMBs can now – with only a few clicks – add outsourced customer service agents to their roster without ever leaving their core CX system .
This allows SMBs to outsource fearlessly , confident that they are getting high quality service from a handpicked BPO roster vetted by the marketplace and approved by the systems platform . On Zendesk , for example , this is accessible using the Get Labor app . Expect to see more of this kind of collaboration as industry players seek to better incorporate SMBs into the world of outsourcing .
The above examples illustrate how the industry is adapting to the underserved SMB market . Now , from my experience helping SMBs navigate the world of outsourcing , I ’ d also like to share several best practices that should make your outsourcing journey more successful . 1 . Don ’ t base your BPO partner selection on cost alone . If you are currently in-sourcing , almost any BPO partner will deliver considerable savings .
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