BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING
Instead , focus on factors that will improve service to your customers . This may include a cultural fit of the BPO with your team and customers and the ability of the BPO to align with your branding , quality control , and performance management capabilities .
The BPO can also bring a knowledge of CX best practices to your program , along with a history of excellent performance in your industry .
Most SMBs may struggle to uncover these attributes , in which case they should consider tapping a CX consultant , broker , or a BPO marketplace . 2 . De-risk the cost of a poor BPO selection . Despite your best efforts , it is possible that a BPO relationship may not deliver .
To avoid the twin problems of either living with an underperforming partner or undertaking a painful rip-and-replace project , you should have an escape plan . If you have enough demand for it , contract with more than one BPO .
That way , if performance goes south , cost goes north , or if your BPO experiences an outage – perhaps due to adverse weather or a systems impairment – you can shuffle the workload to the other partner ( s ) on the program .
If your program is too small for this , as will be the case with many SMBs , consider sourcing through a marketplace .
The marketplace , with its dozens or hundreds of BPO partners ready at hand , becomes a proxy for your multi- BPO program , making it easier to switch if circumstances require . 3 . Lean on your BPO partner for launch planning . A quality BPO will be expert in recruiting , scheduling , and managing agents , and should have prowess in project managing the launch of a new campaign .
THE BPO CAN ALSO BRING A KNOWLEDGE OF CX BEST PRACTICES TO YOUR PROGRAM , ALONG WITH A HISTORY OF EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE IN YOUR INDUSTRY .
38 CONTACT CENTER PIPELINE
The SMB should ensure your BPO ’ s project plan includes the necessary elements , such as systems deployment , agent HR and recruiting , service channel setup , QA , training , training , training ( yes , it ’ s important !), and more .
The SMB should also :
• Require your BPO project manager to provide regular status reports throughout the launch .
• Expect to train the agents , at least the initial crop . An important rule of thumb is that the success of the campaign is determined during the first 60 days .
• Agree on success criteria with your BPO partner , then meet frequently to establish a healthy operating rhythm and set the right precedents .
4 . Manage the BPO , not their agents . A common misstep made by companies outsourcing for the first time is to manage BPO agents exactly as if they were internal agents .
There are certainly some program elements where this is appropriate , such as training and providing recognition . But it is not wise to directly discipline , penalize , or reschedule agents . Keep in mind that you ’ ve hired a BPO , not a team of freelancers .
The BPO employs supervisors , managers , QA staff , and more , whose jobs are to drive the success of your campaign . It is important not to bypass these leaders , as it undermines their role in the campaign , erodes trust , and sows the seeds for a fragmented relationship . Rather , experienced outsourcers learn to manage the BPO . 5 . Make outsourcing success part of your team ’ s performance goals . With this in place , then formally recognize and reward your line leadership for BPO program success .
As part of this approach , establish service expectations . A healthy BPO relationship depends on a strong mutual understanding of what is meant by “ good performance .”
Early in an outsourcing program , expectations may be more focused on ensuring good coverage , achieving agent competence , and meeting QA standards .
Over time , measures should include customer-facing metrics , such as customer satisfaction , and efficiencies , such as handle times . These should be developed in concert with your BPO , and perhaps with a trusted advisor or consultant , and documented into a formal Service Level Agreement ( SLA ).
It is crucial that SLAs not be “ imposed ” but agreed , as there is interplay between headcount , incoming demand , issue types , and other factors . Meeting SLA commitments should then be a core focus of your BPO and an agenda item in performance meetings . 6 . Build a knowledge base , together . Most SMBs hesitate to outsource because they lack a formal knowledge base – a uniform repository of company and product information – believing it to be a prerequisite .
A HEALTHY BPO RELATIONSHIP DEPENDS ON A STRONG MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS MEANT BY “ GOOD PERFORMANCE .”
Certainly , it would be helpful . After all , a knowledge base allows your agents to answer more quickly , with more confidence , and more accuracy . A knowledge base is also foundational to launching a chat bot or conversational AI down the road .
But the fact remains that it is far more common for SMBs to launch without a knowledge base than vice versa . Rather , BPOs are experts at helping build your knowledge base and integrate it into processes for maximum benefit .
With powerful , affordable , cloud-native CX platforms , combined with global , tech-enabled BPO marketplaces , the outsourcing industry has warmed up to SMBs . While it is wise to proceed with caution , now is a better time than ever to jump in … and you can do well by following best practices such as those cited herein .
Alan Pendleton is the CEO and Co-Founder of ArenaCX , is a fan of you-and-what-army sized challenges and is passionate about making a positive impact through business . He lives in central North Carolina with his wife , two daughters , and cat , Mindy .