BPO Call Centers: Pros and Cons of Outsourcing
Not all organizations have the capabilities or resources to provide the level of call center support that customers have come to expect. Outsourcing customer service functions to an external third party often allow companies to focus their efforts on other elements of their business, like product or sales development, while also offering consistent and exceptional customer support. When considering outsourcing any customer service elements, BPOs become an important part of the conversation. Discover what a BPO call center is and the various components of implementing them in your customer support models.
What Is a BPO Call Center?
Business process outsourcing (BPO) in call centers is when the customer service segments of your organization are handed over to a third party to execute. BPO can be applied in both an inbound call center environment as well as outbound call center operations.
How Do BPO Call Centers Work?
BPO companies consist of groups of agents who work alongside businesses looking to outsource their customer service operations. Most often BPO call centers handle a multitude of organizations simultaneously whilst making sure that the impression that customers get is that they are speaking with a knowledgeable, direct representative of the company. For that reason, BPO call center agents are usually considered highly skilled in providing outstanding customer support experiences and are equipped with information regarding their client organizations so they can answer a wide array of potential inquiries.
Other common BPO services are telemarketing efforts, additional back office support, or being the first to answer incoming calls routed through an IVR system. They can also be used exclusively by an organization offering the only dedicated source of customer service or tech support.
As companies evolve, their call center operation needs can change, sometimes drastically. For example, imagine a fledgling company with limited resources wanting to utilize a BPO for cold calling potential customers for market research and lead generation. This works well for them initially but as their business progresses their needs evolve. In a short amount of time, they may need more omnichannel customer care services with targeted KPIs and metrics that guide specific performance targets. In this example (and many others) BPOs make sense because their outsourcing services help organizations scale quickly by having cost-effective solutions ready to deploy.
Pros and Cons of Using a BPO Call Center
In 2021, the worldwide business process outsourcing market was estimated at $245.9 billion (Grandviewresearch). Although BPOs continue to gain momentum in today’s market, BPO call centers come with pros and cons like most strategic business decisions. Below are a few of the expected benefits and challenges of utilizing business process outsourcing for your call center needs.
Pro: Cost Savings
Outsourcing customer service team members can be cost-reductive. For example, employing contact center agents in various parts of the global community such as the Philippines or India can mean labor costs are lowered exponentially. A third party handling the workforce management component also alleviates the stress of hiring or staffing internal HR for the training and upskilling.
Con: Security Risk
More and more conversations regarding security risks and data protection are coming to the forefront within the call center industry. When utilizing BPOs you run the “risk” of leaving holes open in your security procedures. A data breach or hack causes a significant blow to customer loyalty and trust, and can easily result in a loss of revenue.
Pro: No More Limited Hours
BPO call centers allow companies to provide 24/7 customer support. Perhaps your organization uses a call center BPO for overnight shifts or “off hours” for the customers who call outside of “normal” operating hours. Suddenly time zones and their constraints are less restrictive on providing exemplary customer service morning, noon, or night. In an on-demand world, this is a significant benefit to offer your clients.
Con: Impersonal Experiences
Your customers pick up on impersonal or scripted interactions almost immediately. We mentioned the need for attention to detail and perfecting the client experience to stand out amongst the competition. You risk customer churn when your customers recognize that you are outsourcing your customer service instead of keeping things in-house.
On a good day, the substantial amount of hardware and software necessary to get a functioning call center off the ground can be challenging. Add to that supply chain issues and it can quickly become daunting. BPOs alleviate that pressure by providing their own gear and tech amenities.
Con: Lack of Alignment
Running a successful BPO call center boils down to the quality of the partnership. Clearly communicating customer experience expectations and business goals is vital to a successful relationship. A lack of alignment between the business and the BPO call center could be potentially harmful to the overall reputation of the business and long-term customer success.
3 Common BPO Call Center Services
So what all gets handled in an interactive call center BPO? It can vary greatly depending on business needs from company to company but below are three common examples.
1. First Contact Phone Answering
BPO call centers can handle the first contact from your customers. This can be beneficial for operations that want a “first line” that runs basic inquiries and reserves specialized teams for more nuanced and complex issues.
2. Administrative Handling
Have a growing business but your technicians are out in the field and have difficulty handling the administrative tasks? BPO call centers can take over the task of appointment handling and follow-up work.
Telesales is a great way to incorporate BPO. Trained individuals can handle the process of selling goods and services to prospective clients. If your business is small or medium you may not have the operating capacity to hire these outbound service providers so a BPO call center steps in and handles things for you.
Key Takeaways About BPOs
Investing in a business process outsourcing call center can be a practical decision for your business. Being cognizant of the pros and cons is important as you weigh the options and figure out your specific needs. Maintaining a focus on consistency and quality no matter what business solutions you utilize should be a top priority for your call center services.
Brightmetrics is an important resource for Mitel and Genesys Cloud customers looking for actionable insights to ensure a seamless customer experience. We ensure BPO call centers are meeting their client’s KPI expectations with customizable alerts and notifications with our flexible dashboards. With the right tools, partners, and agents you can go a long way in utilizing BPO services to deliver high-quality customer service to your customers and expand your business.