Balancing today’s priorities while planning for tomorrow is a constant struggle. It’s clear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay, but is 2018 the year when everyone jumps on the call center tech bandwagon? Is cost the only reason to outsource your call center functions? Are companies abandoning their outsourcing relationships to bring them in-house?
We asked our respondents in-depth questions about their 2018 goals and if they would look to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) partners to help them. While cost continues to be a primary reason to outsource, they shared five key insights of how BPO could help them in the coming year.
Traditionally, lowering costs is the #1 reason to outsource. Corporate leaders are focused on and rewarded for bottom-line performance, and outsourcing is a cost-effective way to reach financial performance goals.
But pinching today’s pennies can hurt tomorrow’s profits. A clear vision of tomorrow, backed by appropriate investments today, is the path to achieve growth targets. That’s why it’s no surprise that companies have more than just cost as criteria for entering into business partnerships. What’s the vital component leaders seek?
Corporate strategy alignment.
It is imperative that business partners share a common vision. BPO partners must align with your vision of the company, integrate with your culture and make management communication a top priority. Without strategic alignment, it is virtually impossible to achieve your long-term goals, let alone be trusted with your most valuable asset: your customers.
Protect Vital Assets
Our respondents were clear: they want cost predictability. BPO partners meet this need by offering long-term contracting and deep expertise, which can be a relief to the accounting department. But other than financial stability, what’s in the shadows that concerns our corporate leaders? What keeps them awake at night?
After the epic Equifax Breach of 2017 that affected 127 million people, our respondents were clear that data security is their #1 concern. The recent Facebook breach that released records of 87 million people proves that data security will continue to be a major concern in the future.
While cash is king, data is your reputation. It takes an enormous investment of time, talent, and money to keep corporate and client records safe in a cyber environment that is constantly under attack. BPO partners with proven technology and secure systems have an edge in the market by protecting their clients’ data and integrity.
Improve The Customer Experience
Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Constantly improving their experience is key to not only attracting but keeping customers for the long term, which ultimately stabilizes if not increases sales.
As a business owner, you need to answer key questions to define who your customer is, what they want, and how you can best serve them. Once you know these answers, sharing your insights with your BPO partner is critical for them to provide predictable, standard processes, backed by innovative technology, which continually improves your customer experience.
Invest In Tech
It’s apparent that technology, including AI, Machine Learning applications (like Automated Virtual Assistants), and IoT (Internet of Things) devices have more than a few companies scrambling to decide what investments will bring solid returns. While improving efficiency, these advances do come with a cost that must be balanced against anticipated returns.
Our survey shows that unless you’re a big company with extra cash, you’re probably taking a conservative approach toward investing in technology over the next 3 to 5 years. Video chat is an easy win for most companies. A chatbot can also help customers answer simple questions like, “when does my flight arrive?” or “what’s my account balance?” and since it doesn’t need sleep it helps customers 24/7. BPO partners can start to help you bring these basic AI tools, along with advanced tools like visual IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition), to the table at a pace that makes sense for your business and customers.
Stay With It
For those who choose to outsource their operations, the vast majority choose to strengthen, not discontinue, their BPO partnerships. Once the investment is made in the partnership, both sides must be dedicated to improving the relationship. Management communication, improving productivity, cost control, and enhancing technology are consistent challenges in most corporate environments, including BPO relationships.
As we’ve noted in previous studies, the best BPO partners will work with you to evaluate performance, provide a clear path to meeting milestones, and offer effective communication strategies. Choosing a provider to help you scale and strengthen your brand is key, and the provider must have the experience, stable workforce, technology to meet or exceed your own, and proven processes to support your current and future operations. In short, BPO providers are strategic partners who must have the management, communication, tools, technologies, reporting and staff that meets or exceeds your own resources.
Who We Are
Lead Advisors is a leading global provider of outsourcing services that support clients’ most fundamental business activities.
Lead Advisors’ BPO group powers clients’ fundamental customer relationships, with services that include tech support, help desk, customer care, back office, finance and accounting outsourcing and telesales.
If you have a need for BPO services, feel free to reach out to us at (888) 761-9142.