BPO call centers: what are they and how can they help your business?
Is your business growing exponentially lately—or do you wish it was?
Either way, it might be time to outsource your call center. A BPO call center can provide huge benefits for your business, while also being more cost-effective and freeing up time and resources within your internal team.
But finding the right BPO call center for your business can be tricky—and you might be wondering what exactly a BPO call center is or how it differs from other call centers.
In this article, we’ll break down exactly what a BPO call center does, some of the pros and cons of BPO call centers, the difference between BPO and KPO, and, finally, how to choose the right BPO call center for your business.
So, what is a BPO call center?
Business process outsourcing (BPO) is, as the name suggests, outsourcing one or many of your business operations to a third-party provider or service. A BPO call center, then, is a team of outsourced call center agents who can handle call center operations for other businesses.
Some BPO call centers may focus on inbound calls and customer service, while others may serve as an outbound BPO call center and handle telemarketing, sales and/or market research. Keep in mind, though, that a BPO call center can handle more than simply calls.
BPO contact centers serve as an expanded call center for the modern customer experience. As the customer journey is no longer as streamlined and siloed as it once was—and continues to evolve—the BPO contact center manages all kinds of customer communications, from answering calls and emails, to resolving concerns via web chat or text, and even handling social media accounts and messages.
What does a BPO call center do?
Business process outsourcing (BPO) is a common and effective way for companies to get help with processes and business functions that may not be within their realm of expertise. It’s also a common way to free up internal resources for more pressing internal projects, and to scale your team efficiently, at cost.
A call center is just one of the many business processes that can be outsourced.
For companies who are struggling to keep up with the volume of inbound or outbound calls, you will likely want to consider outsourcing. How can a BPO call center help?
BPO call centers can function as either inbound call centers, outbound call centers, or use a hybrid model which combines both inbound and outbound functions. They may provide a variety of services, including:
- Inbound and outbound calls
- Customer support on many channels
- Market research
- Help desk services
- Technical support
- Lead generation and sales
Do I need a BPO call center?
Many companies, from massive global corporations to small startups, could benefit from a BPO call center. How could one solution work for so many different companies?
Easy: it’s because BPO call centers provide a variety of services and solutions. Here are just a few of the pain points BPO call centers can help solve:
- Struggling to keep up with the demand of customer service inquiries or complaints
- Needing to scale your team up or down based on seasonality
- Lack of internal resources to follow up on the amount of leads generated
- Wanting to free up internal resources to focus on big-picture projects
- Accessing top-of-the-line technology for CRM and customer support
- Providing quick and effective technical support that meets customer expectations
A BPO call center can provide superior customer support through flexible and scalable teams, efficient processes, access to top-of-the-line technology and omnichannel customer support. A BPO call center also frees up internal teams to work on bigger business projects.
If you need support with outbound calls and marketing—such as telemarketing, sales calls, market research, or lead generation—a BPO outbound call center can provide you the support you need.
Remember that delivering an excellent customer service experience not only helps create loyal, repeat customers but also gives you a competitive advantage over others in the market who are not providing this kind of experience.
The most effective way to deliver a consistent customer experience? Outsource your call center to customer support experts. With a BPO call center, you can ensure superior customer service every time, without sacrificing time and resources on other important business objectives.
BPO call center benefits
Your company may—rightly―feel that you know your own customers best. So, shouldn’t it make sense to keep customer communications and service in-house?
The truth is, there’s so much to consider when it comes to outsourcing your call center—and a BPO call center comes with a lot of benefits, such as:
- More cost-effective than hiring in-house
- Aids in simplified global customer support
- Opportunity to provide 24/7 customer support
- Provides access to the best technology and processes
- Offers flexibility and scalable teams
- Lightens internal loads
Let’s take a look at some of these BPO call center benefits in detail to help you determine if a BPO call center is right for your team.
BPO call centers are more effective
With a BPO call center, your customer service becomes a lot more cost-effective.
You don’t have to worry about overhead costs, expensive technology, hiring, renting space, or any of the other concerns that come along with hiring and maintaining an in-house team. From onboarding and learning management systems (LMS) to advanced technology and management processes for the team, to background checks and office space, outsourcing your call center is more cost-effective than having it in-house.
All of these costs will be included as part of a BPO service, allowing you not only to save money but also to predict your costs more accurately.
In addition, many businesses prefer to outsource their call centers to an offshore or nearshore location, further reducing costs.
BPO call centers are more efficient and effective
Cost-effectiveness certainly matters. But BPO call centers are also more efficient from a business perspective as well.
With a BPO call center, all of the hiring, training and management of the team is taken care of for you. Quality employees can be difficult to find—and developing training and management for all of them can be even more time-consuming. This is especially true if you need to hire and onboard a large team all at once, or if you need to support a large customer service team as part of a large global business.
With an outsourced call center, all of this is taken care of as part of your service package, leaving your internal team free to work on important business questions and processes like project management and product development.
Not to mention that BPO call centers give you access to experts in customer service, which often improves metrics and KPIs like CSTAT, handle time, first-contact resolution and so on.
BPO call centers provide flexibility and scalable teams
With so much changing across the customer journey today, flexibility is more important than ever.
Customers want to be able to contact your company across a variety of channels. Outsourcing an omnichannel contact center will help you reach your customers, wherever they are.
Global corporations want the ability to connect with customers across time zones, languages, and at scale, while still keeping costs down. A BPO call center can provide multilingual and even multinational agents to provide global and local support, 24/7.
Consumer products or retail brands may need to scale up or down customer support throughout the year, based on seasonality, new product launches, or other considerations. Outsourcing your call center gives you the flexibility to scale as needed throughout the year, or as your business grows.
BPO call centers also offer flexibility and scalability in aspects as basic as office space or technology. As your team grows or changes in response to your business needs and seasonality, you’ll also need to provide office space—or downscale your office space, as the case may be—and a BPO call center seamlessly takes care of this for your business.
BPO call centers provide access to high-quality technology
With so much necessary technology and systems out there for your business, accessing the best-of-the-best technology and systems can be expensive.
With a BPO call center, you’ll have access to the industry’s best technology—allowing you to optimize for important customer service KPIs and better understand customer data—without the expensive cost of financing it all yourself.
Even if you’re a well-established brand, outsourcing a team familiar with the best practices and processes within customer service allows your team to focus on doing what they do best, while outsourcing ongoing processes (like customer service) to the pros.
Working with a BPO call center gives you the technology and processes, along with the expertise. You can also leverage your partnership with the call center to learn from others in the portfolio and continue to optimize on best practices.
BPO call center cons
While outsourcing your call center is often convenient, cost-effective and provides more effective customer support, there’s a few limitations that you may want to keep in mind.
Outsourced call centers may need more training
BPO call centers, by nature, aren’t employees who are immediately familiar with your business.
As a result, there may be a higher level of company-specific training needed to get new call center agents up to speed with your company’s products, ways of doing customer service, customer needs, technical support and so on.
However, while this can be something to consider, keep in mind as well that call center agents are experienced at quickly getting up to speed with your business and company’s processes. This is what they’re trained to do! Plus, most BPO call centers have consistent internal processes and technology which make the training and onboarding process easier.
Security measures for outsourced call centers
Customer data and security are more important than ever.
Of course, while there are risks to handling customer data anywhere, whether in-house or outsourced, with an in-house call center, you have more control over (and responsibility for) any breeches. Outsourced call centers need to be carefully screened to ensure that they meet your business’ standards for security and data privacy.
If you want to outsource your call center but need to take ample precaution with customer data, look for a company that has decades of experience and high-quality processes for complying with data privacy and customer security requirements, like Global Response. At Global Response, we’re leaders in providing customer support for industries like healthcare, finance and banking that require high-quality security and privacy.
We are laser-focused on compliance and policy adherence, data privacy and client protection, so that we can ensure you always have your customer’s back—and we always have yours.
Communication and language barriers
For some industries, outsourcing a call center can present communication and fluency issues that can negatively impact your customer’s experience and satisfaction.
While this is something to consider, there’s also a number of ways to ensure that your call center agents connect with your audience as easily as possible. While offshore and nearshore call center models can present challenges for linguistic or cultural barriers, working with an onshore or homeshore BPO call center likely will eliminate any communication barriers.
Lack of internal brand knowledge and expertise
When a customer calls with a question about a product, a concern, or a complaint about a recent experience, they want to talk to a brand expert—and you want them to talk to someone who cares about your brand as much as they do.
Of course, outsourcing a call center means that the customer support agents your customers talk to aren’t actually employees of your company. As a result, many companies fear that there will be confusion across agents who don’t know as much as internal team members, leading to increased handle times, more customer frustration and fewer resolved concerns.
With Global Response, this is not a problem at all—we don’t like to think of our associates as “call center agents,” but instead as “brand specialists.” That’s because we train our employees to do more than just deliver an answer to a question over the phone—we’re training them to be specialists on your brand, who can deliver an on-brand experience every time.
We train each of our brand specialists on a specific brand (avoid the confusion of agents working across multiple companies!) and make sure they know and care about your brand almost as much as you do.
As a result? We make sure to deliver superior customer care, every time.
BPO vs KPO call centers
BPO and KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) call centers, while similar, have some major differences.
Both BPO and KPO call centers are types of outsourced call centers, which can free up valuable resources for your internal team and provide necessary support. Before we look at which is right for your business, let’s quickly understand the definition of both BPO and KPO call centers.
BPO (business process outsourcing) involves outsourcing the functions and/or processes of a call center to a third-party service or provider. BPO can also include other functions that may be outsourced, such as accounting, human resources and so on.
KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) involves outsourcing knowledge-intensive, high-level tasks and projects to an outside company, team or third-party provider. These tasks and projects are usually data-driven, require specific expertise and are outsourced with the intention of driving advanced business insights.
In short, BPO involves outsourcing a specific process, while KPO involves outsourcing work to generate ideas, objective judgments and decisions formed by expert knowledge.
KPO outsourcing might include things like:
- doing market research ahead of a new product launch
- writing and content development for a company blog
- getting legal advice for a new branch of your business
- performing business research and data analysis to develop strategic direction
BPO call centers, then, handle the functions, activities and processes of a call center to a third-party, while a KPO call center handles information, knowledge or data on behalf of a client company. KPO call centers can increase your access to professionals and field experts, as well as increase your business competitiveness.
When you think of a call center that can handle processes to answer customer calls and communications, that’s a BPO call center. If you need a high level of specialized expertise for high-level business development or market research, this is where a KPO call center can provide support.
How to select the right BPO call center company
BPO call centers can provide a long list of benefits for your company, offering support and relief for many current pain points. Keep in mind, though, that not all call centers are created equal. When it comes to choosing the right BPO call center for your company, there’s a few things you should keep in mind.
Quality is key.
Your customers expect a high level of customer service and you want to be able to deliver. When choosing a BPO call center company, it’s essential that you ensure their standards for quality and customer service align with your own.
Look at reviews from other customers and read white papers or case studies from your potential call center partner to see what kinds of results they’ve been able to deliver for other businesses (especially businesses within your sector or industry).
With Global Response, you get 40+ years of multi-industry experience and a call center that’s as unique as your brand. From omnichannel customer support to Tier 2 tech support, the experts at Global Response have decades of experience helping businesses of all sizes across automotive, consumer products, healthcare, banking and finance, retail and other industries improve customer experience and satisfaction.
2. Consider your needs and their services
Although it sounds obvious, too many businesses choose a call center prematurely, before they’ve fully considered their own pain points and current needs.
A BPO call center may offer a long list of services and capabilities—but are they the ones you need?
When considering the services that will be most important to your business, consider your current pain points within customer service, marketing, lead generation, customer communication, team structure and more.
Which of these problems do you need your call center to solve for you?
When in doubt, look for an experienced, customer-obsessed contact center that offers omnichannel contact center support and top-of-the-line technology and processes, such as Global Response. In addition, your BPO call center should be experienced with customer privacy and data compliance and provide options for flexibility and scalability, so they can easily grow with you and adapt to your needs.
3. Keep technology in mind
Gaining access to advanced technology to streamline customer communication and optimize internal processes is a major benefit of outsourcing your call center.
As a result, you’ll want to make sure whichever call center company you outsource to can actually provide the call center technology necessary to optimize processes and deliver on your key metrics. In addition, it’s important to ensure that their tech stack can integrate with your current capabilities and tools.
Some of the technological solutions you may want to look for in a BPO call center include:
- IVR (interactive voice response)
- automated outbound dialers
- omnichannel contact management
- cloud-based omnichannel contact solutions
- advanced data security
- robotic process automation
- WFM (workforce management) tools
- social media management platforms
- CRM software
- cloud computing services
Of course, not every business will need every technology available. You may not need all of these, or you may need others not listed here.
If you’re looking for a customer-obsessed BPO call center with advanced technology that can integrate to a wide number of platforms and systems, Global Response offers all of the services and technologies listed above (and more!). From cloud-based omnichannel contact management to advanced data security and WFM tools, Global Response can help take your customer experience to the next level.
4. Understand their reporting capabilities
Of course, having advanced technology and customer data management is most useful when you can have access to the learnings and outcomes.
Before selecting a BPO call center, make sure you understand what data, reporting and analytics they can provide to you to optimize growth and processes. Know which KPIs and metrics are most important to your business and goals, then find out which metrics and KPIs this call center tracks.
In addition, find out if your call center offers configurable reports and dashboards for you to use. It’s important to make sure your call center can easily track, analyze and implement learnings from the data around the metrics most important for your goals.
If you’re considering a BPO call center to supercharge your growth and scale up your customer support services, reach out to a customer service consultant at Global Response.