What to consider when evaluating a BPO partner

With 20+ years of experience within the BPO industry, we can certainly present the top aspects to focus on when evaluating a Contact Center or BPO partner.

One thing you need to do before going through a selection process is understand your own requirements and what you need to look for in partner. From experience, we have seen several different situations and for your company and brand to succeed, it is all about finding the right partner.

It is all about asking the right questions: How much will this BPO Company care about me? How important am I to their business? Right-paring is extremely important.

During our years working with big corporations, we’ve seen clients with 50-seat operations that partnered with $1B plus BPO organizations – While a small percentage of these situations work out, most of them struggle as the net importance of their business to the large BPO organization is really small and not significant on a spreadsheet – This makes it a difficult relationship for both and complicates the possibility to remain a priority client for the BPO Company.

The right fit and the right partner for a 50-seat operation would have been a Boutique Contact Center, and not a $1B plus BPO organization. Look for a BPO partner that values the financial contribution you make to their P&L – Otherwise, you may find you have lost the ability to get their attention and make changes that may be critical to your business.

Asking these questions will help you ensure that you are dealing with serious business player. Before settling for a contract, select those teams that are agile and flexible to adapt to your current requirements, who are also capable of scaling with your growing needs.

Below are the top items we suggest for your due diligence while searching and evaluating any potential BPO or Contact Center partner. From our perspective, these are the main items to consider:

  1. Proven Industry Experience
  2. Differentiator
  3. Employee Engagement: Right people, Right culture, Right employee experience.
  4. Approach to Performance
  5. Efficient & Effective Communication
  6. Tailored solutions: Infrastructure, Technology & Innovation
  7. Location & Pricing
  8. Potential Scalability or Limitations

Proven Industry Experience

The first item to focus on when evaluating a new BPO call center vendor is their proven track record in the industry.

Regardless of the time the company has been in business, focus your attention to their leadership team and their experience, as well as their expertise. This will give you a range of potential opportunities for your growth and partnership with them.

Remember, ask the right questions: How long have they (partners and leadership team) been in the industry? – Ask them to share their backgrounds. Ask what type of brands/clients have they partnered with in the past? What is or was the size of those accounts? – Get a good insight on what their strengths are, what they are capable of managing and what their strategy is.

Employee Engagement: Right people, Right culture, Right employee experience

As you probably already know, it is difficult to really get a good grip and ensure every single person joining your team has the skillset but you can maximize the probabilities to succeed if the right processes and culture are in place.

Nearshore talent fares better on this front because they are more understanding of cultural nuances of the Americas, however, they are not entirely without flaws. When hiring nearshore employees for your contact center requirements, make sure the agents are more culturally aware of your home base and possess neutral accents.

With that said, the ideal partner for you will share their entire employee experience with you, including their processes: Recruitment, selection, on-boarding, training, growth and skill development programs.  If they are truly a partner, they will look to co-create a full cultural immersion for all of the team involved with your program. From a culture standpoint, always look for alignment, transparency and accountability.

Approach to Performance

Focus on their structure, processes and a decent supervisor-to-agent ratios to make sure your customers will receive best-in-class customer experience.

In terms of ratios, our suggestion is to stay away from the 1:25 or 1:20 ratio, try to stay close to 1:10 or 1:15 ratios to ensure proper communication between supervisor and agent takes place, they will be providing a remarkable and “best-in-class” experience to your customers, they need to communicate and facilitate the information to resolve and prevent any customer dissatisfaction.

Also in terms of performance, understand that like any aspect of your partnership with a BPO or Contact center organization, performance is ultimately a co-creation and there is also co-responsibility.

Your responsibility when hiring and outsourcing is to provide proper training material, ensure there is a proper knowledge-transfer process to your BPO vendor. Once again, look for alignment, transparency and accountability.

Efficient & Effective Communication

Effective and efficient communication starts at the top. Ensure there is a clear and concise communication with the leadership team. Eventually you will be visiting their site, giving you a good opportunity to meet the rest of the management team with whom you will be interacting.

There has to be a mutual commitment to ensure communication from both teams will take place as often and frequently as needed to deliver the experience, the results and the goals set by your company.

Tailored Solutions: Infrastructure, Technology & Innovation

We all know and understand why the infrastructure, technology and innovation components are important. Fortunately with the pandemic, most BPO’s will possess the necessary infrastructure and cloud-based solutions and collaboration software platforms that are easily implemented.

Today, most of the BPO or contact center organizations potentially have the option for WFH (work-from-home) solutions and tailor-made solutions that can scale as needed.

Find out how they can provide a tailor-made solution for your company, your brand and your experience.

Location and Pricing

Ideally for any company in the United States, you probably want to explore onshore, nearshore and offshore solutions. The pricing for BPO services is in constant fluctuation, yet for nearshore solutions there is a sense of stability in this regard.

Now, part of your due diligence is also to identify the labor market strengths and opportunities. Make sure you know the size of the labor market, including education and unemployment rates) and what the recruitment strategies would look like in a particular location.

Ideal solutions for US companies are almost always Nearshore solutions, while you stay close to home you have access to services that can help you reduce cost, increase revenue and improve customer experience.

Potential Scalability and Limitations

As pointed on the previous item, look for the organization’s potential to scale according to your business needs. This will depend on the size of your company and your market share. Make sure your partner does have the range and potential to support your growth.

At Kairos Connect

At Kairos Connect, we are focused on providing a “best-in-class” experience for you and your customers through our wide range of solutions that include:

  • BPO services: Customer Experience, Technical Support, Sales, Collections and Back Office.
  • Hosted Services: State-of-the-art facilities with all of the infrastructure required to launch your business on an expedited timeline.
  • Consultancy Services: a hybrid model of the BPO and hosted services solution.

We look forward to hear from you, soon.

Author: Anthony Williams – Managing Partner at KAIROS Connect Team

Kairos: A time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action; the opportune and decisive moment in which something special happens.

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Kairos Meaning

“A time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action the opportune and decisive moment in which something special happens”