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Finding and choosing the right BPO partner

What you need to know before choosing the bestBPO partner to outsource your business operations, in challenging times like today

  • The Covid 19 pandemic and the business worlds ‘tipping point
  • Choosing a CX BPO Partner: The checklist

So you already know all the pros and cons of outsourcing, and you’ve decided it’s time to outsource some services.
Great! But still, how do you decide on the best BPO to outsource your operations to? How do you know what to look for in a partner and things you need to pay attention to? Luckily, this article covers it all. All the important bits and pieces are tied up together so you’ll be able to choose the best and most trustworthy partner (especially at a time as challenging as now).

The Covid 19 pandemic and the business worlds ‘tipping point’

Both 2020 and 2021 have been challenging for so many businesses, big and small. The many lockdowns and country-wide shut-downs have pushed some companies to pursue the work from home principle, while others have turned to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) as a solution for continuing some of the business operations.
The solutions haven’t been easy: both are challenging and require a lot of organizational and people management skills to implement the work-from-home principle, or with the case of BPOs, a lot of knowledge about the services and practices offered from the vast number of companies on the market. So, in order to choose the best BPO partner, companies have to review and sift through hundreds of BPOs out there, so they can find their perfect solution that fits the business needs. And more often than not, companies do not have such a selective experience nor the resources to support such a thorough selection process. So that process, in many cases, turns out to be an inconvenient hassle and does not result in selecting the best possible BPO partner.

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Choosing a CX BPO Partner: The checklist

10 items to tick off before choosing a BPO partner

Working with a BPO for the company means making the most cost-effective deal, negotiating and conducting a solid contract, planning the scope of work, planning the knowledge transfer and training, implementing specific technology solutions, and finally starting the business cooperation. It’s quite a lot before even starting all the work.
Therefore, before committing to a BPO partner, there are numerous things a company looking for a BPO partner should know and check. If you are in search of the best BPO partner, here is the complete list:

[Business Process Outsourcing: examples]

1. Be aware of the services you want to outsource and look for partners offering and have deep experience with those precise services.

There are hundreds if not thousands of BPO companies offering all sorts of services. Look only for the ones that suit your business needs and that will help achieve your business goals. Otherwise, you’ll get lost in the large BPO ocean, and you might end up with a partner not quite set up or experienced for your business. If you need Digital or Tech support, it would make sense to look for BPO vendors with experience in supporting other software clients or that also provide software development services. Or suppose you need to outsource Software Development or Customer Support and Care. In that case, you should look up BPO companies who specialize in these services, but you must look for companies that are not only experienced in Omni-Channel but also have experience in helping other companies transition to digital support.

2. Be aware of your overall business goals and prepare a clear and detailed scope of work

It’s important to know your overall business goals and a potential way to reach them. Start by identifying the problem you have that you need to solve. Also very important and rather helpful is to have a clear road-map for solving the problem and reaching your goals. No one knows your business as well as you do, and once you identify the problem, a potential solution, and the exact services you need outsourced, the search gets much, much easier. And along with that, the overall results will be faster and better, especially if you are extra specific about what you want to get and achieve together with your potential BPO partner. A good and experienced BPO can also work with you on designing the right solution to solve the business problem.

3. Be savvy about choosing the right outsourcing partner

It’s absolutely easiest to look and identify the “biggest players” on the market and pick one of those, but you have to be aware that there are numerous smaller BPO companies that might be a better fit for your needs. Be knowledgeable about the industry, about the market, dig just a bit deeper, and you will be surprised how many smaller BPO partners you might find that can be a better fit for your business.

4. Be thorough, categorize and cross-reference

Make your list based on the BPO size, geographic location, channel availability and capability, responsiveness, experience, number of employees, clients worked with, and overall client-to-client relationships – those relationships are the most critical pillar to look for. Once you have all the “pros and cons,” you will be able to make the right and informative decision – or at least you’ll get closer to getting one.

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5. Be aware of the costs and make the most cost-effective deal.

Before committing to a BPO partner, you need to estimate how much money you are willing to invest in outsourcing the required services. It’s essential to be aware even if you have a bigger budget, be respectful and cost-effective (this is yet another thing that the pandemic taught us). This, however, doesn’t mean you need to cut corners or even worse, compromise on the quality.
On the contrary, once you know the precise services you need outsourced, as well as the BPO players out there, you’ll be able to negotiate your deal and make the best out of what is offered. However, make sure to clearly communicate the budget you have and expectations along with that budget. Also, it is pretty important to have in mind that often when comparing costs of a BPO to your in-house optional costs, you forget to add many costs to the analysis. For example, it’s not just the costs of the employees. You need to factor in all the overhead costs, i.e., rent, utilities, etc., and the costs for support from other internal departments. This is another reason why the BPO will be able to provide a very cost-effective solution in most cases.

6. Be focused on finding a customer-centric company.

Understanding customer behavior and improving customer experience at each stage of the customer journey is crucial for every business. You need to partner with a BPO company that will understand your customers’ behavior, know how customers interact with your brand, and how they make their purchase decision. And because your customers are the ones who choose where, how, when, how often, and in what manner they will interact with you, you need a partner who will respond adequately, that will be present and interact at any given time and grab customers queries and have their questions answered, seamlessly.

7. Be encouraged by technology embracing BPO companies.

The technical expertise and access to the latest technology is one of the crucial elements you should be looking for in your next BPO partner. Many businesses overlook technical expertise, but you should never ever choose a BPO partner who has limited tech experience or is experienced in limited technologies. Usually, the quality of the outsourced services is higher if the BPO company has expertise in more customer engagement technologies.

8. Be vigilant and look for GDPR compliant companies.

And we cannot stress this enough, especially if you’re in the SaaS industry or work with customer data. Your potential BPO partner has to have a deep understanding of the data being collected and how it will be managed and can ensure it is protected.

9. Be flexible and choose a partner who will be as flexible as you are.

Flexibility is vital on both ends, however, it’s a bit more critical on your potential BPO partner’s end. They have to be aware that you might have some urgent requirements or that sometimes some really urgent problem or issue will arise. Your flexibility matters, but theirs is crucial. Especially if your time zones are different. You need to rely on their urgency and support at any given time, so be sure to state this loud and clear in the selection process.

10. Sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect your intellectual data.

It’s the digital era, where the most valuable asset is the data. So be sure to protect yours. When outsourcing, you will have to share sensitive information with your partner along the way, so you need to be 100% sure that the privacy and data security of your business is very well protected. If sensitive information is mismanaged or not handled properly, all of your data can be mishandled as well. Apart from signing the nondisclosure agreement, you also need to make sure that the partner you choose will have the highest level of security, that does frequent security audits and that is using specific tools for protecting your sensitive data

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Congratulations, you have now chosen a BPO partner to work with, however, here are just two more items you need to check in your list to make sure you have the best and long-lasting relationship with your chosen partner.

1. Choose the team you want to work for you.

After all, you need to hire the best people with the best skill set to do the work for you. Ask to have short interviews with the team members. This will help you learn their hard and soft skills, and you’ll get a chance to get to know them better. This can really help you understand if that is the right team you are looking for or not. And you want only the best, right?

2. Don’t be a control freak.

You’ve chosen to use an outsourcing partner, and you have to trust them and not control all their work all the time. That’s why you didn’t build an in-house team, after all. Keep in mind that dedicated teams from your BPO partner have all the required experience and a lot of ready-to-go solutions that will help you achieve your goals.

In the end, there is a BPO partner that is a good fit for every business. Finding one just needs setting up goals, road-map, asking the right questions, transparent, clear and flexible communication, and trusting each other’sexperience and skillset.