By Sagar Rajgopal, Ubiquity
Finding the right business process outsourcing (BPO) partner can be tricky when there are hundreds of carbon copy providers offering essentially the same thing.
As a disruptor and innovator, you need a BPO that differentiates on more than just price and a list of run-of-the-mill services.
You need a partner that can help drive exceptional customer experience (CX) that sends customer satisfaction through the roof.
Every small decision you make is business critical and every bit of budget you spend has got to work—not just in service of abstract KPIs, but in the moments that really matter for customers.
You’re looking for quality. You need someone that gets the minutiae of every touchpoint in the customer journey. They have to be uncompromising detail freaks that go the extra mile.
You want a partner you can rely on. When things are flying, they’re the wind beneath your wings. And when things go wrong, they’re putting out fires before you have to ask.
What’s more, they know how to turn negative experiences into opportunities that drive brand loyalty and customer lifetime value (CLV).
A partner with skin in the game
You need to trust your partner to care for your business as if it were their own.
You need a partnership of equals. A partner as invested in your long-term growth as you are.
A partner that naturally aligns on the key drivers and performance metrics that will deliver the best outcomes.
A partner that knows your success is their success.
But in an oversaturated market, just how in the hell do you find those guys?
Knowing whether your prospective BPO is right for you isn’t always easy. But like all relationships, it begins with trust.
Here, we investigate the telltale signs that mark out an advanced BPO partner from the herd.
1. Transparency is telling
When so many companies over promise and under deliver, finding BPO customer service that’s honest is more than refreshing—it’s vital.
If you’re going to give them the reins on key areas of your business, you need to know you can trust them.
Converse to the norm of self-aggrandizing marketing, humans are actually more likely to trust someone when they’re upfront about their shortcomings.
So, your ideal BPO will be open about what they can and can’t do, and they’ll work with you to understand your core business and your needs.
Of course, you’ll be able to hold them to account when they’re acting on your behalf.
But they’ll also share learning opportunities as willingly as they do successes, flagging areas with potential to run smoother and better.
2. Culture says it all
You can tell a lot about an organization by their culture.
A culture that fosters employee satisfaction is more likely to deliver on their promises. That’s because when employees are happy and engaged, they’re committed to the company’s overall vision and success.
So if you’re paying your prospective BPO a visit (in person or virtually) … read the room.
Does it feel like a place that churns and burns through employees? Are stats and performance metrics prioritized at all costs?
Are agents having conversations with colleagues and team leaders? Are there coaching sessions taking place?
Notice whether they have breakout rooms for downtime or a cafeteria for lunch. These amenities might not seem like much, but they are indicators of whether a BPO takes agent experience seriously.
3. Custom-built to your unique business challenges
As a challenger brand, you’re dealing with unique business challenges as you try to zero in on your corner of the market.
Because you’re doing things differently, transactional outsourcing that prioritizes cost-cutting, short-term gains and quick fixes won’t cut it.
You need a BPO that helps you seize growth opportunities, someone that uses both good and bad experiences to accelerate your CX.
An advanced BPO partner will have a customer base that reflects demanding challenger businesses like yours with unique, complex use cases.
After all, you need a partner who understands your world.
They’ll be a strategic player that delivers crucial customer insights through data. They’re evangelical on CX; they understand its complexity and its value.
Their agents handle complex calls with care, show compassion and aren’t parroting from scripts.
Through it all, they’ll take the complexity out of CX—making it simple for you and your customers.
4. Metrics beyond performance
Most BPO partners will follow metrics like CSAT and handle time to measure performance. But these only tell part of the story.
When your business is built on making waves, you need a deeper view. Your BPO partner is your customers’ front-line contact, so the experience delivered is critical to your brand and bottom line.
A great BPO customer experience provider has a high level of visibility in their call center. And staff and agents take the time to learn from and integrate metrics into their practices in a meaningful way.
They’ll be thinking from the perspective of your business.
Metrics like cost per cardholder will matter to them because it depends on multiple aspects like repeat calls, IVR, how good your analytics are and how to prevent the need for calls or chats in the first place.
Quality will matter just as much—and the best outsourcers push a constant feedback loop to drive actionable analytics and reporting to keep the following metrics high:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) might seem obvious, but it’s a key indicator of a customer’s satisfaction. Your BPO should work to drive this up.
- Call quality based on your specific parameters can be measured by the score a call receives by managers and team leaders. They’ll work to keep scores consistently high, and agents who receive lower scores will get additional coaching and support.
- First contact resolution shows the total percentage of calls/chats/emails that are resolved first time round. Your BPO should not only work to keep this high but should be delivering reporting on the key drivers that are affecting that number and provide process or operational recommendations to increase it further.
It’ll never be static. As your business evolves, they’ll be thinking about how to hone and refine performance as you grow together.
Which leads us to the next point.
5. It’s more than a partnership, it’s a relationship.
Great relationships are built on foundations of trust, camaraderie, understanding and mutual values.
That last part is especially important for your BPO partner. Because if they’re right for your challenger brand, they’ll work with you to define what good looks like for you.
Together, you’ll define what those shared values are, and your BPO partner will have the infrastructure to scale and deliver on your terms.
They’ll take a proactive approach in helping you solve the most difficult customer problems, optimize processes for long-term success, and reach crucial business goals.
We’ve named this approach. We call it Return on Outsourcing. And it lies at the heart of exceptional customer experiences.
If you want to learn more about Ubiquity’s unique approach to the toughest business challenges and customer friction points, download our eBook, “Return on Outsourcing: How Challenger Brands Get More from BPO”.
Sagar Rajgopal is a co-founder and chief operating officer at Ubiquity, where he works with clients to ensure that Ubiquity serves as a strategic partner that goes well beyond delivering KPIs.