The role of BPO agents in exceptional customer experiences

4 ways advanced customer service agents deliver better customer experiences

By Tanya Clark, Ubiquity

For many of established companies, finding and choosing a business processing outsourcer (BPO) is a chore. Much of the market looks uninspiring and undifferentiated—competing in a race to the bottom instead of quality—offering only service agents that recite scripts to churn through as many calls as quickly as possible.

It’s accepted as a cost center instead of a value-creator. It works for them, but it doesn’t work great.

The picture’s much different when you’re a challenger. You’re trying to redefine what’s possible by carving out a new corner of your market (which tends to involve taking customers from those still in the status quo.)

You’re ambitious. You’re disruptive. And a traditional BPO can’t keep up with—let alone accelerate—your company’s trajectory because you’re not traditional.

So it stands to reason that you’d want your service agents—the people supporting the customers joining you on this adventure—to do things differently too.

Here are four signs a BPO’s service agents can support your ambitious brand through better customer experiences.

1. They’re human

Empathy fuels the most successful CX centers. And while the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t start that shift, it’s certainly cemented it as a permanent fixture among changing consumer expectations.

Brands that deliver in empathy in hard times earn loyal customers. Those that don’t place human interactions at the top of their priorities often pay with lower Customer Lifetime Value and tarnished reputations.

The difference between the two usually comes down to whether agents are enabled (or even allowed) to interact with customers outside the parameters of a script.

Scripts are an important CX tool—they offer quick answers to simple questions and can provide a logical pathway to resolution. It’s when they become a crutch for service agents that the human element is lost.

In more complex scenarios like payment disputes or handling emotionally charged conversations on behalf of a healthcare provider, empathy can’t be faked or recited.

Advanced customer service agents that combine efficiency and humanity create better customer experiences and keep customers on the journey with you.

 

Challenger brands run on dynamism and enthusiasm—on energy. And nothing creates energy like purpose. Advanced customer service agents believe in the company they represent. They care whether the business succeeds or fails. They have skin in the game.

2. They’re invested

Customer service centers are synonymous with high staff turnover—often viewed as stepping stones between the last thing and the next.

After all, how much job satisfaction is there to be had when you’re charged solely with lowering Average Handling Times and cycling through as many disputes as possible with minimal fuss?

Advanced BPO—CX that puts ambition and growth front and center—has a different mindset.

Because challenger brands run on dynamism and enthusiasm—on energy. And nothing creates energy like purpose. Advanced customer service agents believe in the company they represent. They care whether the business succeeds or fails. They have skin in the game.

That’s an attitude that manifests in the day-to-day: Agents go the extra mile to resolve customer problems, fix internal issues outside of the job description (more on that soon) and adopt the client’s world as their own (more on that even sooner).

When BPO providers ladder up those soft and hard improvements across their CX centers, customer experience management takes on a new dimension—energy.

3. They’re card-carrying industry geeks

As a challenger brand, you’re bringing a new take on an old way of working. A way of working that you, your investors and your customers believe can be done better. It takes a certain level of market understanding to make that kind of move.

The same thing applies to great service agents. Advanced customer service agents spend their days immersed in their customers’ world.

Just like empathy, industry knowledge can’t be faked. At the heart of improving call center results lies a genuine will to engage in and understand the nuances of the customer’s context. Because the more familiar your service agents are with the customer’s world, the more room they have to bring humanity to the interaction.

Training and management play a big part in this. How rigorous is the onboarding process? How often are agents given refresher courses? Do managers have the confidence to allow—even encourage—their teams to interact outside the confines of a script, safe in the knowledge their charges can assume the identity of a competent industry actor?

The answers will tell you a lot about how your BPO provider feels about your corner of the world—and whether they’re fit to represent your brand as part of it.

4. They’re relentless self-improvers

When advanced customer service agents are invested in the business they represent—and understand the nuances of the world they’re operating in—they develop an insatiable appetite for feedback. They don’t improve because they’re told to—they want to get better at their job.

And as we’ve seen, that doesn’t happen by itself.

But when it does happen, it creates a virtuous cycle of ruthless introspection and improved processes—all leading to better customer experiences and stronger customer satisfaction and retention.

Advanced BPO providers bake self-improvement into their CX offering. More than that, truly engaged service agents notice and address process holes in their own work and outside their area of responsibility.

Proactivity, energy and the will to do things better are the hallmarks of service agents that challenger brands can trust.

All of these traits can be claimed—it’s up to you to make sure your BPO provider can back it up.

If you want to learn more about how CX can support disruptive and ambitious challenger brands, we should talk.

Tanya Clark is the SVP, Human Resources at Ubiquity, where she spearheads all aspects of hiring, developing and rewarding top talent, including benefits and overall employee experience programs across the company’s global footprint. She has more than 25 years of multifaceted human resources expertise.