The concept of business process outsourcing (BPO) is well-established, but it can still be scary to entrust your customers to someone else. And there’s a good reason: CX is a core differentiator for brands today, and, done poorly, it’s one of the fastest ways to stain your reputation.
You’ll find no shortage of BPOs who say they can help you. But there’s a sea of white noise and empty promises, often due to a race to offer marginally passable services at the lowest price. That makes choosing a provider that’s truly right for you hard. And as the internal CX stakeholder, you carry the risk when you choose your next outsourcer. And if you’re a scaleup, the risk to your burgeoning brand is even more fraught.
You may be looking for your first BPO partner, or you might have been burned by an ill-fitting outsourcer that answered the phone but offered little else. Both are reasons to approach your next engagement with caution. So what are the common questions and fears, and how can you mitigate them?
Change, no matter how well-intentioned, thought out, or beneficial, brings resistance. If you’re the CX lead, you need to bring your team along with you when stepping into a BPO engagement. That’s tough when you’ve personally nurtured your customers to where they are now—releasing their care to a separate entity can feel unnatural (and threatening). Common social-based fears include:
- “People will question how an outsourcer can care for our customers more than we do.”
- “People will fear they’re being replaced. How do I engage them and demonstrate their value to the process?”
First impressions matter. And while it’s almost impossible to fully remove the pangs of anxiety people feel when large-scale change is afoot, you can drastically reduce them by getting out ahead of them. This is about making people into process owners—immediately.
At the same time, you can acknowledge that you’re changing your approach to a key piece of your business—but also show that your BPO is an extension of your business. Have your account manager take a consultative approach and (if they’re worth their salt, they should do this anyway) involve the team so the opinions and insights from all sides can feed into the solution design.
If you show your team and the wider business that your partnership’s success thrives when supplemented with their input, you’ll keep them engaged.
New partnerships often mean combining new systems and processes, as well as new relationships. A common response to this might sound like …
- “We’re going to have to get used to lots of unfamiliar processes. People won’t adapt properly, or will just reject them.”
By integrating your internal technical team with your BPO early, you can offset a lot of the technical aggravation and fallout that comes from a rushed and disjointed implementation process.
A truly integrated BPO will work with you to understand the nuts and bolts of your business quickly, and bake in processes and controls that bring user experience to the fore, while enabling you to achieve (or exceed) your goals.
Discovery is critical for both parties to unearth hidden obstacles—both current and future. If your prospective BPO isn’t asking you a lot of questions and just says yes to everything you ask—run.
Your onboarding and implementation should flex to your operational needs and be comprehensive, while causing minimal disruption. You also need a cohesive process that moves from sales to solution design to production seamlessly with an account manager, who takes you through every step of the implementation process into launch and beyond, advocating for what’s best for you at every turn.
BPO carries risk by nature—your hard-won customers are now in the hands of a third-party. The success of that transferral of responsibility relies on your relationship with your BPO partner and their ability to execute. It’s not surprising that gives rise to fears such as:
- “If this is the wrong fit, our customers will suffer—and so will our reputation and bottom line.”
All true. But get this right, and you’ll be entrusting your customers to CX professionals who can deliver big rewards. Especially if your BPO partner can scale up and down with you.
Look for a BPO partner with a CX-first approach and then get specific about how you’ll keep your relationship on track. That means agreeing on clear KPIs that you can hold each other accountable to.
You also need to look at their relationship with their agents. As far as your customers are concerned, these agents are the face of your business. You need to trust that your BPO partner’s agents have industry experience and are given the autonomy to proactively solve problems and improve internal processes. That’s how you create a virtuous circle of stronger engagement, better performance, and clear KPIs to show your leadership team.
These are just some of the key concerns facing prospective outsourcers. The good news is this: The better you understand a BPO’s process, the more informed your decision-making, and the easier your transition to outsourced CX will be.
We’re not shy about how we work with scaleups: Dive deeper into our process here to see how we help people like you take their CX to the next level with confidence.
Want to learn more about our approach?