Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) providers are there to supply services that companies don’t want to manage in-house. In wider terms, this could mean anything from HR and facilities management to IT consultancy and digital marketing. However, when it comes to call centres, the processes involved naturally revolve around inbound and outbound calling services, plus related tasks such as database management and campaign coordination.
So how exactly do businesses use outsourced call centres? The answer is ‘in a wealth of different ways’, but here are some of the more common examples.
- Customer service – dealing with enquiries, account management requests and complaints.
- Sales – explaining products and services, processing orders and taking bookings.
- Technical support – desktop support for IT problems or information and advice on how to use a product or service.
- Helplines – typically used by charities to enable people to discuss or report issues and problems.
- Out of hours or overflow call handling – providing extra resource ‘on tap’ when the client’s own contact centre is closed or under pressure.
- Virtual Receptionist – the BPO provider will answer calls and direct them to the appropriate department, or take messages, on the client’s behalf.
- Sales – call types range from cold calling to win-back or retention calls for customers who’ve closed their accounts.
- Lead generation – using a targeted database, agents will seek to arrange sales appointments or discovery calls on the client’s behalf.
- Welcome or follow-up calls – courtesy calls to new customers which may be used to present opportunities for cross-sales.
- Market research – gathering information to inform the client on knowledge levels, trends and preferences within their industry.
- Surveys – customer satisfaction surveys or generic surveys about a particular topic that’s relevant to both client and customer.
The benefits of outsourcing
Working with a BPO offers a range of advantages. These include:
- Saving time, money and resources. Setting up a contact centre takes time, effort and money. As well as investing in premises, equipment and technology, companies will need to recruit, hire and incentivise agents and manage campaigns in-house. A BPO provider takes all these issues away.
- Cheaper labour and running costs. Some BPO providers operate call centres overseas where costs are considerably lower than in the UK. Clients will also avoid the staffing issues and expenses associated with holidays, sickness and attrition.
- Enhanced customer service standards. In the past, some outsourced call centres were associated with problems such as poor agent language skills and low service standards. However, quality levels are much higher these days, with BPO call centre agents typically receiving extensive and ongoing training in customer care. This means that service standards within the client’s organisation could well improve – along with customer satisfaction levels and the company’s reputation.
- Flexible services. As noted above, BPO call centres can be used in different ways, such as supplementing in-house contact centres at busy times or simply to answer and direct calls so an in-house reception team isn’t required. The nature and structure of inbound and outbound calling campaigns can also be tailored to the client’s exact requirements.
- Retaining control. Whilst some or all call centre management tasks will be outsourced, the client still retains overall control. A good BPO service will provide regular analytics and MI reports on overall and campaign performance, and give the client access to call recordings so they can monitor quality standards or investigate issues where required.
- Facilitating compliance. The introduction of GDPR in May 2018 has placed additional compliance requirements on call centres and changed the way that BPO providers need to operate. Whilst the client is still the official Data Controller, a compliant BPO will have data management processes, systems and software in place that remove the need for the client to invest in these themselves. In addition, outsourced call centres can help clients meet industry-specific compliance requirements. For example, the FCA requires loan providers to make follow-up calls to new customers to check their eligibility to borrow, which may not be viable to do in-house.
Looking for a BPO provider? KSL Connect can help.
KSL Connect provides state of the art call centre technology and industry-leading technical support to BPO providers all over the world. The company’s expert team also works directly with clients who have their own BPO provider in place or are looking to find one. For more information, contact KSL Connect today to discuss your requirements.