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A successful business process outsourcing (BPO) endeavor requires more than just partnering with a provider. Integrating and managing services and teams is key to achieving desired outcomes and enjoying outsourcing’s many benefits.
Enterprises in the Wind City are no exception. In the area’s dynamic and competitive corporate landscape, companies looking to outsource need qualified leadership to manage third-party teams effectively while tipping their Chicago businesses toward growth.
If you want to learn how to successfully partner with a Chicago BPO company, this article is for you. It explores the crucial steps to mastering the practice of outsourcing.
A Look at Outsourcing and Why Chicago Businesses Should Consider It
Before we explore the strategies for effective outsourcing leadership, let us first answer the question: What is BPO? This practice involves delegating non-core, standard tasks to a third-party service provider. It allows companies in the city to gain specialized expertise and talent, scale operations, and focus on core competencies while reducing costs.
These benefits are valuable for Chicago businesses, especially considering the area’s corporate landscape. The Windy City has been the top metro for enterprises for ten consecutive years. It is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Boeing, United Parcel Services (UPS), and Exelon, and offers a business-friendly environment for corporations of all industries.
Such conditions make staying ahead of the competition challenging. Local businesses must find ways to optimize operations and improve customer relations without damaging their financial health.
Outsourcing has secured a leadership position among the possible strategies for scaling. It helps tip the odds in favor of those who practice it in the Chicago business scene. According to Grand View Research, the global BPO market value reached $261.9 billion in 2022 and will grow by 9.4% by 2030.
But how exactly? Let us discuss each benefit of outsourcing in detail.
1. Access to Expertise
Finding qualified labor in the local market may be difficult due to the city’s high worker demand. With a considerably low unemployment rate and surging job gain rate, businesses risk hiring under qualified talent, breaking the bank, or going understaffed.
Fortunately, partnering with a BPO provider lets you tap into a global pool of specialized experts in various business functions. Third-party professionals study and master the products and services of their assigned clients and can be hired on an as-needed basis.
Most service vendors have readily available professionals for specific tasks such as:
- Customer service
- Information technology (IT)
- Human resources (HR)
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Content creation and management
BPO workers are trained in industry best practices, trends, policies, and regulations. They are equipped with essential skills, including problem-solving, organization, time management, communication, and attention to detail.
2. Leverage of Technology
Outsourcing providers typically use the latest tools, BPO trends, and predictions to help internal leadership tip your Chicago business toward success. The technologies service vendors leverage depend on their specialties but often include the following:
- Artificial intelligence (AI). This technology automates repetitive tasks, whether simple or complex. A study submitted to the National Bureau of Economic Research claims that AI can increase productivity by 14%.
- Cloud computing. Immediate real-time access to essential files, data, and systems is crucial to daily business operations. Cloud technology lets you and your team access data if your devices are connected to the Internet, allowing you to work from anywhere.
- Blockchain. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology used to create a protected and transparent record of transactions. Outsourcing providers use it to track the movement of goods and assets, manage identity verification, and secure financial affairs.
3. Scalability and Flexibility
With readily available BPO teams and automated technologies, businesses can quickly scale operations up or down as needed. This flexibility helps prevent over- and understaffing, which could lead to more costs.
In addition, outsourcing empowers you to expand the scope of your services and operations through:
- 24/7 availability. Here’s a quick outsourcing and leadership tip: learn how to leverage different time zones to ensure round-the-clock operations for your Chicago business. Operating beyond regular business hours promptly identifies and resolves internal issues and customer concerns.
- Multilingual services. Working with a BPO provider that operates in a region that speaks two or more languages offers a multilingual team. This feature is helpful for tasks impacting customer experiences and market reach.
- Global insights. Outsourcing firms have a vast network of resources and expertise worldwide, allowing them to provide insight based on your needs. This access enables you to adapt your products and services to changing demands.
4. Operating Cost Reductions
Strategic outsourcing lets you enjoy all the above mentioned benefits without incurring additional costs. Working with a BPO team instead of an in-house unit reduces costs more due to several factors, including:
- Lower labor expenses. Outsourcing to countries with lower living expenses and wage ranges allows you to save on salaries. For example, businesses that outsource to the Philippines cut labor costs by 70% to 90%.
- Minimized overhead costs. Employing a virtual team entails digital work. Such arrangements reduce the need for extra office space and rent, which could be expensive in Chicago. You will also not have to worry about equipment and utilities.
- Fewer technological investments. As mentioned, BPO firms leverage the latest tools and software. Partnering with a provider with the necessary technologies helps prevent costly purchases, subscriptions, and loans.
5. Focus on Core Competencies
Delegating and adequately managing the right tasks to BPO teams gives you more time for critical activities. Whether developing products, improving customer experiences, or advertising, outsourcing allows you to reallocate resources to core matters.
You can also attend to other pursuits crucial for sustainable growth, such as partnerships and mergers. This new focus is the key to establishing a more solid brand presence and scaling through the competitive Chicago business landscape.
Ensuring a Successful Outsourcing Initiative via Effective Leadership
Managing outsourcing teams can be challenging, requiring assigned leaders’ unique skills and qualities to tip their Chicago business’s initiative toward success. Some attributes they must possess are:
- Effective communication
- Relationship building
- Critical thinking
- Cultural sensitivity
- Performance management
- Technological knowledge
- Problem-solving and conflict resolution
- Adaptability and agility
However, to maximize the benefits of outsourcing and optimize operations, company leaders must ensure adequate supervision from start to finish. Below are three crucial steps to successfully integrating and managing BPO strategies and teams.
1. Identify the Right Tasks to Outsource
Knowing which functions to delegate is critical for a cost-effective outsourcing endeavor. It is the first step to attaining the following benefits:
- Enhanced efficiency and productivity
- Improved employee performance and engagement
- Optimized costs and profitability
- Increased scalability and flexibility
But how do you know which functions are better outsourced than done in-house? Below is a list of factors you should consider when deciding what tasks to subcontract.
- Business goals. Outsourcing should not be done in isolation; company leadership must see it as the tip of a broader strategic plan for their Chicago business. Determine what you want to achieve by partnering with a BPO company. Prioritize the tasks that align with your overall direction and impact your endeavors for long-term success.
- Time constraints. When listing potential tasks for outsourcing, keep in mind the time it takes to accomplish them. Time constraints often play a significant role in project management. By outsourcing tasks prone to delays or bottlenecks, you can increase your chances of meeting project deadlines and accomplishing objectives on time.
- Resource requirements. Evaluate whether the tasks you plan to outsource require specialized skills or expertise your in-house team may not possess. This step is crucial, especially considering the city’s tight labor market. At the same time, think about which tools and software you need to accomplish specific tasks.
- Cost considerations. Analyze the expenses of completing tasks internally versus delegating them to a BPO provider. Consider factors such as labor costs, overhead expenses, and the potential returns of outsourcing. This cost-benefit analysis helps you better plan which tasks are more practical to subcontract.
- Scalability needs. If you experience constant peaks and valleys in transaction volumes, you should consider outsourcing the tasks most impacted by these fluctuations. By outsourcing such functions, you optimize resource allocation and reduce costs.
2. Establish Consistent Communication Strategies
Effective communication is the backbone of outsourcing. It fosters collaboration, transparency, and trust, aligning goals and visions.
You must ensure consistent and clear communication strategies with your BPO provider despite geographical differences. They enable you to work seamlessly with outsourcing teams, allowing company leadership to provide tips for operating their Chicago business.
Here are some steps to establish efficient and transparent communication strategies with your BPO staff:
- Define channels and frequencies. Dedicate what project management platform, video conferencing tool, and instant messaging software you want to communicate through. Set schedules for regular team meetings, one-on-one check-ins, and status updates.
- Assign roles and responsibilities. Designate points of contact (POCs) and other communication duties among team members and heads to avoid confusion. Specify who will provide updates, address concerns, and escalate issues.
- Standardize formats and templates. Consistency in communication formats for all business reports ensures clear and concise messages. It facilitates easy understanding and streamlines the information exchange process.
- Leverage technology. Establish efficient and accessible communication channels through tools, software, and infrastructure. This step facilitates real-time and synchronized data sharing and collaboration across different time zones and locations.
- Promote cultural sensitivity and adaptability. Avoid making assumptions based on stereotypes, and foster an inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable. This cultural sensitivity prevents misunderstandings and promotes respectful interactions.
3. Proactively Manage and Coach BPO Teams
Partnering with a BPO provider does not end with delegating tasks. Your outsourcing engagement must have clear internal leadership to oversee its processes and guide teams. This team can help tip third-party workers to align with your Chicago business.
Effective BPO team management is the key to mastering the practice of outsourcing. This step allows you to enhance workers’ performance, strengthen relationships, and mitigate risks. It also helps drive continuous improvement and retain top talent.
Here are some crucial steps for proactively supervising your external team:
- Specify expectations and performance metrics. Clearly define the scope of work, deliverables, and timelines in your service-level agreement (SLA). You must also indicate key performance metrics (KPIs) that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
- Monitor and provide feedback regularly. Regularly track your BPO teams’ performance to ensure they meet your requirements and stay aligned with your goals. Do not be afraid to give positive and constructive feedback to help them improve.
- Provide ongoing training and development. Identify individual and team strengths and weaknesses, then offer training and career growth opportunities. Invest in product and service training, mentorship opportunities, and skill development programs.
- Address conflicts and misunderstandings promptly. Team disputes could escalate to severe issues affecting employee morale and performance. Immediately resolve conflicts by mediating them fairly and encouraging open communication.
- Recognize and reward achievements. When team members feel valued and appreciated, they are more engaged and motivated. This significantly boosts productivity. Celebrate big and small wins and accomplishments by providing positive reinforcement.
The Bottom Line
Chicago’s competitive business landscape has made outsourcing widespread among local companies. The practice offers many benefits, including better access to qualified labor and technologies, improved scalability and flexibility, greater focus on core activities, and reduced costs.
However, assigning tasks to BPO teams is not enough. Effective leadership is the key to maximizing outsourcing’s advantages and standing out from the competition. By delegating suitable functions, communicating regularly, and proactively managing teams, businesses can master the practice of outsourcing.
Let’s connect for more outsourcing and leadership tips to help your Chicago business grow.