Written by Patrick Brown
The dawn of a new age in technology witnessed the rise of smart contact centers that combine traditional outsourcing with the latest developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Smart outsourcing providers offer innovative solutions beyond the usual benefits of outsourcing.
The advent of AI in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry potentially drives the sector to greater heights. Learn how businesses can ethically and effectively use AI and BPO for success.
Can Businesses Ethically Use AI and Outsourcing?
Yes, using AI and BPO ethically is possible. The ethical use of AI-powered BPO should be standard practice. Ethically, the best way to use AI and outsourcing is to partner with vendors who respect contract agreements with clients and treat workers fairly.
Outsourcing and AI become unethical only when they involve selfish interests. The BPO sector has many service providers who practice outsourcing ethically, enabling both the provider and the client to benefit from the strategy without exploitation.
Identify the ethical vs. unethical use of AI and outsourcing using the following criteria:
- Unhealthy or hazardous work conditions. Outsourced work should not put the life and health of workers to harm. BPO vendors must create a safe working environment for their employees.
- Uncompensated work. This happens when a BPO company tries to get free work in the guise of an unpaid assessment or test. Ideally, all services rendered must be paid.
- Unequitable work compensations. BPO services are cheaper because the cost of living in offshore countries is lower. However, unethical providers might still employ workers who are underpaid and overworked. Ethical AI and BPO providers pay workers above-average salaries, letting them live comfortably.
- Legal problems. Outsourcing transactions must come with contracts. BPO contracts should protect all parties involved to mediate disagreements.
The global AI market is projected to grow at a 23% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). With more and more businesses engaging in AI and BPO, ethical practices are predicted to be a vital component of doing business.
Ways To Correctly Use AI and Outsourcing for Your Business
Integrating AI, ML, and natural language processing (NLP) technologies into BPO solutions revolutionized outsourced services, particularly traditional call centers. AI utilizes ML neural networks programmed to think, compute, adapt, and learn like humans to generate more accurate insights.
The different types of AI, from speech recognition to interactive voice response (IVR) software and virtual assistants, have significantly decreased wait time, resulting in an improved customer experience. Nearly 60% of customers feel that a long wait time is the most frustrating part of a service experience.
Below are ways to ethically leverage business innovations such as AI and smart BPO for success.
Start With Awareness and Education
Using AI and BPO for the wrong reasons is always possible, so companies must identify the right purpose for leveraging these tools and ways to remain within ethical boundaries.
Communicate clearly with internal and external teams what these technologies can do and their drawbacks. Everyone in the organization must understand what AI is for, how it should be used, and what the BPO ethical challenge is.
Organizations must be transparent and open (both internally and externally) about how they leverage AI and outsourcing. End users should be able to trust the companies they do business with; that means complete transparency about how outsourcing and AI fit into their strategy and how it affects customers.
Looking at the past Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook received a major backlash for its lack of transparency about its use of AI and data collection. A well-established AI communication strategy could have mitigated the problem before it even occurred.
Organizations should ensure that the data generated by outsourcing firms or AI technologies is not biased. Ensuring non-biased algorithms and data sets is an opportunity to use business innovations ethically and a way to combat gender and racial biases to a greater extent.
Let us take Google as an example. In 2009, they created a large database of facial images called ImageNet, which included far more Caucasian faces than people of color. When they trained AI networks to use the data, it worked better on white faces than non-white ones.
Use AI for Simple Automation
One of the best uses for AI and outsourced services is to free up time for more creative endeavors. In the business world, countless tasks are tedious and menial; machines should complete them.
Repetitive work should be automated so that humans can focus on tasks requiring more attention.
What To Avoid When Using AI and BPO for Your Business
BPO trends and predictions show that outsourcing and AI are here to stay. AI already affects business and people’s daily lives in ways we never imagined years ago—and in ways we are unaware of now. And outsourcing will only grow, thanks to the rapid developments in technology.
Although one cannot deny the influence of AI and BPO, consumer concern about their ethical use persists. Hence, businesses must alleviate consumers’ worries by protecting their data and taking the right steps.
Avoid the following mistakes when using AI and outsourcing for your business:
- Not Putting People First. AI and BPO services are excellent in reducing repetitive work performed by in-house teams, but companies should still prioritize humans. Foster an environment that does not have an either/or scenario between AI and humans. Tap into AI tools for efficiency and humans for empathy, creativity, and dexterity.
- Forgetting To Double-check Output. Do not simply assume that AI programs cannot commit mistakes. Check the output they come up with just like how you would human-generated work. Make sure that the technology you use follows sound, ethical principles.
- Not Considering Data and Privacy Goals. On the privacy front, commit to protecting all data collected and used. One way to do this is to partner with a BPO vendor that complies with crucial pieces of legislation such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The Bottom Line
Businesses should stay updated on technology to remain profitable. If you are a business owner, consider leveraging AI and BPO services.
Such innovations offer a vast range of features that only improve with time. While technological innovations make running a business easier and better, we must use them responsibly and ethically.
Want to learn more about outsourcing your business functions? Let’s connect and talk about it.
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About The Author
Patrick Brown is the CEO and founder of Unity Communications. He’s a father, U.S. Navy veteran, endurance athlete, and music enthusiast. With an endless supply of childlike curiosity, he’s passionate about helping businesses thrive and succeed in the modern age. His company belongs to the 2021 Forbes Next 1000 and has been placed on the Inc. 5000 list twice in a row.
When not running a business or trying to keep up with his very active daughters, Patrick mixes music in his home studio, spends time cooking with his wife, or travels. His childlike curiosity about the world and his love of dance music keep him young.