How To Smartly and Ethically Leverage AI and BPO for Your Business

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 artificial intelligence and outsourcing for success. Learn more.
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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 lives and health of workers at risk. 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 vital to doing business.

Ways To Correctly Use AI and Outsourcing for Your Business

Ways To Correctly Use AI and Outsourcing

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 times, improving the customer experience. According to Zendesk, nearly 60% of customers feel thatlong wait time is the most frustrating part of a service experience.

Below are ways to ethically and successfully leverage AI and smart BPO for startups and big enterprises.

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 about 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.

Ensure Transparency

Organizations are compelled to uphold internal and external transparency in their utilization of AI and outsourcing strategies. Building trust with end users hinges on complete openness regarding how outsourcing and AI are integrated into their overarching strategy and the resultant impact on customers.

A case in point highlighting the importance of transparency is the past Cambridge Analytica scandal, wherein Facebook faced substantial criticism due to its lack of transparency regarding AI utilization and data collection practices. A well-structured AI communication strategy could have preemptively addressed the issue.

Control Biases

Organizations must diligently ensure that the data generated by outsourcing firms or AI technologies remains free from biases. The imperative of employing unbiased algorithms and data sets presents an opportunity to ethically harness business innovations and significantly reduce gender and racial biases.

Consider the example of Google, which in 2009 assembled a substantial facial image database known as ImageNet, predominantly featuring Caucasian faces over people of color. Subsequently, when AI networks were trained using this data, they exhibited better performance on white faces than non-white ones.

Use AI for Simple Automation

One of the most advantageous applications of AI and outsourced services lies in liberating time for more creative pursuits. In business, numerous tasks are characterized by monotonous and repetitive nature, making them ideally suited for automation.

Automating repetitive tasks empowers humans to focus on endeavors demanding more cognitive engagement.

What To Avoid When Using AI and BPO for Your Business

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 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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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.
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Patrick Brown

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