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Many business owners and managers are ready to outsource and partner with business process outsourcing (BPO) companies to help manage customer service operations.
But they want to work with a trusted and reliable business partner. With numerous service providers on the market, how can they know which ones are reliable and which ones to avoid?
This blog provides insights into some red flags to watch out for when partnering with BPO call center companies. It also covers the benefits of collaborating with a reliable partner and tips for choosing one.
Stay on this page to learn more.
The Importance of Partnering with Reliable BPO Call Center Companies
Many need to learn what BPO is contributing to businesses’ costs, revenue, and efficiency. Below are a few reasons why partnering with trusted and established BPO call center companies can be advantageous:
- Lower recruitment expenses. Finding the proper job candidates, vetting and hiring them, and onboarding and training them are costly. These methods require additional energy, time, and financial resources. A BPO provider can perform these activities by sourcing applicants and hiring suitable ones for customer care roles.
- Greater efficiency. When hiring a third-party provider to manage these operations, customer service inconsistencies, delays, and mistakes are minimized. It can improve efficiency and output for better customer support, service, or product quality.
- Scalable and flexible workflow. What is the BPO call center’s role in cost management? It can optimize the organization’s budget by fielding the correct number of call center agents depending on its needs. If call center activities are low due to slow business, the BPO provider can decrease the team size to help save on expenses.
- Improved focus on core competencies. BPO call center companies help businesses manage non-core operations, letting them focus on income-generating activities such as improving sales and marketing or launching better products or services. Top call center companies also provide high-quality customer service to help businesses gain an edge.
- Reduced overall costs. Call center outsourcing converts fixed expenses into variable costs, reducing operating and capital expenditures and increasing cost savings. Companies can then use the cash surplus for other business projects or ventures.
Red Flags to Avoid When Working with BPO Call Center Companies
Hiring a BPO call center company comes with possible drawbacks. The following are the common issues:
Hidden, Undisclosed, or Unexpected Expenses
Unforeseen costs that disrupt the current budget might arise when working with BPO call center companies. The service provider might charge more than the agreed rates. Not all third-party providers share their full-service fees during negotiations.
Monitoring and predicting unexpected expenses are generally challenging. The BPO firm might charge more for the following incidents or additional services:
- Work or operational delays
- Extra-legal assistance
- Mass production and distribution of documents or work materials
- Employee dismissal and other personnel incidents
- Workforce shortage
- Staff management and coordination
- Service or knowledge exchange
- Partnership pre-termination, conflicts, or discontinuation
Low Priority on Communication Channels
The BPO call center company must prioritize omnichannel or multichannel support to enable faster and smoother agent-customer communication. Aside from phone calls and email, other important channels include:
- Social media. Millennial and Gen Z customers mainly use this channel. These groups often contact customer care or technical support via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram.
- Messaging apps. Many customers and end users depend on WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, or Signal to contact tech support or customer service.
- Live chat. This easy-to-use channel enables customer support representatives to respond to consumer inquiries quickly.
Minimal Importance Given to the Team as a Revenue Driver
Service providers must understand that customer service is not just a “hotline” for complaining and inquiring customers but also a revenue-generating department.
The primary duty of a call center team is to assist customers with product or service issues. It can also contribute to the client company’s customer acquisition efforts. The crew can build, expand, and maintain consumer loyalty.
When customers are highly satisfied with excellent service, agents can convince them to buy more. Customer support representatives can upsell or cross-sell when possible.
The team must aim to win customer trust by regularly delivering a great overall experience. Solid customer relations mean more repeat sales and free endorsements through word-of-mouth advertising.
Lacking the Latest Call Center Systems
BPO call center companies that do not invest substantially in up-to-date communication technologies will likely be left behind. New applications and software are must-haves to take agent efficiency and customer experience or satisfaction to higher levels.
Below are some relevant technologies to prioritize for your potential BPO partner:
- Interactive voice response (IVR) is an automated phone system that helps address customer inquiries through proper call routing.
- Workforce management software lets team managers structure and automate agent tasks more efficiently.
- Automatic call distribution (ACD) helps handle high inbound calls by dividing them equally among agents.
- A predictive dialer speeds up outbound calls for the sales and marketing teams, connecting each agent to the right prospects.
Non-existent or Lacking Self-Service Options
BPO call center companies without self-service options will likely lag behind their market competitors. Without these technologies, their agents will struggle to provide the best customer experience possible.
A robust and accessible self-service portal assists agents in handling common customer inquiries. They can concentrate more on resolving urgent and complex issues during busy periods.
Self-service features include:
- Product or service tutorials
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page
- Online support forum
- Chat and messaging
- Virtual assistants
- Online knowledge base
Weak Data Security
Companies that want to outsource must protect their confidential and critical data while working with third parties. Thus, BPO call center companies without the latest cybersecurity technologies and proper data privacy policies should be at the bottom of the list of potential partners.
A call center firm must safeguard private information, including passwords, residential addresses, credit card numbers, bank accounts, payroll, medical records, and insurance details. High-level security and privacy policies are necessary.
Data breaches or online attacks due to poor data protection can adversely affect brand image and customer trust. They can also result in heavy government fines.
Inadequate Future Communication Technologies
Forward-looking BPO call center companies that are in it for the long haul invest in the technologies of tomorrow. In addition to the cybersecurity and omnichannel solutions mentioned above, service providers must have the following systems:
- Robotic process automation (RPA) lets a software robot conduct particular tasks, helping agents focus on more urgent or critical assignments.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to imitating human intelligence in machines. When BPO firms integrate AI technology into their workflow, they enhance staff performance at an optimal cost.
- Cloud computing enables all software and applications used in the call center to operate remotely or over the cloud network.
Missing Multilingual Support
Businesses might find it challenging to expand overseas if they do not partner with BPO call center companies with multilingual capabilities. Such support enables them to serve the needs of global customers.
Multilingual features consist of voice and text on different communication platforms. Language translation tools should be accessible through email, social media, messaging, and live chat. Hiring agents who speak non-English languages is excellent for oral communication.
What are the benefits of multilingual support? It leads to a larger customer base, higher sales, and a better edge over market rivals as more non-English buyers will be comfortable speaking with agents in their mother tongues.
How to Choose a Reliable BPO Call Center Company
One of the factors for effective customer service outsourcing is collaborating with the ideal BPO call center company. Consider the following valuable tips to acquire a reliable service provider partner:
Determine the Type of Call Centers Required
The company must define its needs and goals. Does it need a third-party team to handle inbound and outbound customer service? Is it necessary to hire a group of specialists for debt collection? Defining the requirements needed to achieve the objective can assist in finding the right BPO partner.
Check out the common types of call centers to address every customer service need:
- Inbound call centers deal with incoming calls. These calls are from customers or users seeking help with the company’s products or services. Agents address their questions and concerns.
- Outbound call centers tackle outgoing calls. Agents conduct these calls for market research, debt recovery, appointment setting, cold calling, or sales campaigns.
- Virtual call centers are part of BPO contact centers. Agents for this service are typically remote workers and linked via cloud-based systems. Virtual contact centers offer inbound and outbound services.
Check the BPO Call Center Company’s Security Procedures
Organizations receive, maintain, and protect vital customer, client, and user information. Sensitive data requires security and privacy. Outsourcing involves sharing crucial company and customer details with the BPO partner.
Learn about the prospective partner’s privacy and security protocols. Confirm if the service provider follows strict standards and management procedures when handling crucial data. Discuss all points, including data storage and protection, recovery options and measures, and regulatory compliance.
After clarifying all the necessary data security and privacy details, analyze and match them with internal policies. Harmonize both parties’ procedures to minimize issues or concerns in the future.
Evaluate the BPO Call Center Company’s Performance Metrics
Know what metrics the service provider focuses on to consistently deliver an excellent customer experience and service.
Some of the most important metrics for a call center to track are as follows:
- Agent schedule adherence indicates whether agents stick to their allocated timetables. A low rate might result in poor customer service.
- Average handle time (AHT) is an agent’s time on a customer’s call. The ideal AHT average is less than six minutes.
- Average hold time measures how long an agent keeps a caller on hold throughout an interaction. The average hold time per call must be at most two minutes.
- Call abandonment is when a caller hangs up before an agent answers the question or solves the issue. A rate of less than 9% is considered above average.
- First call resolution (FCR) gauges the agent’s ability to resolve a customer’s issue on the initial call.
Verify the BPO Call Center Company’s Credentials
Conduct a thorough background check on potential BPO partners. Discover the history and experience of each prospect by investigating track records, services, portfolios, and profiles. Determine if the service providers have garnered industry awards or recognition for excellent customer service. Note that small BPO providers can also be as trustworthy as the big ones.
Additionally, contact the past and current clients of the prospective partners. Inquire about their collaboration, including the service provider’s work culture and accomplishments. Ask frankly if the call center provider is a recommended partner.
Assess Whether the BPO Call Center Company Can Handle the Call Volume
Some business process outsourcing companies in the United States and elsewhere generally expect a minimum call volume before doing business with a client.
That said, startups, emerging businesses, or small enterprises should consider working with BPO providers of the same size. These types of third-party vendors typically accept low call volumes. Similarly, companies receiving large numbers of calls must partner with a large call center firm that can accommodate their high demand.
Monitoring and measuring the number of incoming or outgoing calls before the collaboration helps determine the exact number of agents to hire and find the appropriate BPO partner.
The Bottom Line
Can partnering with a reliable BPO call center company help improve business operations and the bottom line? Yes, it can.
Regardless of its size, a dependable and established third-party provider can help businesses avoid the red flags mentioned above. Concerning hidden or unexpected costs, clarify payment terms and conditions with the potential service partner at the start. Ask for full-service charges at the onset for better budget management.
Let’s connect if you want to learn more about BPO call center companies!