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BPO Call Center: How to Outsource (And is it Worth it?)

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Scaling customer service is not easy (or cheap). 

You’ve got to hire new staff, train them, and then find time to manage their performance. 

And this assumes you already have somewhere to house new agents. If you don’t, you’re either setting up a virtual call center or adding the cost of new office space to your outgoings. 

Who has the time for all that?   

Luckily, there is another option: using a BPO call center. 

If you choose this route, you’ll outsource all or part of your contact center operations to a third party. You provide guidance, and they take calls on your business’s behalf.

It’s certainly easier and often cheaper than running a contact center in-house. But are these savings worth the inevitable loss of control? 

In this article we’re going to find out.

BPO call center

First up, what is a BPO call center?

A BPO call center handles contact center operations for other businesses. 

They typically handle calls for multiple companies in one space – allowing them to take advantage of economies of scale. 

These businesses have access to well-trained agents and powerful technology that lets them provide quality service at a low price. 

Companies typically use BPO contact centers when they don’t want to handle calls in-house. 

There are many reasons why you might not want to take calls yourself:

  • You don’t have the resources to run your own contact center. Hiring agents, buying equipment, and renting office space is expensive. BPO removes these costs.  
  • You think you can save money by outsourcing to a place with a lower cost of living. Many BPO contact centers operate in countries like India and the Philippines to provide support at a lower cost.
  • You’re unable to find qualified agents. Alaskan telecommunications company GCI outsourced its contact center as it couldn’t find candidates in its home base.
  • Your business is seasonal and needs extra help during a specific time of year. Using BPO contact centers lets you rapidly increase your service capabilities. 
  • You want to offer support to international customers. BPO contact centers enable you to provide help in different time zones and languages. 
  • You struggle with call volume. T-mobile uses outsourced teams to provide backup support when its in-house contact centers are closed or if call volume is heavy. 

But they won’t be as good as an in-house team, right?

A big worry when outsourcing is that third-party agents won’t provide the same quality support as an in-house team. 

After all, these agents lack the connection to your business that on-site employees have.  

But outsourced service doesn’t have to mean lower quality. 

(Good) BPO contact centers typically have strenuous training processes that help call center agents get up to speed quickly. 

These contact centers are often highly experienced and provide services for well-respected companies.

recruitment

Sounds good! What BPO call center services are available?

BPO call centers provide a variety of services. The exact ones they offer depend on whether they offer outbound support, inbound support or a blended model.  

Here are some of the most common services on offer. If you need help with any of these tasks, BPO may be a good choice. 

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Customer support

In-house support teams can easily become overwhelmed by an increase in tickets. 

Outsourcing is a great way to take the pressure off. 

The difficulty is helping off-site agents get up to speed with your product. This is essential to ensure they can provide the level of support you require.  

Having clear support documentation, such as a knowledge base, will help. Outsourced agents can use this to learn more about your product.

Ordering support

83% of customers say they need help during the online shopping process. 

BPO call centers let you provide this help at a low cost. Outsourced agents do everything from clarifying product information to processing phone payments. 

And their role doesn’t stop once the order is processed. These agents can also handle calls relating to orders or delivery. 

You just need to:

  • Provide agents with in-depth product information so they can assist buyers.
  • Provide CRM and payment software access so they can process purchases. 

Customer surveys and research

Customer support surveys can be straightforward to operate, which makes outsourcing them a no-brainer. 

Provide your BPO teams with a relevant script, questions, and instructions about how to record answers. 

Put those insights to work as part of a structured feedback process to help with future product releases or marketing campaigns. 

Sales calls

Cold calling campaigns are an excellent way to generate leads, but getting a positive return can be challenging. 

Outsourcing improves the chances of you getting a good ROI in two ways:

  1. Calls are handled by skilled agents experienced in cold calling. 
  2. Using agents in places with lower wages reduces the amount you spend. 

Outsourcing cold calls will also remove the burden from your in-house sales team. 

They can focus on follow-up calls with proven prospects that require more specialist product knowledge. 

customer feedback

How to choose a good BPO call center

In most cases, customers who reach outsourced contact centers are unaware that they aren’t speaking to your business. 

So these calls directly impact what people think of your brand.

Because of this, you have to be 100% confident in your outsourcer.

Here are some of the factors to consider:

The BPO’s specialization

BPO contact centers may specialize in different industries and even types of calls. 

A contact center that offers tech support will have a very different skill set to one that specializes in telemarketing. 

Choose a contact center with a proven track record of success in the types of calls you want to offer. 

The BPO’s reputation

A contact center’s reputation is a tell-tale sign of the support it provides. 

Look at client portfolios to see if it handles businesses with similar needs to yours. Long-term relationships are another sign that customers are happy with the service they receive. 

Agent satisfaction is a good signal to look out for, too. Ask for turnover rates or look at sites like Glassdoor to see what employees say about the business. 

The BPO’s location

BPO call centers in countries like the Philippines and India typically offer affordable rates. And there are plenty of excellent providers in these regions. 

The downside is that the distance means they may be more challenging to manage. It will often be a hands-off experience. 

You can still get cost savings by outsourcing to a contact center in a cheaper area of your own country. 

For example, a New York-based business could outsource to a contact center in the midwest. 

BPO call centers help you provide support customers love

BPO call centers help your business provide service your customers love. Use it to either complement your existing contact center capabilities or go entirely remote. 

But, these aren’t the only ways to offer support at lower costs. Using modern contact center solutions can provide many of the same benefits. 

For example:

  • Virtual call center software lets you expand your team without needing more office space by enabling agents to work from home. 
  • Conversational IVR can solve simple customer queries without them speaking to an agent. This reduces the number of tickets your team deals with. 
  • Automation and integrations help your team close tickets faster, so they can solve more requests.
  • Preemptive service reduces ticket volume by fixing potential problems before they occur. 

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