September 15, 2017
When is the right time to outsource?
In an age of increasing competitiveness, where advancements in technology have made creating great products accessible to many companies with less capital, one key aspect has become the crucial differentiator: customer service. As Bill Carmody writes on Inc.com, “when it comes right down to it, the only point of differentiation left today is the customer experience itself.”
This shift is the result of the digital transformation nearly all companies must undertake to remain competitive, and it is why CFOs and CEOs continuously rank customer service as a high-level priority. Business leaders are under pressure to balance cost and growth potential, which requires meeting increasing demands from customers, while also focusing on producing the best products and innovating their core competencies.
As companies grow, they become more complex, and many CEOs and CFOs begin to look into business process outsourcing (BPO) to help them sustain growth and remain competitive. In fact, IDC (International Data Corporation) analysis shows that by 2019 revenue for outsourcing will increase to $232.9 billion, and this includes front and back office positions, and IT.
The Outsourcing Revolution survey found that the main reason for outsourcing has also gone beyond simple cost savings, with over 90% of firms surveyed claiming “outsourcing as crucial to their growth strategies.” A survey conducted by CGS in 2016 found that after reduced costs, the next top goals for outsourcing include improved efficiency, more current/effective IT, ability to focus on core capabilities, and improving customer satisfaction. You can download the full CGS report here: Business Process Outsourcing By The Numbers.
We have reached a point where nearly every company will consider BPO solutions at some point, but the reality is that outsourcing will not make sense for all companies at all times. Business leaders must ask themselves: Is it time to partner with a BPO solutions provider?
Several key indicators will clarify when outsourcing is the right solution for your challenges, and it begins with weighing the benefits of outsourcing against the benefits of maintaining internal departments. The goal is to understand the exact “how” and “why” BPO will have a positive impact on your business. Each company will have its own unique goals and requirements. However, there are a few common indicators that it could be the right time for you to outsource, and below is our list of the top three.
1. You are experiencing seasonal spikes in call volume or consistent call overflow.
Long queue lines hinder your ability to provide quality customer service. Based on Avaya Consumer Preference Report, 80% of customers prefer to speak with agents. At peak times in-house call centers can get overwhelmed as companies are hesitant to increase staff, only to be left with excess capacity during normal or down times. Long hold times and overworked staff unequivocally negatively impact the quality of your customer service. Even if agents can still provide top notch service, long wait times will cause customers to have an unsatisfactory experience. In fact, research from Forrester on consumers’ preferences for customer service shows that “71% of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.”
Outsourcing agencies are experts at anticipating and planning for peak call volumes, and they have the recruiting and training capabilities to ramp up quickly as needed. Supplementing staff while your customer base is growing at a fast pace allows your company to grow while staying focused on core competencies.
2. You are experiencing growth and have difficulty scaling or increasing staff for ancillary functions like HR, IT, training, finance and QC teams.
Growth is an essential element for expansion. If your company cannot incorporate growth strategies like cost reduction, the space to house agents or products, or the technology required to enhance performance, you could be hindering your ability to thrive in the global market. Because of the diverse clientele, outsourcing companies act as collaborative partners that provide operational flexibility. Outsourcing gives you a competitive edge by helping you streamline business processes, maintain consistency across different geographies, enter new international markets, or scale up and down with greater efficiency. This enables your company to remain flexible and nimble without sacrificing your focus on core competencies, or great service to your customers. This is the winning combination for setting your business apart from your competitors.
3. You are finding it challenging, or impossible to keep up with increasing customer expectations for personalized service, 24x7x365 support coverage.
Is your company struggling to invest in, and keep up-to-date, with the latest innovative technology in customer service? Do your customers expect service at any time of day? Customer’s today expect a lot from businesses. They expect agents to know their names, their history with the company, and to be available in a variety of ways at all times of the day. Essentially, customers no longer expect agents to answer a call and simply direct them to another person. Instead, they demand that agents are experts and problem solvers who will resolve their concern on the first call. If you find that your team is over-stretched by trying to meet the requirements for outstanding customer service today, especially if implementing new and innovative software is required, this could be the right time to outsource. Many outsourcing companies have technology-based software like Cloud-Computing and Robotic and Cognitive Process Automation, that enables agents to provide personalized, efficient service to your customers. These tools give agents greater ability to resolve customer issues efficiently and on the first call.
If you are unable to dedicate more time to improving core business functions like management, IT, HR, and finance, working with a BPO solutions provider could be an ideal way to help your business gain a competitive advantage. Although most companies will consider working with a BPO partner at some point, especially during high-growth stages, the time to outsource and which functions to outsource, requires thoughtful analysis. The right time will be different for every company, but if you are experiencing our top three indicators above, that right time could be now. The next step is to determine which functions to outsource and then build a business case around it. For more information on how to do that, download the paper: Building a Business Case: OUTSOURCING YOUR TECH SERVICE DESK: Driving cost reductions and process efficiencies through standardization, consolidation, and scalability.