10 Factors to Evaluate Before Engaging a Call Center Business Process Outsourcing Provider

by King White, on May 22, 2023 11:00:00 AM

Companies are often challenged with deciding whether to keep their call center operations in-house or outsource to a call center business process outsourcing provider (BPO). However, not all call center BPO providers are created equal and it’s important to evaluate potential providers carefully. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the key factors to consider when evaluating call center BPO providers based on Site Selection Group’s experience in evaluating BPO provider locations in onshore, nearshore and offshore geographies.

1. Experience and reputation

The first thing to consider when evaluating call center BPO providers is their experience and reputation. Look for providers that have a proven track record of success in the industry. Keep in mind that bigger doesn’t mean better in the BPO provider world so don’t discount small and mid-sized BPO firms. Request to interview some of their customers. Check their websites for customer testimonials, case studies and industry awards. You can also do some research online to see what other businesses and employees are saying about the BPOs you are considering. Check out online review sites and forums to get an idea of the provider’s reputation with its employees considering those are the agents who will be communicating with your customers. Lastly, create a competitive interview process to see how they perform under pressure.

2. Geographic footprint

The geographic footprint of the BPO provider is important to understand. Can they support you in onshore, nearshore and offshore geographies? A larger footprint in different geographies will diversify your risks of being too heavily concentrated in one geography. The benefits of this strategy include redundancy if one site goes down, the ability to shift call volume to geographies aligned to the complexity of your contact types, access to alternative language and employee skills types, and minimized geopolitical risks. 

3. Service offerings 

The next factor to consider is the services offered by the provider. Different providers offer different levels and types of service, so it’s important to find one that can meet your specific needs. Some providers specialize in inbound customer service or technical support, while others may offer outbound sales or collections. Some providers may also offer additional services like social media monitoring or email support. Determine what services you need, and then find a provider that can meet those needs and has a proven track record with your contact types.

4. Industry sector experience

Finding a BPO provider with specific experience in your industry can help to successfully launch your outsourcing initiative as well as uncover some best practices that might improve or enhance your current processes and procedures. There are a lot of service providers with experience in traditional sectors such as telecommunications and financial services. It can be more challenging to find BPO providers with experience in smaller industry verticals such as healthcare, hospitality, fintech and other sectors requiring special product knowledge or specialized licenses.  

5. Labor market conditions

It is critical to evaluate the labor market of the geography proposed by the BPO provider. Even if you found the best BPO provider in the world, if the site they propose to locate your business is in a bad labor market, then it is highly likely that you will have high employee attrition which will impact agent quality and your customer satisfaction scores. Some key factors to evaluate include labor market scalability, educational attainment, colleges and universities, call center market saturation, direct competitors and market labor rates. You need to make sure you verify that the BPO provider is paying market wages or you could face price increases in the near future in addition to attracting lower-quality agents working on your account.

6. Technology  

Another important factor to consider when evaluating call center BPO providers is their technology. A good provider should have an omnichannel technology platform that is cloud-based with the ability to support both remote and brick-and-mortar agents. Look for providers that use advanced call routing and chat capabilities, as well as sophisticated data analytics tools. Also, find out what type of data center infrastructure the provider has in place to ensure that calls are handled securely and reliably.

7. Infrastructure

The infrastructure of the physical site is very important to evaluate. A great example is the need to assess the stability of the fiber and electrical grids. Many nearshore and offshore geographies have very unstable electrical grids. You will want to make sure the site has a backup generator able to support the entire facility including workstations and HVAC. Ideally, it will also have redundant fiber optics from different fiber providers. Also, find out if the site has good public transportation accessibility so workers can easily get to the site.

8. Cost 

Cost is always a consideration when outsourcing, and call center BPO is no exception. Look for providers that offer competitive pricing without sacrificing quality. Be sure to get a detailed quote that includes all costs and fees, so you can accurately compare providers. Also, be wary of providers that offer extremely low pricing, as this may indicate that they are cutting corners, providing inadequate supervision, or going to tack on hidden additional costs.

9. Facility conditions 

It is very important to do site visits to evaluate the condition of the facility, which will tell you a lot about the quality of the BPO provider, how they treat their employees and the quality of the management. In addition, you will want to do a technical audit of the facility to evaluate security, PCI compliance, backup generator, parking, lighting, HVAC and terms of their lease.

10. Flexibility and scalability

Finally, consider the provider’s flexibility and scalability. As your business grows, you may need to adjust your call center operations accordingly. Seek a provider that can easily scale up or down to meet your changing needs and is flexible enough to customize their services to meet your specific requirements.

In conclusion, choosing the right call center BPO provider can be a complex process, but by considering these factors, you can make an informed decision. Remember to look for a provider with a good reputation, a wide range of services, a quality call center facility, geographic diversity, advanced technology and infrastructure, competitive pricing, and flexibility and scalability. With the right provider in place, you can improve your customer service and streamline your operations, all while saving time and money. Please contact Site Selection Group to help you identify and evaluate call center BPO providers for you.

Topics:Call CenterSite Selection GroupNearshoreOffshoreBusiness Process OutsourcingOnshoreCall Center OutsourcingBPOBPO Provider



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