There is no doubt that business process outsourcing (BPO) offers potentially significant benefits, including healthy cost savings, improved efficiencies, access to expertise and resources, and the ability to shift resources from non-core business tasks to revenue- and growth-producing activities.
That said, any staffing or resource management decision introduces risk. The success or failure of your organisation’s BPO initiative comes down to selecting a visionary partner that can help you not just identify possible BPO challenges, but mitigate their potential impact as well.
An increasing number of organisations worldwide recognise the benefits of business process outsourcing, which include:
While the potential benefits of BPO are substantial, two things must happen for outsourcing to deliver a cost-benefit to a business: the service provider must perform the outsourced tasks to a mutually agreed-upon standard, and they must continue to do so at a mutually agreed-upon rate.
If the costs associated with outsourcing do not remain consistent, any initial savings can quickly be eliminated. Quality must be consistent as well. In an age where customers are demanding better customer service all the time, outsourcing customer-facing operations such as call centre to an overseas service provider can damage an organisation’s brand if the service provided is not up to par. If a brand’s reputation takes a hit as a result of improper outsourcing, sales can suffer, contributing to the indirect cost of lost revenue.
Inconsistent quality can result from outsourcing tasks or services to areas where standards may be lower, where regulations may be less strict, or where language barriers can cause important information to be lost in translation. Cultural barriers may present an issue as well. If cultural standards see being wrong as a bad thing, team members may ignore problems that arise or fail to proactively solve them on behalf of your organisation.
Another risk associated with outsourcing is data security. With security breaches occurring more frequently, loss or theft of customer data is - or should be - a very real concern for businesses, particularly with compliance laws and penalties becoming tougher by the day.
Finally, successfully adopting business process outsourcing requires contingency planning. If your chosen provider becomes unavailable for any length of time due to natural disasters, business failure, or some other unplanned event, you risk not having the resources in place to perform key processes. This could substantially affect your ability to do business.
As you may have noticed, the risks described above are, in large part, risks associated with your chosen service provider - not risks associated with BPO itself.
Understandably, bringing on a third-party to handle business functions (even if they are not considered ‘sensitive’ or ‘mission-critical’) introduces risks that are not present when you handle the same processes in-house. For these reasons, organisations considering BPO are wise to focus most of their risk mitigation efforts on the provider selection process.
Thoroughly vet potential BPO partners the same way you would vet any new supplier, partner, or employee of your company. Meticulously check their credentials, experience, and background, and seek out bona fide, checkable references from former customers who have employed them to provide similar services (and who are happy with the results).
A good BPO provider will have:
Once you have found a provider with the qualities and credentials you are seeking, risk can be minimised further through the use of binding contracts and agreements. These might include:
Outsourcing your business processes does not have to mean compromising quality, reliability, or security. Converga has 25 years experience in the field as a trusted service provider with customer satisfaction scores of 97%. The right BPO and managed services provider makes it possible to enjoy all three. Reach out to Converga today to see how.
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