Every company has its core focus and mission that drives business forwards and grows revenue. But raising those sales figures requires a host of other supporting tasks and that’s where business process outsourcing (BPO) fits in. Firms don’t have to build capacity in IT support, HR, marketing, payroll, data entry, and other non-core business activities from scratch.
Being able to access talent and expertise flexibly and scale those services readily to match the demands of the business is the dream. That being said, hiring managers are well aware of the time that it can take to recruit and train high-performing, in-house teams. And while business support is lacking, it’s harder for projects to progress, impacting growth and making it tougher to hit profit targets.
Also, customers who were once happy with services will soon grow frustrated if they have to wait longer for responses. Being popular is a nice problem for firms to have, but opportunities will be wasted if teams are stretched too thin and can’t capitalize on interest from prospective clients. BPO extends to contact center operations as well as back-office tasks.
If your response time to inbound calls keeps getting longer and teams can’t meet their outbound commitments, then it’s probably time to consider BPO call center services. BPO agents can assist with customer support enquiries, order processing, and dispatching – to give just a few examples of where outsourcing can help firms.
For companies just starting out, such as early-stage tech firms, BPO is ideal for supporting necessary business operations that may not yet warrant full-time roles. It keeps staff costs lean so that seed funding can be spent where it matters the most – on accelerating the launch of core products and services. BPO providers can be a great fit for activities that organizations only carry out periodically, such as market research.
Keeping the big picture in mind
Naturally, outsourcing can help companies when things get busy and teams become swamped with work, but it also gives firms access to skills that they may not have internally. Today, BPO providers offer a wide range of services, including social media content management and multilingual support.
Examples of BPO providers supporting businesses –
Differences between BPO and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO)
The success of BPO in supporting companies of all sizes, and as a business model, has led to the rise of so-called knowledge process outsourcing (KPO). There are parallels between BPO and KPO in that both are services designed to make business operations more efficient. But there are differences too.
Volume of work is a driver for BPO, whereas its offshoot, KPO, centers around the demand for insights. And while we might not have touched on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) so far, the opportunities for AI tools can definitely be mentioned when discussing KPO.
AI algorithms are ideal for spotting trends in large volumes of data and play to the needs of KPO clients. BPO concerns the outsourcing of supporting business services, whereas KPO is about delivering actionable insights to companies. KPO providers may use AI techniques such as sentiment analysis and speech analytics to help clients make data-driven decisions.
In fact, those AI techniques can benefit BPO providers too, by helping to deliver services more efficiently and effectively. On TechHQ we’ve written about how contact center providers are integrating a suite of AI tools into their operations to assist agents. For example, large language models (LLMs) fed with domain-specific customer service data make it possible to create advanced chatbots capable of handling common inbound queries.
Also, AI can be used to identify contact center agent behavior that’s strongly associated with achieving high customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores. And these insights can be fed back into agent training to spread those performance benefits more widely across the BPO organization, which helps the businesses that it supports too.
KPO can sometimes be an extension of BPO services. Companies may outsource their day-to-day accounting needs, but then require expertise in financial modeling – for example, ahead of funding rounds. And those knowledge-intensive tasks can be supported through a KPO provider. Data entry services that are being outsourced could be extended to include analytical insights gathered from that information.
Every firm strives to be unique in delivering its value proposition, but there are many processes that are common across businesses. And when companies are struggling to stay on top of those tasks or find themselves being distracted by them, away from their core mission, it could well be time to consider BPO options. The sustained growth of the BPO sector, and more recently its KPO offshoots, speaks to the appeal and quality of outsourced solutions.