Great BPOs aren’t built overnight. As cliche as that sounds, it takes years of proven experience to build successful business process outsourcing.
But what makes a successful BPO? Is it great facilities, is it management, or is it experience? Truth be told it’s that plus a half a dozen other traits found in successful organizations.
So let’s dive deep into what you will come to expect from a business process outsourcing company. Where they’re located, what they do, and most importantly, how much should you expect to pay?
What is Business Process Outsourcing?
Before we begin, we’d like to give our audience a general understanding of what a BPO is. Business process outsourcing companies offer services that allow organizations to focus on their core business. Let me elaborate. Suppose you’re a voice over IP company competing against the industry’s biggest names, we’ll use RingCentral and Vonage as examples.
Clearly you have a lot of work to do in order to gain the brand recognition already acquired by your competitors. What do you do? For starters, you’ll want to attract new business while cutting costs. At this stage of awareness is where business process outsourcing comes into play.
A separate organization that you can trust to handle other aspects of your business that you might not have the time or resources for. These other aspects can be anything from call center operations, marketing and SEO, finance and even HR activities. The sky's the limit.
Now that business process outsourcing has sparked interest, we’d like to explain what to look for in a BPO.
How much does Business Process Outsourcing Cost?
Let’s begin with the first thing many of us ask when reading about a product or service: pricing. How much is this thing going to cost me?
There are a few different aspects of business process outsourcing that will affect the overall cost. Here is some terminology that divides the BPO field and will surely affect how much you’ll be investing.
- Offshore outsourcing - As the name implies, they’re located outside of your organization’s country.
- Nearshore Vendors - Still located outside of the country but in for example Mexico or Guatemala if you are located in the US.
- Onshore outsourcing - A company located in the same country.
The BPO’s location will heavily affect the price but that’s not the only thing. You’ll also need to discuss the type of service and contract (more on these later). Here are a few numbers as far as how much BPOs cost (cost per hour in USD for the 5 most popular regions/countries).
- India - $5-9
- Pakistan - $6-10
- Latin America - $8-18
- Philippines/Asia - $8-14
- Eastern Europe - $12-25
But the main purpose of this article isn’t to help you save money, it’s to find your perfect fit.
Where to Hire for Business Process Outsourcing?
India, China and Malaysia are the most popular countries for BPO but this doesn’t mean the popularity and prices make it an automatic great fit.
India has the largest population of English speakers in the world (more than the US and the UK combined). But basic infrastructure issues such as water and power in many parts of the country create doubts among aspiring outsourcers.
Additionally, the challenges of process transfers make it more expensive as organizations find themselves sending workers to guarantee quality. China has by far the world’s largest population but faces similar challenges as India.
So where do you hire? Here are the most popular destinations for the top outsourced services.
- - India The leading country for IT outsourcing and overall tech support and has been since the 1980s.
- - The Philippines - Cheap labor, westernized culture and 24/7 support has made this Southeast Asian country specialize in the financial services and unified communications sector.
- - Mexico - The very definition of nearshore and has been serving US based clients for decades. They specialize mainly in the manufacturing industry but have lately also been given human resources and IT outsourcing.
- - Brazil - Similar to India, the country specializes in IT and tech support services. Their low labor costs allows them to have clients all over North and Latin America. A few big names with offices in Brazil are IBM and HP.
Why Should I Trust a BPO?
The location of the company is important but we find trust is the #1 factor when looking for the right fit. This will be one of the most important investments any organization can make. You’re going to want to make sure both parties are on the same page.
How many times prior to purchasing any product or service have you had a rep or team ensuring that they will back you up even after the purchase? You seem to have the full support of an organization and out of the blue, they disappear. Not physically but then they’ll pull out warranty jargon that was never on the table to begin with. This is why trust and quality assurance are so important.
You have expectations in place with your internal team as well as a reputation among your customers. Expectations and standards you ensure are kept and even exceeded. This is where many organizations looking for BPOs tend to give up. We get it, how can you trust someone halfway around the world to share your vision?
Looking at a vendor’s track record, case studies, looking for solutions created within your industry, these are all indicators. A lack of any of these are all red flags.
In order to look for companies with ample experience in your industry there is an organization called G2 Crowd that specializes in business software and services reviews. Most of the big names are on here but a lot of the less known BPOs can also be found with multiple reviews you can browse through.
Explore things like performance reviews, track record in your industry and see if it has been certified with a national association. Interact with their staff in various departments and see if they’re worth being shortlisted.
Transparency from both parties will allow objectives to be reached quicker. A big mistake made from organizations is to fail to recognize their external team as an active member of the company.
The best way to do this is to set clear reporting, management and milestones by both parties. You’re likely located hundreds if not thousands of miles away but you’ll still want to have someone reporting to you on a weekly and even daily basis. Have the organization provide you with goals, tools and metrics they’re using.
Everything needs to be reported and don’t wait for the end of the month. Weekly status reports will be beneficial to your success.
For instance, with every outsourced sales, support or success team, we provide a sales trainer and sales manager. You need a designated point of contact with every BPO.
When in Doubt, just try them out
BPO’s understand how difficult it is for organizations to just run and sign up for extensive contracts. Which is why many offer pilot versions of their full services. These pilot versions can last for as long as 4 months in some cases and are the best way to try out if they’re a good fit, at minimal risk.
Test for performance, connectivity, and bandwidth (for those who take on multiple accounts), and don’t forget about the intangibles. See how their onboarding process is, how their selection process is for aspiring reps, and how their communication is.
Is Business Process Outsourcing for me?
If the current covid era has been an indication of anything it’s we are seeing the very last of the tedious micromanagement process. The pandemic has forced thousands of organizations to have to work from home in order to continue to operate and the results have been favorable. So if you were one of the business leaders who said you can’t be productive with an external team, COVID 19 has proved this to be fallacious, my friend.
For organizations who are pondering whether or not a BPO will be the solution to exceeding your goals, there are a few caveats. For starters, if you’re an organization with 10-50 employees, it is very rare that BPO will be the solution. You’ll save thousands of dollars in overhead costs training an inhouse team but even a fraction of that won’t be feasible for a small enterprise.
If your organization is looking for outsourced b2b sales, outsourced support teams or to learn more about BPOs, be sure to contact us today for more information.
A respectable BPO won’t waste your time quoting you if they feel they’re not a good fit for your organization. It’s about how big your company is, what your goals are and what your budget is.