Business process outsourcing (BPO) has always been a crucial part of managing critical operations at scale. Many organizations turn to BPOs to enhance customer experience — and to do it affordably. That means the onus is on BPO providers to create efficiencies that achieve this. More and more, it’s a matter of leveraging the right technologies with time-tested BPO strategies.
Now, in 2023, as a wave of digital innovation sweeps across business operations, BPO providers have more opportunities than ever to create efficiencies that enable scalable long-term success.
Looking at the BPO tech landscape
Technology has always been at the forefront of shaping BPO — largely because it’s at the forefront of influencing everything from the buyer journey to customer experience to commerce itself.
Today, the BPO landscape is evolving at a breakneck speed, driven by a suite of transformative technologies. These innovations have fundamentally reshaped the way BPO providers operate, enabling them to deliver more efficient and effective services than ever before. Some of the most powerful technologies include:
- Cloud computing. BPOs increasingly rely on cloud-based solutions to enhance scalability, agility, and accessibility. Cloud computing enables them to reduce service costs while scaling to support seamless global operations.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI-driven algorithms empower BPOs to make data-driven decisions and automate repetitive tasks. AI can assist human agents, operate independently, or work in tandem with other systems to drive synergies.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA streamlines workflows by automating rule-based processes, which reduces human error and the cost of labor. And when routine tasks are automated, agents have more time to focus on the complex tasks where they add more value.
- Machine Learning (ML). ML algorithms can analyze vast datasets, extracting valuable insights that improve decision-making. ML assists in everything from training agents to providing quantifiable CX improvements to clients.
- Chatbots. Virtual agents enhance customer service by providing instant responses to inquiries. Paired with natural language processing (NLP), they have the ability to converse seamlessly with almost anyone.
- Virtual assistants. AI-powered virtual assistants support BPO agents across the gamut of processes to improve overall efficiency. They help agents be more productive by bridging real-time gaps in information, access, or ability.
Unlocking deep-rooted efficiencies
Leveraged by a savvy BPO partner and applied to the right use cases, these technologies are at the forefront of driving efficiencies, enabling providers to offer superior services to clients tailored to meet the specific needs. As such, these technologies are critical to the success of today’s BPOs. But installing a program isn’t enough — the BPO’s success stems from harnessing and quantifying the deep-rooted efficiencies of the programs. These include:
Automated tasks (data entry): As RPA and AI-driven algorithms automate tedious tasks such as data entry, BPOs can measure human resources saved and outcomes generated. For example, five hours per week saved through an RPA equates to 260 hours saved per year. If that task was previously handled by an employee paid $20 per hour, total annual savings becomes $5,200 per year.
Improved decision-making (trends and patterns): By analyzing historical data and identifying trends and patterns, ML algorithms enable BPOs to address valuable market research opportunities. Consider the analysis of customer service data. ML-backed analysis might find the business sees 20% higher spend on return customers who are given a $5 credit vs. free shipping as part of their customer service resolution.
Better customer service (personalization): One of the hallmarks of modern BPO is the ability to deliver highly personalized customer experiences — now possible through chatbots and virtual assistants. For example, businesses may see lower customer service call volumes in favor of chat solutions integrated directly into customer records, which improves first-touch CS resolutions by 40%.
Reduced costs (operational efficiency): Cloud computing enables BPOs to scale their operations up or down to optimize resource allocation and avoid unnecessary expenses. For instance, predictive modeling may show a 15% historical uptick in service calls after a new product rollout, allowing BPOs to staff accordingly to meet anticipated demand and keep wait times low.
In each of these examples, the benefit of BPO technology is quantifiable — and meaningful to businesses seeking efficiency in operations.
Efficiencies unlock success at scale
Efficiencies gained through the strategic integration of BPO technology not only translates into cost savings; they also pave the way for scalable success. BPO providers can control and mitigate costs effectively, allowing their clients to reinvest capital in business development and expansion. Most importantly, when applied correctly, technology ensures no loss of customer service fidelity — even as operations grow and become more complex.
Whether it’s moving into a new global territory, jumping product lines, or marketing to a new demographic audience, BPO technology offers support across the board, leading to success at scale.
BPO technology is a catalyst for excellence
As BPO providers continue to harness emerging technologies, they’re positioning themselves to amplify the growth trajectories of the businesses they partner with. The horizon of possibilities stretches wide, particularly as GenAI and RPA continue to elevate operations. It’s reinforcing the concept that BPO isn’t just a means to scaling critical operations — it’s the means to creating value and business excellence through efficient solutions.