Startups face unique challenges, from battling stiff competition and running lean teams to developing marketing and sales strategies and establishing workflows. But they all share one common goal — the ability to adapt and scale while remaining focused on healthy, sustainable growth.
When a business is laser focused on getting a new product to market (and growing market share as quickly as possible), it’s easy to unintentionally neglect other seemingly less critical services, including customer experience (CX). While larger enterprises with established operations almost universally rely on business process outsourcing (BPO) partnerships to support customer needs, fewer startups and small businesses have adopted the BPO model.
But that is changing.
Why are some startups hesitant to outsource?
Faced with the prospect of outsourcing, smaller companies are more hesitant than larger organizations. Despite demonstrable benefits, they’re often reluctant to explore BPO for a variety of reasons, including:
- Fear of the unknown and loss of control. The entrepreneurial spirit driving startups and small businesses is rooted in a commitment to a hands-on approach to every aspect of the business. The idea of entrusting vital operations to an external partner is unsettling.
- Prioritization of product and brand over CX. For startups, product and branding are often the sole focus. While this undivided attention makes sense, it can hinder future growth if customer experience remains secondary.
- Immersion in day-to-day operations. The sheer intensity and complexity of managing a new operation can make it difficult for founders and small teams to step back, evaluate their needs objectively, and explore external options that would help alleviate workloads and streamline processes.
- Preference for immediate solutions over long-term value. Startups often seek immediate, affordable stop-gap solutions to address their needs. In doing so, they may fail to recognize the long-term value BPO provides — especially for CX.
It makes perfect sense to view trusting another entity to manage a service as daunting. But more growing businesses are starting to embrace BPO as the ideal customer experience solution.
The benefits of BPO for up-and-coming companies
Creating a robust customer experience strategy opens the door for sustainable growth. BPOs bring more to the table than a staffing solution to field incoming calls and customer complaints: An experienced BPO solutions provider will learn the nuances of your operation, seek to understand your short- and long-term goals, support your vision and mission to drive sales quickly, and provide a customized solution focused on growing along with your business. Your BPO provider should focus on:
- Combating high turnover/attrition. High turnover disrupts workflows, hinders productivity, and significantly impacts your bottom line. A BPO partner provides access to a stable, dedicated workforce, ensuring you are supported by a fully trained and constant workforce committed to delivering results.
- Providing expertise, best practices, and consultation. A successful BPO provider is well versed in best practices across a multitude of industries, boasts a senior leadership team with diverse BPO backgrounds, and employs SMEs proficient in all areas of business — from recruiting, technology, and workforce management to operations and training. They should offer strategic guidance focused on optimizing processes to enhance the end-to-end CX experience.
- Staffing and training to your specific needs. Every business is different, and a cookie-cutter approach to staffing does not work. Especially for startups and smaller businesses, building a skilled and diverse team from scratch is time-consuming, resource-intensive, and challenging. A BPO provider should take the time to understand your brand, your voice, and your CX expectations and then execute a staffing strategy designed around your requirements.
- Addressing potential burnout. BPOs understand that for smaller businesses, lean teams wearing too many hats or juggling too many roles quickly burn out and take productivity with them. Your BPO’s goal should be to alleviate this burden while remaining mindful of your budget.
- Maximizing scalability. A BPO provider should be agile enough to easily accommodate shifts in market demand. This scalability enables startups to focus on other critical strategies while the BPO manages resources without major disruption to operations.
How to find the right BPO for your business
Once you’ve decided a BPO partnership is right for your business, the next step is to identify the right provider. For the small business or startup, a “big box” approach is rarely a good fit. The following considerations can help guide you to a successful collaboration.
First, look for a BPO provider that takes a consultative approach. A reliable partner takes the time to understand your specific business needs, challenges, and goals. They seek to develop customized solutions tailored to your requirements rather than offering a cookie-cutter solution. They are large enough to scale with your business, but small enough to provide the personal attention your organization requires.
Next, consider the BPO provider’s clientele. Do they have a diverse portfolio and a proven track record of delivering excellent results across different sectors? Experience and expertise in various industries demonstrate an ability to understand the nuances of different business models, enabling them to apply best practices from one industry to another.
A BPO should provide multiple flexible support models and be clear in explaining how they will support your customers’ journeys at every touch point. And they should live the same values internally, with a company culture that treats their own employees as customers themselves — with a focus on engagement, training, and retention.
Finally, the ideal BPO partner shouldn’t provide a solution that addresses only your immediate concerns. They should take a forward-looking approach and provide a structured roadmap that not only tackles current challenges but also scales easily to meet your long-term goals.
From startup to success
It’s natural for startups and smaller new companies to be wary of outsourcing but partnering with the right BPO often proves to be a transformative experience. By leveraging the expertise and resources of a trusted BPO partner, up-and-coming companies can address scalability challenges head-on — unlocking the opportunity for healthy and sustainable growth.