The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is often referred to as the “ BPO revolution.” It has become one of the most emergent phenomena and the business world can’t seem to imagine a future without it. The biggest companies have recognized its importance, but how can small businesses benefit from them?
BPO Call Centers: At a Glance
What is Business Process Outsourcing?
According to Thomas Duening and Rick Click’s book Essentials of Business Process Outsourcing, business process outsourcing (BPO) is the “movement of business processes from inside the organization to an external service provider.” Or in much, much simpler terms: it’s hiring somebody from outside your organization.
Because of well-established and more reliable global telecommunications, BPO has allowed businesses to outsource work internationally. Duening and Click identified five of the most sought after BPO services:
- engineering services
- technical services
- manufacturing services
- analysis and creative services
- administrative services
As the industry has developed, these services have diversified and progressed. However, this will give you an idea what service you might need for your business!
What is a BPO Call Center?
So now that we’ve laid out our basics on business process outsourcing, let’s get familiar with BPO Call Centers and the terms that come with it!
A BPO call center is, in very simple terms, the external service provider that an organization hires to answer customer phone calls. On the other hand, a call center agent is a person hired to answer and respond to over-the-phone customer calls!
In the book Call Centers for Dummies, they’ve explained the call center process in a very easy way:
| “When you call, say, an airline, cable television company, or bank, the person you deal with at the other end of the phone is a call center agent (or perhaps representative, consultant, or associate), and the office or department that this person works in is a call center…To the customer, the call center is the voice of the company.”
On the other hand, the role of the call center varies for different companies. For small to medium enterprises, this depends on how closely they will work with the call center and/or its agents. Therefore, if you’re a small business thinking of hiring a call center, you must be able to clearly identify what business goals need to be met.
What does the call center look like for a small business?
There are three types of call centers, and knowing each type can give you an idea of what kind of call center service you need. These three types are inbound call centers, outbound call centers, and blended.
Here, we’ve laid out some examples for small businesses!
Inbound call centers
For inbound call centers, let’s discuss this example:
You own a traditional Italian restaurant and want to expand its order and delivery service. You set up an online ordering system but have quickly realized that your target demographic would much prefer to order food over the phone.
As a response, your Italian restaurant hires a call center to accept orders 24/7 via phone calls. The customer calls your restaurant, and the call center agent takes the order, collects information about the customer, and encodes the order on your system. Furthermore, the call center agent can also respond to follow-up inquiries, changes in order, and other customer services.
This is called an inbound call center. Meaning, the customers initiate the calls and a company representative answers them. An inbound call center is often used for order processing, assistance, customer service, and consulting.
Outbound call center
A small business that requires outbound call centers may have a slightly different nature from our previous example. Essentially, in an outbound call center, the agents initiate the call to customers.
These calls are often used for telemarketing, loyalty programs, product recall, and marketing research.
For example, you own a specialty food subscription service. You deliver a specific type of food on a regular basis to a subscribed customer. Say that you want to offer an exclusive discount to a loyal customer, your call center agent can contact them to let them know.
Blended call center
On the other hand, a blended call center can provide a little bit of both! They can operate both ways, depending on the needs of your business.
Hiring a Call Center
Before attempting to hire a call center, we must first identify what a “good” call center is. This way, it will help you in the process of looking for one that suits your needs!
Things to know before hiring
Before hiring, it’s important to understand what an effective and fully operating call center should look like. Consider the following:
- Call center agents work efficiently and on time
- The primary goal is customer satisfaction
- Ability to focus and adapt to your business goals
- Answers phone calls immediately
- Listen to customer problems and resolve as quickly as possible
- Has an effective process for collecting and encoding customer information
- Busy with a purpose with a healthy work environment
- Not just a third-party hire, but an ally to your organization
So, is it time to hire?
Understanding the world of Business Process Outsourcing is a lot to take in! If you need any help with assistance in the process of hiring your call center agents, give us a call today!
Digital Offsider is happy to guide you throughout the entire process. Our call center service offers an affordable 24-hour call center for small businesses. Our agents have the primary goal to solve customer problems instantly and improve customer satisfaction in the long run.