How to assess your BPO provider

The best way to assess your Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider is to research them thoroughly and measure them.
How to assess your BPO provider

In this article


The best way to assess your Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider is to research them thoroughly and measure them in four key areas:

  1. Approach to customer experience
  2. Industry expertise
  3. Culture and training
  4. Transparency

To understand how they measure up, you’ll need to ask the right questions. For example, when assessing their industry expertise, it pays to ask questions like: “How long have you specialized in our industry?” and “What are most customers dissatisfied with in this vertical?”

But before you rush into interrogating your BPO provider, you should step back and consider a few things first.

On this page we cover:

1. How to prepare your business for working with a BPO provider

Identify your requirements

Before you can measure how well a BPO provider meets your needs, you have to fully understand what your needs are. To do that, you should ask yourself some key questions:

Why do you want to work with a BPO provider?

Setting clear goals will help you understand the kind of BPO partner you should start looking for. Are you looking to improve your CX? Scale your business? Get access to the latest technology? Outlining your goals will help you narrow your search and make the process much more efficient.

Unsure about the different kinds of BPO providers out there? Check out our page on the different types of BPO providers.

What are your specific industry requirements?

Whatever sector you work in, there will be specific requirements or specifications you will want to cater to. Identifying what these are will help you refine your search when it comes to choosing a BPO provider. For example, if you work in the NFT and crypto industry, a major requirement will likely be a robust approach to fraud monitoring, prevention, and investigation.

What is your budget and timeline?

These considerations may seem basic but a surprising amount of businesses rush through this important step. Estimate what’s realistic for your business and plan accordingly.

Are you set up for a BPO partnership?

A BPO partner will want to know your requirements and policies, the ins and outs of your product or solution offering, what your USP is, and how your product or solution offering fits into the market. They’ll also want as much performance data as you can lay your hands on. Getting all these in order first can expedite the process of working with a BPO provider once you’ve found the right one.

2. How to research BPO providers

There are many BPO providers out there, so when it comes to picking one—choose wisely. Some initial steps you should take:

Look at any testimonials, case studies, or proof-of-impact statements.

Reach out to your network to see if anyone has had personal experience with the prospective BPO providers.

After that, there are four key considerations you should be aware of…

What’s their approach to CX?

If you don’t think customer experience (CX) is a major differentiating factor for businesses, it’s time to change that—and fast. Why? Because 88% of consumers say they will switch to a competitor after three or fewer bad experiences, according to research from Customer Contact Weekly.

When it comes to assessing the full capabilities of a BPO provider, their approach to CX should be at the forefront of your thinking.

Key CX questions to ask a BPO provider

    How deeply do you analyze satisfaction scores?

    How do you identify pain points? Why do they happen and how do you solve them?

    What do we need to start doing first to turn CX into a growth opportunity?

    How extensive is their industry expertise?

      Knowing that a BPO provider has a proven track record in your industry is a must. This is particularly important if you work in highly regulated sectors such as healthcare, finance, fintech, NFT, and crypto.

        Unconvinced on the importance of industry-specific compliance? 48.6% of business leaders identify data privacy and security compliance as their top priority when looking for a BPO provider, according to research from CGS.

          Key industry specific questions to ask a BPO provider

            How long have you specialized in our industry?

            How much training do you give agents?

            What do you think about the current state of our market?

            What are their training programs like?

              CX is a big deal but in order to deliver it, a BPO provider will need to have a great approach to employee experience too. If your BPO provision involves front office services like calling agents, it’s crucial you assess your BPO provider’s training methods. Well-trained agents who are given opportunities to develop their skills will stay in their job longer and provide better customer experiences.

                Key culture and training questions to ask a BPO provider

                  How would you train agents to represent our business?

                  How long does training take?

                  Is there continuous learning and development?

                  How transparent are they about performance?

                    Any outsourcing process involves an element of trust, and micromanaging your BPO provider will damage your relationship with them. That said, it’s important that you have transparency into how they run their business, where they can add value, and what happens if targets are missed.

                      Key transparency questions to ask a BPO provider

                        What value can you add beyond basic CX KPIs?

                        Do you provide transparent analytics into agent performance?

                        How do you handle failure to meet quality standards?

                        Want to learn how to vet any BPO provider?

                        Check out our Insanely Honest Guide to Outsourced CX, which gives you 26 questions to do just that.

                        3. How to work with a BPO provider

                          Once you’ve found the right BPO provider for your needs, you need to make sure the partnership bears fruit. The first thing you should consider is the nature of the relationship you will have with your BPO provider.

                            As we have emphasized (at length), the best way to ensure a return on your outsourcing investment is to engage a BPO provider with a relationship-based approach rather than a transactional one. You can read more about that in our Return on Outsourcing eBook.

                              But how can you keep your relationship strong while also ensuring you hit your targets? Here are three tips…

                                1. Assess their development plans

                                Although understanding how a BPO provider approaches training is a concern before you’ve started working with them, how they plan to develop new training becomes increasingly important the more you work with them.

                                Your business will change, new products and services will be launched, and there will be emerging market trends you’ll need to accommodate for. So keep an open dialogue with your BPO provider on how they plan to adapt their approach to keep pace with these changes. This will involve strategic planning and an agile mindset.

                                Full-service BPO providers will take this a step further. They’ll proactively address these trends and make strategic recommendations based on their industry knowledge and their interactions with your customers.

                                  2. Stay on top of performance

                                  Keeping an eye on key metrics and KPIs is a vital part of making sure your BPO provider consistently delivers on the promises set out when you first engaged them. This is the ongoing process of ensuring transparency so expect frequent reporting and regularly scheduled reviews.

                                  With increased market volatility in just about every sector imaginable, your first priority is to set the KPIs and metrics with your BPO provider at the outset. Every BPO engagement goes through tough times, so keeping an eye on the metrics helps you spot issues before they become insurmountable.

                                  It’s important you have a clear understanding of what happens if targets are missed, who will be accountable, and how responsive the team will be.

                                    3. Make sure you’re good partner in return

                                    As you keep an eye on how your BPO partner is performing, remember they’ll be keeping an eye on you too. There’s a balance to be struck between monitoring and micromanaging. Make sure you’re doing your part to maintain strong and open lines of communication.

                                    The best way to do this is to set–and commit to–a meeting cadence of weekly, monthly, and quarterly reviews. And during these meetings, stay consistent with the roles and responsibilities you mapped out in the initial stages of the relationship.

                                      Outsource with confidence

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