Digital transformation has forever altered the way we think about business processes, as well as business process outsourcing (BPO).
Historically, companies have used BPO as a way to drive down costs associated with essential but non-revenue generating processes. An example of this is financial work: Back-office tasks such as payroll and accounts receivable are commonly outsourced, as these tasks need to meet high standards of quality but do not directly contribute to the company’s profitability.
Except that they do. Departments such as payroll provide invaluable data sources for Big Data analytics techniques, empowering companies to make accurate data-driven decisions. Back-office tasks can have enormous strategic significance if you know how to make the most of what’s at your disposal.
What BPO Can Do for Your Business
For companies operating in a post-digital transformation world, BPO is more important than ever.
A good outsourcing partner can help to deliver solutions that grow your brand, build customer engagement, enable sales, and improve the quality of data. They can do it at scale, and they can do it fast.
The first hurdle to realising value with BPO is understanding what BPO can do, as well as which processes are suitable to hand over to an outsourcing provider. Here are some examples of what you can do with BPO right now, and how it can help drive value for your business:
There are two key steps involved in making a sale. First, the salesperson must obtain a lead. Then, they must convert that lead into a customer.
Most businesses would prefer that their sales team focus their talents on conversion rather than acquisition. Most salespeople feel the same way, and would rather work with a quality-assured set of fresh leads, rather than have to track down their own leads or cold call an unverified database of names.
Lead generation, therefore, is an ideal process for BPO. A BPO partner that offers a lead generation service may take any number of approaches, such as reviewing your internal data, sourcing and verifying lists of potential clients, or conducting lead-generating social media campaigns. Whatever the approach, the goal is the same: to provide your sales team with a list of potential customers that they can attempt to convert into sales.
User-generated content is the backbone of a successful digital strategy. Blog comments, user reviews, discussion forums — these are all excellent tools for building an audience and driving engagement, which can build your brand and drive traffic to your online services.
The problem with user-generated content is that it is subject to malicious usage, some of which can lead to severe reputational damage. Spam, fake reviews, inappropriate images, and other content that breaks community guidelines can have a major negative impact.
Smart moderation — powered by machine learning and guided by content moderation experts — can identify and remove the junk before it reaches your online audience. Having a quality, trustworthy, and spam-free online presence can make your web presence stand out on a chaotic internet, which will help you to help to build your community even further.
In e-commerce, accurate product tagging is often the difference between a website visit ending in a sale or a bounce.
Tagging is the structure of an e-commerce site. It determines which items will show up in search results, and also the items that show up as related products. The goal of an e-commerce site is to put relevant items in front of every customer, regardless of how they arrived at the site or what search terms they entered.
The organisational challenge with product tagging is that it becomes exponentially more time-consuming as the inventory grows. Each new item needs tags that are accurate and consistent, which sometimes can mean revising tags on older items. Tags also require regular reviews in light of analytics — customers may use search terms that you hadn’t anticipated, which means that you need to update the corresponding tags so that they appear in search results.
It’s the kind of time-consuming task that is ideal for BPO. Using an outsourcing company also gives you access to product-tagging experts who can help build a tagging hierarchy that maximises search efficacy.
Technology has, in some ways, made recruitment much harder for employers. Candidates can apply for dozens of jobs at the click of a button, and big employers with sophisticated HR infrastructures can swoop in before their rivals and grab the best people.
This has created a situation where most businesses struggle to balance speed with efficiency in their hiring process. If you don’t move quickly enough, you might miss out on a candidate who could boost your team. Move too quickly, however, and you could end up with someone who isn’t suited to the position — and a bad hiring decision can be expensive, potentially costing three times the employee’s salary.
One solution is to use BPO to streamline the hiring process. There are a number of ways to do this, such as using BPO to pre-screen CVs for the suitability, or reformatting CVs into a format that is suitable for processing by a candidate management system. Recruitment agencies can even use BPO to scan job boards and find suitable positions for available candidates.
Competitor Price Audits
Competitor analysis is more important than ever in the digital age. Customers can go online and compare prices across hundreds of providers in a matter of minutes, so each business needs to know how their prices compare against the rest of the market.
There are challenges when it comes to getting accurate pricing information. Some companies have large inventories that you have to scrape using sophisticated data-gathering tools. Once gathered, you have to clean, collate, and prepare the data in a format that is suitable for comparison against your database.
Sometimes, price-gathering may require manual intervention, such as completing an online quote. This task is best suited to a dedicated team with extensive price-gathering experience that provides reports with meaningful market insight.
Database Cleansing and Enrichment
Data is an organisation’s most valuable resource. This is especially true of the kind of high-value client data stored in a customer relationship management database, which can include vital contact information, details of key decision-makers in business, and that customer’s purchase history.
However, data is only valuable when it’s accurate. CRM data and other similar databases can go stale over time unless you regularly check and update them. There are several ways to do this, from the old-fashioned way of reaching out to people to confirm their contact details, to the more modern approach of normalising data across multiple sources.
Database enrichment is an ongoing process. Rather than working with a BPO on a one-off basis, you should look to work with a partner that can help streamline data maintenance processes over time and use automation to improve data quality.
Email continues to be one of the most popular channels for sales and marketing, with one study showing that 73 percent of businesses rate email marketing as good or excellent in terms of return on investment (ROI). Part of this is because this channel is still quite effective — Experian recently calculated the value of an email address, in terms of email marketing success, at £84.50.
The other factor in ROI is the cost of marketing via email. BPO can help minimise these marketing costs while delivering a scalable, targeted solution.
BPO can power email marketing in several ways. First, you can use experienced copywriters to create email subject lines and content that results in high open rates and click-through rates. You can also implement structures to automatically issue marketing emails to clients — for example, giving discount offers to customers whose subscription is about to expire.
Brand Sentiment Monitoring
Social media is an invaluable brand-building tool, but it can also destroy brands with equal efficiency. Brands need to be actively involved in the conversation, which is only possible if you have a deep understanding of how the public perceives your brand.
Sentiment analysis takes the guesswork out of this process. By using machine learning and natural language processing algorithms, you can follow conversations in real time and discover the emotions associated with your brand. This kind of insight allows you to amplify and encourage positive conversations, and to get out in front of any criticism.
Sentiment analysis is desirable for all brands, but not every company can afford to set up a bespoke team to monitor social media. This is where BPO comes in — offering companies a cost-effective method to nurture their brand online.
Not only do companies have more locations to monitor these days, they often have more CCTV cameras in each location. Because CCTV technology is now extremely cheap and portable, it makes it easier than ever to set up monitoring systems in every corner of every building.
Modern CCTV cameras also come with Wi-Fi connectivity and cloud support, which means that it’s now possible to monitor these devices from anywhere in the world. Rather than an on-site guard in each individual location, a security team can monitor all cameras from anywhere in the world.
Further savings are possible when you outsource monitoring duties to skilled experts, who can alert local security or even the police if something suspicious occurs. This kind of security is important even in offices, as physical security remains a vital part of data security.
Many businesses rely on BPO for elements of their fulfilment process, but BPO can tackle other elements of order processing as well.
For example, order moderation can reduce cycle times by checking incoming user-generated orders and ensuring that there are no costly errors. This can also bring down costs associated with lost items and late deliveries. A BPO partner can also route and forward your orders, ensuring that they get to the right recipient at the right time.
Business success is often a matter of fine margins. Getting a delivery to its destination on time could be the differentiating factor that causes customers to stick with you rather than moving to a competitor. BPO can help to streamline your order processing and meet expectations.
What Else Can You Do with BPO?
In theory, BPO can do anything. It just depends on finding the right outsourcing company with which to partner.
High-end BPO service providers offer skilled staff and cutting-edge systems, but they also offer something else: a deep understanding of efficient business processes. In theory, an outsource partner should be able to tackle any aspect of your organisation and find ways to create value or improve efficiency.
Great outsource partners will focus on your long-term strategic goals rather than your short-term staffing needs, and they will help you to implement new processes that deliver notable ROI. That’s why it’s so important to find an outsourcing partner with a strong commitment to infrastructure, one that provides continuous feedback and analysis, and one that helps you plan the next steps for future improvements.
Talk to Taskeater today and find out what we can do for you.