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5 Elements of a Thriving BPO Partnership in 2021 

BPO partnerships can last a single contractual period or years, depending on the relationship between client and vendor. In this article, we reveal the key elements of a thriving BPO partnership to achieve sustained, long-term growth.

Outsourcing is an optimal way for companies to solve business challenges and enable business transformation. By transferring business processes such as customer support to a well-reputed business process outsourcing (BPO) vendor, a company can instead allocate more of its resources towards areas of its expertise such as product innovation, business expansion, and enhancing core competencies.

However, a BPO partnership can’t thrive unless specific elements are present that create a fair and flexible business relationship. In this article, we highlight the key elements of a successful BPO partnership that lead to long-term, sustained growth.

Aligned Operational Objectives

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According to Deloitte’s Global Outsourcing Survey 2020, approximately 70% of companies reported cost reduction as the primary objective of outsourcing, whereas in 2018 the main objectives were enabling speed to market, scaling faster, enhancing user experience, and achieving a competitive advantage. This shift to cost reduction as a primary objective is largely due to the reeling effect caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to greater prioritisation of financial stability over innovation.

Scicom took a proactive approach to accommodate these changes by introducing Global Connect, an industry-leading remote customer support model that saves costs while maintaining equal levels of performance. Additionally, Scicom regularly schedules reviews and reassessments with clients as part of its standard operating procedure to plan, prepare, and respond to new trends and developments. As operational objectives evolve over time, it’s essential for both parties to be in lockstep when responding to new business challenges and shifting priorities.

A Transparent Partnership

The maxim “under promise and over deliver” may work in some situations, but when it comes to an outsourcing partnership, it’s absolutely crucial for both sides to be open and honest with each other, especially in fundamental areas such as governance, operations, management, and administrative structures. Open lines of communication between leadership teams will ensure that operations are moving towards the strategic direction agreed upon. When a culture of transparency trickles down to the rank and file, it also helps to improve accountability and employee engagement.

Responsive 2-Way Communication

The best way to ensure consistently smooth operations is by setting clear communications expectations from the onset of the partnership. A healthy client-provider relationship is where parties from both sides regularly meet and follow a structured agenda to methodically facilitate key areas of discussion. It’s important for both the client and BPO vendor to have a suitable plan and platform to swiftly discuss these issues and implement solutions before they can cause disruption to operations. It is critical for both parties to clearly understand each other’s priorities and align themselves on goals, processes, and expectations. Nowadays, best practices include real-time reporting and the use of digital collaboration tools to keep the client informed of the current status of operations and potential obstacles.

Adaptive Contingency Plans

It’s impossible to plan for every possible situation – inevitably complications will arise such as staff attrition, compliance issues, or unforeseen delays. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has completely upended the normal way of doing things and companies are at different stages of transition to the new normal. These kinds of situations test the strength of a BPO partnership.

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A well-prepared BPO vendor will be able to navigate these issues and advise clients on the best way to move forward. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Scicom immediately launched Global Connect, which empowered the company to transition 94% of its BPO employees to work from home within 7 days with no overall loss in performance or KPIs. BPO vendors must have this level of agility in 2021 in order to maintain optimal performance levels even during uncertain times.

Shared Vision & Values

When a business enters an outsourcing partnership with a BPO vendor, the initial discussions and planning should focus on agreeing on a common vision and shared values. This sets the direction for the partnership to mature over time – hopefully with a spirit of good faith and with the intention of creating win-win scenarios for both parties. From the onset, key questions should be asked to determine a shared strategic vision: How does each party define good customer experience? To what extent should technology be integrated to enhance CX? How do the client's financial objectives fit into their customer experience goals?

BPO vendors should develop an intimate understanding of their client’s business, so they can be instrumental in preparing for their client’s future business challenges or handling the introduction of new product innovations.