How to Choose the Perfect BPO Vendor

Improve contact center operations by identifying when to replace your BPO service provider. This guide addresses 6 common problems between client companies and their BPO, steps to correct the issues, what's involved in a current state evaluation, and how to leverage the expertise of a trusted partner.

Find Your Perfect BPO Vendor: Course Correction Steps and Current State Evaluations

A Publication by Insite

A Publication by Insite

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.


ABSTRACT Outsourcing companies and the BPO industry in general, have grown exponentially over the past many years. It has flourished along with the rise of social media, automation, multichannel communication, and the drive towards robust customer experience. This trend has companies, with varying business needs, contracting with an external service provider. In this case a business process outsourcing vendor (BPO). These needs can vary from basic HR, accounting, and payment processing services to more advanced needs, such as artificial intelligence for IT services or tech support.

Many BPO companies do a great job meeting every customer support or outsourcing service expectation. But what if yours does not?

What are the warning signs that your BPO service provider should be replaced? We will share the most common problems our front office, back-office, human resources, and contact center professionals see every day. And uncover the best-in-class solutions used within the world's top BPO vendors. Hopefully, this information will help resolve your situation and allow your operation to get back on track whether it be a customer interaction and customer loyalty, quality assurance issue, workflows, or optimizing business functions.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.


BPOs are more than just service providers. They are direct extensions of your organization. In many cases, they are the face of your firm. As such, these companies play critical roles in keeping your customers happy. If you suspect things aren't working, an in-depth understanding of your vendor's performance is crucial to determine your next step.

But what are the warning signs that it may be time to consider a new vendor? These are the 6 most frequent problem areas our contact center professionals see between client companies and their BPOs.

1. PERFORMANCE ISSUES Before you hire a vendor, performance targets are usually folded into the RFP, discussed during the interview process, and written into the final contract. These stipulations regarding the specifics of what your BPO is expected to do and the outcomes that result from the backbone of the relationship. Whether this relationship remains healthy or not depends not only on your vendor fulfilling these commitments but also on their willingness to adapt to new targets and goals.

PERFORMANCE ISSUES CAN CROP UP IN SEVERAL AREAS: 1. Metrics - KPIs - Reporting 2. Training Programs

3. Workforce Management 4. Technology / Platforms 5. Sales and / or Quality Goals

If performance issues arise in any of these areas, vendor management should consult the contract and hold the BPO accountable as soon as possible. The longer performance issues hang around, the higher the risks to customer satisfaction and your brand's reputation.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.

2. COSTS ARE OUT OF LINE Is your vendor giving you a fair shake when it comes to price? Sure, they may be adhering to the letter of the contract in terms of time clocks and hourly rates. But is the service you're paying for a good deal? Are the invoices accurate? And what is your vendor doing to squeeze the most out of each dollar you send their way? Are they investing in new knowledge management platforms that speed agents along and give customers what they're looking for? Are they installing AI and automation for the repetitive tasks that slow agents down? How do they score on omnichannel integration? If you sense you're paying too much or your ROI is too low, these are a few of the questions you should be asking. Dig deep into your vendor's processes and discover the gaps that increase your bill or cost you untapped revenue. 3. RECRUITING / ATTRITION CHALLENGES Staffing problems can present in the form of an under-qualified workforce, high attrition levels, the inability to recruit and fill roles, or all of these. Your vendor should provide a weekly readout on their ability to hire and retain staff. They should also communicate any challenges that prevent them from hitting targets. We've all experienced the frustration that accompanies a call with an agent who lacks knowledge or communication skills. High turnover exacerbates the problem as new agents typically need to ramp up through training before moving onto the frontlines. Speed to competency depends on the level of talent hired and the effectiveness of onboard training. And if a shortage of agents persists because of high attrition or ineffective recruiting, customer experience takes a hit due to long hold times, excessive AHT, unsatisfactory resolutions, etc. Plus, employee experience suffers among the remaining agents because they are overworked, a negative feedback loop that fuels even more attrition.


© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.

4. CULTURE CLASH Different companies possess different corporate cultures. Think of culture as a set of business personality traits. It's the feel of the company combined with the way work is handled. Culture may be driven by values or the lack of them. Though culture is intangible, it can be felt. Customers sense a company's culture when they interact with customer service. Culture is even more palpable to employees. They live it. What's the feel of your company? Is it a "loose" organization or a "tight" one? Does it exude a customer-first approach? Is it upbeat, approachable, and transparent? Chances are that your company invests considerable effort to project the right image to your customers. Why? Because aside from great products and services, an appealing corporate culture cultivates brand loyalty. Vendors are no different. You can feel their culture, and your customers can as well. The best vendor/client relationships usually feature two companies with similar cultures because a BPO should be a natural extension of your company. If your vendor does not project the same feeling your company has worked so hard to embody, you have a major disconnect. If cultures between your company and your BPO don't align, you'll know it. Customer reviews, complaints, and sales figures will bear it out. Your vendor management team can also sense big differences in corporate culture. Symptoms may become apparent, like noticeable friction, delays, personality conflicts, or an overall sense that things aren't running as smoothly as they could be.

5. FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES Does your vendor have the right processes and systems in place to protect your company and your customers? Is anyone doing something they shouldn't? For instance, one of our partners had a vendor with agents given access to a special perk meant for customers. The agents began using it for themselves. This situation cost our client thousands of dollars. The worst part was that the fraudulent activity wasn't even on the vendor's radar. Our client had to spot it and bring it to the BPO's attention.

In this case, the vendor clearly did not have sufficient checks and balances in place to protect the client company.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.

6. LINGERING CHALLENGES Of course, no business operation or relationship is perfect. Any of the above problems could be a temporary blip on the radar screen. If dissatisfaction with your vendor has been called out and solutions have been applied, any temporary challenge will not last. The ones that don't resolve should be taken as warning signs. How long is too long? This depends on the problem and the circumstances, considering short-term and long-term goals. In most cases, six months is a fair length of time to give a vendor to work out a kink. This timeframe could be longer or shorter depending on the scope of the challenge and the proportions of its solution. One thing's for sure, the longer problems continue, the more costly the damage.



Now that we've identified a few of the main warning signs that it may be time to consider hiring a new BPO, let's focus on what to do to correct the course.

You have a couple of options:

• One, you can terminate your existing vendor relationship and find a new vendor. • Or two, you can correct the shortcomings and continue with your current vendor.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.


Certain conditions need to be met before a vendor relationship can be legally terminated. First, a change can be made if the vendor contract is set to expire. Most contracts last around three years. After that, client companies are free to move on if they wish or re-negotiate a new deal. Ties can also be severed if either party breaches the contract. If a vendor fails to deliver what was stipulated in the contract, your contract may allow for it to be voided. Check with your attorney. In any case, a current state evaluation of your vendor is recommended to start. This is a health checkup of your BPO's operations, its performance, and your relationship to your BPO. Current state evaluations may take many different forms, a cost analysis, a business case, or a capability model to name a few. A qualified evaluation partner will be able to offer a wide-ranging menu of options you may pick from and customize to suit your operational goals. These cover all aspects of your outsourced call center, including a look at your in-house vendor management team. Once the evaluation is complete, informed decisions regarding your vendor can be made based on facts. Though some insights can be revealed through crunching data at a distance, a real boots-on-the-ground approach is necessary to ferret out the true details of a vendor's current state. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

• Key stakeholders should be interviewed from both companies. • Side-by-side observations should be conducted with agents. • KPIs and other metrics should be gathered. • Recruiting, training, Workforce Management, and Quality and Calibration should be scrutinized. • A close inspection of processes, technology, reporting, and future-state plans needs to be included.


In short, every single stone that can be turned over within the contact center operation should be turned over to determine the health of the vendor and its job performance.

Although organizing and analyzing this information can start during discovery, it really proceeds in earnest once data gathering is complete. Here is where the magic happens. Strengths and weaknesses filter out. Gaps become apparent. Root causes reveal themselves. A clear picture comes into focus to show exactly what's going on and why. Process maps give stakeholders an easy way to see the data after it has been analyzed. Map annotations show the exact locations of strengths and weaknesses. They also call out opportunities for improvement and reveal the places to make them. Ancillary data, photos, charts, and graphs can be tucked in along the process flow chart to underscore findings. All these assets come together to present an accurate and visible image of current-state operations.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.

A list of improvement recommendations accompanies any solid current state evaluation. Discovered by leveraging data analysis and comparisons to best-in-class industry benchmarks, these improvement opportunities help decision-makers decide upon future-state directions. Armed with a complete trove of actionable intel and associated financial forecasts, executives can confidently decide whether to begin searching for a new BPO or improve the one they have.


Not all vendors need replacing. A current state evaluation sometimes reveals performance issues that may be solved. A good report will outline where these problems occur, how to fix them, and the expected financial and performance results. If the report was prepared by a truly effective contact center improvement partner, that firm will stick by your side and implement the solutions with you. Next, your team rolls into implementation mode, applying recommended solutions to correct root cause problems. A current state evaluation that includes legitimate improvement opportunities now serves as a roadmap to success. A change management initiative may be necessary. Training might be required or new platforms. Remember, whatever happens, data measurements should continue through this phase and extend into post-implementation to ensure new strategies deploy successfully. A qualified contact center improvement partner has other advantages, too. First, you have a qualified advocate with a vested interest in your success. Secondly, they can fill in gaps with temporary staff augmentation and trainers where needed. They are fully equipped to continue measurements and to compare them to their library of benchmarks. They'll also spot potential problems before they happen. Finally, you'll get continual advice on performance improvements, efficiency increases, cost savings, and coming innovations.

The result is a retooled vendor that functions at best-in-class performance levels.


The current state evaluation of your current BPO also plays a valuable role in the quest for a new vendor if that path is chosen. Since the report lays out in detail all the plusses and minuses of an entire BPO contact center operation from end to end and compares it to leading industry benchmarks, it can be used to map out the desired performance characteristics and other traits that a new vendor should have.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.


Your course of action is set. You decided to obtain a new vendor. It's time to implement.

1. CREATE A SOLID RFP USING THE CURRENT STATE EVALUATION If you begin a search for a new BPO, the creation of a solid RFP will be your first step. The current state evaluation you just received will help enormously as you compile and articulate all the requirements into this document. Obviously, you'll want to include operational processes and performance levels the report shows your current vendor executing positively. Conversely, you'll need to close the gaps in areas found lacking. A good partner firm with deep knowledge of contact centers can prove helpful here. A data-driven RFP automatically screens out undesired vendors and automatically prequalifies applicants, saving time and effort. The current state evaluation of your old vendor also delivers both tactical and strategic insights to be written into the new vendor contract. Roles, responsibilities, and outcomes become unmistakably clear in an operating agreement written in a language that articulates precisely what success looks like. By leaving nothing to chance and decreasing ambiguity to a bare minimum, the prospect of accomplishing all your goals increases dramatically.

2. ACCESS NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND PLATFORMS Changing vendors provides an opportunity to take advantage of human process, platform, and technology upgrades that didn't exist at the beginning of your current vendor term. But how do you know what next-generation tools apply? Again, it's wise to engage a partner firm with their finger on the pulse of your industry. They will share what's out there as well as what's on the horizon.


© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.

3. NEW VENDOR SELECTION PROCESS BEGINS With a finalized RFP in hand, your company is ready to start the selection process. The universe of vendors is quite large. There are niche BPOs that specialize in a certain industry silo. There are boutique BPOs, small in headcount and spread across multiple industries. Some are U.S.-based. Some near shore. Some offshore. Many are hybrid in terms of geography. There are in-office call centers, WFH call centers, and even AI call centers. Then there are the behemoth companies that cater to every conceivable contact center configuration imaginable. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages.

Be methodical and very careful as you weed out undesirables and narrow down to a shortlist of good fits. Additional research and capability models are required to vet contenders.

Here's an example. A firm comes in with an appealing cost structure and claims a ready base of qualified agents from their local area. Can they pull this off and maintain the CSAT goals you need? Hopefully so. But suppose you research their market and find that a huge retail organization routinely fills hundreds of positions at an hourly rate $1.50 higher than your vendor pays. In that case, their guarantee probably doesn't hold water. There are disruption concerns like weather, natural disaster, and government. There are health issues to consider. Can the vendor flex staff levels up and down to match your demand? What percentage of their client base, and therefore your company's level of importance, would you represent to the vendor? What's their corporate culture like? What do their clients say? Once a potential list of candidates has been cut down to a very short list, a current state evaluation of these firms should commence. It covers all the same areas mentioned above for your existing vendor. These reports can be invaluable tools when tweaking the new vendor as you integrate them into your company. They also help enormously when a final choice has been made, and you're at the contracting stage. 4. DRAFT A BINDING AGREEMENT And speaking of contracts, drafting a binding agreement that covers everything you need is one of the most critical steps in this process. Be sure to enlist qualified expertise to help you craft it. Certainly, contract attorneys play a role here, but we recommend leveraging the wisdom of your trusted contact center partners as well. They can help lock in the performance and cost levels you seek. You can avoid the omissions and wording nuances that can lead to nightmare scenarios down the road. And they can share industry pricing benchmarks to make sure negotiations are fair. As the contract is being negotiated, thought should be given to vendor standup so that before the ink has dried, your team can begin the transition from your old BPO. Identify which platforms, processes, and departments need to be changed or finetuned to integrate seamlessly into your success plan. The research and capability model of the new vendor comes into play. Key players and systems have already been identified. Your implementation team will now use this information as they proceed with standup. KPI and other measurements during this phase, and after operations fully begin, will provide a clear view of whether or not goals are achieved.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.


If you know the warning signs surrounding vendor replacement, you probably also know you have another question to answer. Should you attempt a current state evaluation and/or the re-hire process alone with an exclusively in-house team? Or should you partner with an outside firm? There are merits to both.

If you have the staff to take it on, and they, in turn, have the skills and time to do the job properly, you know the people ahead of time, and you'll save cost in the short run.

Suppose you partner with a company that specializes in contact center evaluations and improvement. In that case, you gain a team of experts who have been there before, professionals who know the players and the playing field. But which companies do you consider? After all, there are many to choose from.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.

MUST-HAVES WHEN CONSIDERING A CONTACT CENTER IMPROVEMENT PARTNER This section provides a checklist of must-have qualifications to help you find the right fit in a contact center improvement partner. The best practice for current state call center evaluations is to select a partner firm that specializes in contact centers. During an in-depth discovery phase, these companies get into the operational weeds because their staff truly understands contact center operations. A good way to know if they have this understanding is to ask prospective partners where their talent comes from. If their team represents a healthy cross-section of call center departments and job roles, check that box. Next, request the same information about their analysts. Data collection and analysis are only as good as the people completing the tasks. It is also important to consider firms large enough to handle the job and with enough depth of experience. These companies should have an ample number of talented professionals who have "been there and done that," people familiar with a variety of industry silos. Ask for proof that they know yours. If they do, and if they've handled multiple projects over long-time spans, they will have collected benchmark information and best practices critical to solving your problems. Companies that deploy boots on the ground inside your BPO complete a very thorough and holistic POV report on your vendor's current state. They do more than listen to call recordings and pour over metrics from afar. They go onsite and interview vendor leadership and agents in person. They sit side by side as agents speak to your customers, taking note of items and behaviors that don't show up in KPI reporting. They get a feel for culture, strengths, weaknesses, recruiting issues, flaws in workforce management, attrition and recruiting factors, and dashboards – in other words, they see the entire operational flow as first-hand witnesses. Onsite observers see every single step of call center processes and the true interactions between the vendor, your customers, and your company. They see what actually happens as opposed to what is supposed to happen. Experienced partners have wide and deep knowledge of platforms, software, and technologies. In any business, technology is a valuable tool that can help improve a business's communication, efficiency, and capacity. For instance, good knowledge management tools give agents access to unlimited information at their fingertips and allow communication with other employees to resolve calls quickly. What's your vendor's technology score? A qualified contact center partner will find out. Many other questions must be answered when drafting a capabilities assessment of your contact center vendor. Is the BPO good at AI? What do their recruit/retention plans look like? Training initiatives and implementation? Client retention and CSAT rates? Workforce management? Are they top-heavy in any way while they claim to be balanced? What are their plans to better CX and EX? Automation? Predictive analytics? How are their IVR talents? Omni-Channel? Languages? Self-service? CRM? What does employee performance reporting look like? Data Security? Any acquisitions or systems upgrades that may potentially disrupt service temporarily? Does your BPO's long-term staffing model meet your needs? Your evaluation partner needs to be an expert in all these areas and several more.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.

THE CURRENT STATE EVALUTION READOUT Partner organizations share the results of a current state evaluation of current vendors and vendor candidates during a briefing with stakeholders known as a readout. They usually present a findings document known as a POV report. This report contains high-level information supported by relevant data sets. Thorough and holistic POV reports will include charts, graphs, process maps, a cost analysis, business capability models, and comparisons to known industry benchmarks. The report should show improvement opportunities and the locations of these opportunities along with the workflow process diagram. It should also suggest clear recommendations on how to implement these opportunities. After attending a readout of a current state evaluation POV report covering your BPO, you should walk away with a clear picture of what's going on in every department and the data to back it up. Absorbing a clear, comprehensive, and accurate report equips stakeholders to confidently take the next steps.

YOUR FUTURE GOALS Insite provides current state evaluations and improvement opportunities. As your contact center improvement partner, we implement solutions with you. We’ve been improving call centers since 2007 using a host of proprietary and customizable products and services. Most engagements feature our 3x ROI guarantee*, which self-funds your partnership with us and makes the decision a no-brainer. Contact us if you would like a complimentary outside perspective of your current vendor situation

*Insite provides a risk-free approach by guaranteeing either increased revenue and/or reduced operational cost equal to or greater than our fee. If not, you get a full refund. Complete confidence in our proprietary process and data analysis, in combination with our quick hits, long-term initiatives, and rapid results allows us to offer this money-back guarantee. Since our inception in 2007, we have never failed to self-fund all engagements. Certain products and services are excluded. Conditions apply. Contact us for details.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.

© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.


© 2022 Insite Managed Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Confidential and Proprietary Information of Insite Managed Solutions, LLC.


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