How to Choose the Perfect BPO Vendor

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.

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