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BPO vs. AI: Which Option Should Your Call Center Use? 

Life moves pretty fast in a call center. During busy times of the year, many call centers discover they need a little extra help to provide high-quality customer service

Fortunately, there are great options available when a call center needs help. The two primary options are business process outsourcing and artificial intelligence. With BPO, you get the benefits of outsourcing your needs to actual human agents. With AI, you get all the benefits that come from automation. 

Which solution is best for your call center? Is it possible to benefit from both? Keep reading to learn more about each option. 

Why Use BPO for a Call Center? 

Business process outsourcing provides a versatile solution for the different needs of your call center. This includes back-office necessities that help keep your business running and the customer phone services that drive the business. 

For example, your call center may need help with an overwhelming call for customer service. With BPO, you can effectively increase the number of your customer service specialists without breaking the bank by hiring more full-time staff. Plus, you can engage a BPO on an as-needed basis if your company sees seasonal spikes. 

Your call center might also need help with things like payment processing, marketing, HR, and lead generation. A good BPO company is like a “one-stop-shop” that can help take care of your different needs as they surface. 

Why Use AI for a Call Center? 

Artificial intelligence can help your call center automate many of your needs. This includes providing automated online chat services to customers and providing predictive call routing and interactive voice response. 

The truth is that for most call centers, it’s not a question of relying exclusively on BPO or exclusively on AI. Chances are that your existing phone system uses some AI elements to provide you with important analytics and also offers your customers various self-service options. Customers often enjoy the convenience of these options, and they help to cut down on how many calls you receive each hour. 

In other words, you don’t necessarily have to stop using AI to benefit from BPO. Instead, you should determine whether AI alone is enough to help your company thrive and grow or whether BPO is the better option. 

phone with headset

What Option Do Call Center Customers Typically Prefer? 

Between BPO and AI, customers usually prefer BPO. That is because customers ultimately prefer speaking to a live agent rather than an automated line. 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. How many times have you gotten stuck on an automated phone call? It usually doesn’t take very long for frustration to kick in, prompting the caller to press the button to speak to a live agent. 

When it comes to customer service, a BPO agent can do almost everything that AI can do and then some. However, AI most certainly cannot do everything that BPO can. 

What About AI Limits? 

AI faces some limitations in a call center environment, including difficulty recognizing what people are saying. Even when AI works perfectly well, customers still prefer speaking with a live agent who can help with more complex problems. 

If you’ve ever had trouble requesting information from the virtual assistant available through your smartphone, tablet, or speaker, then you know how finicky AI-based voice recognition can be. When the technology doesn’t understand you, all of the convenience it offers is quickly replaced with anger. 

Additionally, there are many tasks where an AI bot cannot fully help a customer and a customer service representative must intervene. If artificial intelligence is unable to assist with many of the issues your customers face, you are better off using business process outsourcing, which provides you with more live agents. 

Are There Downsides To Current AI? 

As impressive as AI is, it’s still a “work in progress.” Most call centers would never trust artificial intelligence to handle the majority of their customer interactions due to the potential for problems. Also, AI is often too expensive for small businesses. 

In many ways, trust is the bottom line here. When you’re facing a tricky situation with a customer, would you want to let a trained CSR specialist handle it or just leave it to AI? 

Ultimately, live customer service agents are always more trustworthy than AI. With BPO, you can get as many additional live agents as your call center needs and still use AI for your phone system, websites, and customer relations management, letting your business effectively enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Which Is Better for a Call Center: BPO or AI? 

Business process outsourcing is a better choice than artificial intelligence for your call center. BPO is more versatile, more cost-effective, and more futureproof than AI will ever be. 

As great as AI is, it isn’t very versatile. An AI program can do what it has been programmed to do: no more, no less. Once a customer reaches the limits of what AI can help them with, they’ll need to speak to a live agent. Why not cut out the AI “middle man” and provide more live agents via BPO? 

BPO is also much more cost-effective than AI. When you rely on artificial intelligence, you often have to invest quite a bit of money, and if it’s powered by software as a service (commonly called SaaS), then you’ll be paying for that AI indefinitely. No matter how much or how little you rely on the AI, you’ll keep paying the same price. 

With BPO, you can use it as much or as little as you want. For example, you might just need a few extra agents to make it through the holiday season. When that’s over, you can stop paying for BPO rather than it being an ongoing monthly expenditure like AI. This is just one of many ways BPO can save you money

Finally, no AI is truly futureproofed. Technology is constantly evolving. While this can be exciting, it means that you may be forced to invest in different systems over time as artificial intelligence evolves. Having to get used to a new AI system every year or two is a frustrating experience for both your employees and your customers. 

Business process outsourcing is effectively futureproofed, though, because BPO agents are lifelong learners who receive continuous training in technology, customer service, and industry-specific topics. If you purchase a new AI today, the blunt truth is that it will be outdated by the time they install it. If you hire live agents through BPO today, you can rest assured that you are getting cutting-edge quality and service. 

Find the Best Business Process Outsourcing Today! 

Now you know why business process outsourcing is a better investment than artificial intelligence for any call center. But do you know where to find the BPO that you and your customers deserve? 

Confie BPO understands every aspect of both call centers and BPO. To discover what the company can do for your business, all you have to do is contact Confie today