Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to outsource your call center operations. Now you need no longer even think about the customer service your company provides. Your inbound or outbound calling is in good hands. Isn’t it? Just patiently sit back and wait for the product sales revenue and positive customer reviews to pour in.
The truth is, you need to think of the call center operated by your business process outsourcing (BPO) partner as being as much a part of your company as your accounting unit, product development team, or whatever other in-house departments you tightly control. If you don’t, you’ll only know you’ve got problems when your existing customers leave or new sales plummet.
That’s why it’s in your best interest to know that leadership at your BPO partner is invested in communicating and engaging effectively with the call center teams that serve your interests. In this article, we will cover how management connects with their teams and inspires great work. But let’s start with a brief definition of what a BPO partner is and how a company of any size might benefit.
What Is a BPO Call Center Operation?
Business process outsourcing is the strategy of contracting a third-party partner for outside resources to provide talent or departments that are beyond the core strengths of organizations of all sizes and categories. This might be inbound and/or outbound sales, accounting, human resources, IT, or any other discipline.
Call center operations are a leading service provided by such service providers to handle inbound or outbound phone calls — or both. Your company might benefit from call center nearshoring, also known as nearsourcing. This is a practice by which the partner company is located offshore but not far from the client. This provides easier access, more fluency with personnel and makes a closer and better working relationship possible.
How Good BPO Managers Stay Connected to Their Employees and Help Drive Success
Delloite’s 2022 Global Outsourcing Survey reported strong growth in the use of third-party outsourcing because good leaders understand the shared value they provide. A good partner helps you maximize productivity, minimize costs and boost revenue!
Now that we’ve got the basic understanding out of the way, let’s look at three ways that the best BPO leaders and operations teams motivate performance and regularly engage with their (and your) teams. A good outsourcing partner’s goal, after all, is to drive success for your business by aligning their employees with your brand and goals.
1. One-on-One Meetings or Group Sessions
Do the agents in your inbound and outbound phone call centers operate remotely? If so, it wouldn’t be a big surprise. That is, after all, the direction in which business is going these days. But even if they work in a bullpen dozens of feet from leadership, that’s no guarantee that they meet regularly — or that management even knows a single agent by first name.
As mentioned, a nearshoring focus can result in a relationship strong in communication and collaboration … but that’s not guaranteed. A good outsourcing partner knows the importance of communication and that meeting regularly makes a difference in the ability to understand performance expectations that align with your (the client’s) goals.
Management should meet one-on-one, at least by teleconference, regularly with the individuals on their teams. That’s the only effective way for the agents to feel they’re part of the team. It’s how they’ll best learn the goals and expectations set before them and get acknowledged for meeting or exceeding those performance goals (or get gently prodded forward).
The most effective leadership uses quarterly or annual meetings or anniversary dates as an excuse to get the whole team together and address agents as a group, especially if regular one-on-one meetings aren’t realistic.
However it’s done, your partner should know the importance of making its agents individually a part of the team.
2. Motivate Call Center Teams with Rewards and Recognition
This was mentioned in the last section, but we’ll elaborate here. Some companies constantly use the stick rather than the carrot: Meet your personal performance goals or else…
Today’s technology makes setting and reviewing performance statistics for inbound calls and outbound calls easy. It can be stressful working 40 hours a week at a call center job in which the bosses can (and do) collect and analyze endless stats to measure the effectiveness of your call center operation in real-time. Your partner knows how long each agent takes to pick up the phone and complete the call, how many result in a sale or satisfied inquiry, how the customers rate the performance and endless other metrics. These metrics are important, but how managers motivate their teams to hit those numbers can be even more important.
If agents think management is just waiting for the metrics to hit a low point, after which they’ll be immediately terminated, imagine what that does to their stress level and, therefore, their performance going forward.
But now, turn that strategy around by putting more emphasis on what they do right and on the direction of their performance rather than the numbers alone. Yes, of course, there are times when BPO management must put the hammer down, but they should let their team know that the default attitude is one of encouragement, reward, and recognition. That should take the form of verbal praise, recognition, and material rewards.
BPO leadership should put forth clearly defined terms and conditions as to how their agents can earn those cash or prize awards and provide regular encouragement as they progress. They’ll have a happier, motivated workforce rather than a high-churn team constantly looking to leave. When you look for a productive BPO call center relationship, get a feel for how metrics are used to encourage, rather than punish, agents.
3. Encourage Feedback (Even Anonymously) from Call Center Agents
Communication is not a one-way street. You know that in your own dealings with clients or customers. If customers or potential buyers sit there silently or don’t say a word over the phone while you’re delivering your pitch and have no questions afterward, you haven’t made a connection.
It’s the same with the communication process at your outsourcing partner’s call center operation. Managers can’t have a pulse on how their team is feeling if they only occasionally conduct meetings with silent or intimidated agents. If they haven’t been forewarned in any way, your BPO leadership will be clueless about team morale…until their agents start leaving and it is too late. Or until training costs become impossibly high because they must constantly onboard new agents.
That can be avoided if their team feels safe and confident enough to ask the tough questions and bring up the issues that must be resolved to their leadership. But they’re not going to do that in fear. They won’t do it if the last person who complained lost their job.
A good outsourcing company will encourage open two-way communication without merely making that a catchphrase. Do tough questions get honestly answered? Do issues get resolved? Are employees actually encouraged to speak up? Do employees feel valued?
Even if your BPO partner leadership team thinks it has a good two-way street of communication, they should also have such tools for anonymity as old-school suggestion boxes or newer-tech digital surveys conducted by third parties. Then, management should be able to see if their anonymous comments align fairly well with the tone of communication received openly. A good outsourcing partner takes their employee’s feedback seriously, so the working environment is one where agents can do their best work!
Get the Best in a Call Center Partner
At Confie BPO, our commitment is to be the best call center partner we can be. We understand that begins – and ends – with the culture we encourage at our call centers. Our people are our biggest strength. Call us at (800) 684-2BPO (2276). You can also send us an email at contact@ConfieBPO.com or fill out a brief form online.