What Is Business Process Outsourcing? Everything You Need To Know
If you want to enhance your company’s flexibility, reduce hiring costs, and create more efficient business processes, business process outsourcing (BPO) may be the right choice for your organization.
Not sure what business process outsourcing is, how it can benefit your organization, or if it’s right for you? In this blog from AnswerFirst, we’ll discuss the basics of business process outsourcing, how it works, and the advantages of BPO. Let’s get started.
What Is A Business Process?
You probably already have a basic understanding of what a business process is, even if you’ve never had the term defined to you. But before we get into the details of business process outsourcing and what it is, it’s important to establish a baseline understanding of what a business process is.
Basically, a business process is any collection of related activities accomplished by people, equipment, or both, that helps produce a product or service, or helps your company reach a business goal.
This process is the fundamental building block of any organization, and these processes can vary significantly in complexity. However, all businesses operate using some combination of different business processes, which work together to further the goals of the company, sell products and services, and more.
Customer Service – An Example Of A Business Process
Even though we’ve defined a business process for you, you may be looking for an example of what we mean – so let’s take customer service as an example of a business process.
Customer service is a business process that’s involved in almost every business. From retail stores to online eCommerce marketplaces, industrial manufacturing, food service – you name it! That makes customer service a great example of a business process.
Each company is different, of course, but in a general sense, we can say a few different things about customer service and how it works:
- Customers contact your business to speak to a customer service representative
- The customer service representative communicates with the customer about their issue (on the phone, using email, via social media, etc.)
- The customer service representative works to find a resolution for the issue – for example, re-sending an item that was damaged in transit to a customer
- The customer service representative comes to a mutually-beneficial solution with the customer, resolving their issue. This serves a specific business goal – namely, making sure that the customer is satisfied, is happy with the products or services offered, and will be more likely to use the services of your company in the future
That’s just one example. As mentioned, everything that’s done at a particular business – logistics, manufacturing, data processing, managing orders, and more – can all be classified as different business processes that work together as the core “building blocks” of the organization.
Putting It Together – The Basics Of Business Process Outsourcing
Now that you understand what a business process is and we’ve given you an example of a business process, it’s time to put it together and discuss business processing outsourcing, or BPO for short.
BPO, as the name suggests, is a way to outsource one or more of your business processes to a third-party company, such as AnswerFirst. In other words, you’re contracting essential business functions to an outside service provider, and allowing a part outside of your company to handle these functions.
The most common outsourced business processes include customer service, accounting, payroll, and HR (human resources) management. Just about any business process can be outsourced – though some are simpler to outsource than others.
How Does Business Process Outsourcing Work With AnswerFirst?
Since every business process is different, you may be wondering what business process outsourcing actually looks like with AnswerFirst. So let’s take a look at two common examples now!
- Troubleshooting and Helpdesk Support – In this case, business process outsourcing would look like this – a customer calls your help line and is connected to a representative from AnswerFirst.From there the AnswerFirst team member will triage the issue based on your criteria and, whenever possible, work to solve the issue. When not possible they will create a trouble ticket in your system for the issue, set caller expectations and properly escalate the ticket to members of your staff.
They can also edit and update existing tickets while working closely with the caller to gather information and get a better understanding of the caller’s issues and needs. Then, they will work with your team members to resolve the issue, and can contact the requestor for additional information or to notify them when the issue is fixed.
- New Clients and Sales Calls – Nobody wants to miss an important client call, especially if this is a potential new customer or client.One of our team members will answer the call using your company’s name, gather information from the caller, set expectations while assuring them their information has been gathered.
Per your instructions, callers could be patched to a member of your sales staff, data could be written to your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or other software or work order programs.
Call backs could be scheduled and additional information can be provided or sent to the caller when appropriate
The key to the process is that, behind the scenes, the team at AnswerFirst is rarely doing just one thing. We work closely with your company to start, add to, or even end a set of business processes – and with our training and skills, our team of experienced team members can handle just about any task.
By using AnswerFirst, you can outsource a variety of your business processes – and still maintain the ability to triage emergencies, escalate them through the chain of command, and provide your customers and clients with an excellent experience.
Understanding The Benefits Of Business Process Outsourcing
So, business process outsourcing involves hiring a third-party company like AnswerFirst to handle one or more of your business processes – such as customer service. But why would you bother with BPO? What are the benefits?
Here are just a few reasons why organizations – particularly small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) choose to outsource their business operations.
Avoid hiring more full-time staff
Hiring full-time workers can be very expensive, particularly for solo entrepreneurs or very small businesses that may only have a few employees.
For example, if you run a successful eCommerce business, you may find that your order volume has increased so much in the past few months that you can’t handle customer service inquiries on your own – but you can’t quite afford to hire a full-time customer service employee.
This is a situation where BPO is perfect. By contracting with a company like AnswerFirst, you would be able to provide your customers with excellent customer service without bringing on a full-time employee – and you’d only pay for the time you use.
Get a scalable solution
One of the best things about BPO is that it’s scalable. In other words, business process outsourcing can grow with your company – without requiring you to hire more full-time workers.
Once you’ve defined the business processes you want to be performed by a third-party company, you can typically expand or reduce your commitment whenever you want. As your company grows, you can continue to add capacity – such as more customer service representatives – and if things slow down, it’s easy to scale down your service commitment accordingly.
In contrast, hiring full-time workers means that you won’t be able to scale your business up and down as effectively. It’s difficult, costly, and time-consuming to find new full-time workers – and to let workers go who are no longer necessary for your business.
Enjoy higher business process availability
Most third-party BPO providers, such as AnswerFirst, provide 24/7 business process availability. This can be a very powerful tool for you and your business.
For example, if you choose a company like AnswerFirst to handle returns and exchanges for an eCommerce store, your customers can contact a customer service representative and get the help they need 24/7.
This way, you do not have to hire a dedicated full-time staff member, or spend nights and weekends answering emails and phone calls for your business. In turn, this will enhance customer satisfaction and boost the reputation of your company.
Spend more time on core competencies
Above all else, outsourcing business processes lets you spend more time on your core competencies – and continue building a stronger organization. You can spend less time on administrative tasks like answering customer service queries or processing orders, and spend more time on the core competencies of your business.
For all of these reasons – and quite a few more – BPO can be a good fit for organizations of any type and size. Both small businesses and large, enterprise companies commonly make use of BPO for a variety of business purposes.
Explore The Benefits Of Business Process Outsourcing With AnswerFirst!
At AnswerFirst, we offer more than just an experienced team of call center professionals – we’re a leading choice for business process outsourcing. Our 100% US-based call center team is available 24/7, and we only bill you for the time that you use – increasing availability and efficiency while decreasing your costs.
So don’t wait. To explore the benefits of BPO in more detail and to learn what AnswerFirst can do for you, just contact us online or give us a call at (800) 435-9332. We’re always here to help!