Business Process Outsourcing, or BPO as it is commonly called for short, refers to outsourcing various aspects of your company’s business operations. A common example of this is employing a third party call center to help with customer support issues or hiring another company to handle administrative functions, payroll and accounting, or human resources. It is also common to outsource processes such as IT or tech support. Generally these processes are outsourced because a third-party company can do them more cost-efficiently than the primary company, or because the third party company is able to offer more skills and resources than the primary company. Business Process Outsourcing can make a great deal of sense in a number of circumstances. Before you hire a BPO company you need to do your homework and make sure that the company will work well for your business. The following 6 questions will help you assess their qualifications:
1) How will we be communicating?
Communication is the key to all successful relationships, especially for business relationships. If there is an emergency issue you need to know who you can call to get it quickly addressed. Likewise, you need to know who your daily contact person will be to discuss general progress and status reports. You will also need to know the contact information for the executive in charge of your company’s account so that you can discuss changes to service, pricing issues, or other overarching concerns.
2) What are you privacy policies and what security measures do you have in place?
We live in the information age; now more than ever, sensitive customer information is likely to be on some type of electronic database. If the BPO company will have access to this information you need to be certain that they will be responsible with it and keep it confidential. One of the worst PR nightmares of the internet age is the accidental leaking, or malicious hacking, of private customer information. Make sure that your company isn’t embarrassed by your BPO company’s poor security.
If the BPO company is handling administrative functions such as human resource, payroll, or finance, then they likely have access to highly sensitive and personal information about you and your employees. For obvious reasons it is just as important that this information remain absolutely secure.
3) How will charges and fees be handled?
A crucial element of any business arrangement is the financial aspect of it. For a BPO company to make sense for your business you need to be able to carefully assess their charges and fully understand what you are going to be charged. Make sure to find out if they will be charging you on an hourly basis, a weekly or monthly basis, or if there will be flat rates per service or project. You will also need to ask about any additional fees that may be tacked on, and what, if any, the charges will be if you need to change or cancel your service.
4) Can the BPO company grow with you?
If your company is just starting out or if you are in the process of significantly expanding your business, then you will also need to know how capable the BPO company is of meeting not only your present needs, but also your future needs. Would they be able to handle it if you doubled your volume with them? Would that result in any reduction of quality or delay in output? What if your business size shrank instead? Would they charge you higher fees for a lower volume?
5) How will the BPO company help your company reach its goals?
This is a more general question that will obviously vary depending on what service the BPO company is providing and what the particular goals of your company are. The answer they give should be very illuminating and will provide you with insight into how the BPO company works and what frame of mind they are operating within. At the very least you need to know that they have a plan in place to handle your business. On the flipside, it is also important that you ask yourself this question. What do you hope to get from this business arrangement and how will it benefit your company?
6) Can the BPO company provide references?
Just as you probably wouldn’t hire a new employee without checking his or her references, you likewise shouldn’t enter into a business arrangement, especially a major one, without first checking the BPO company’s references and evaluating its resume. What are other customers saying about them? What type of results have they gotten in the past? Are the references they’re giving you honest and unbiased?
The Refinery is pleased to offer business process outsourcing as one of our services. We are more than happy to sit down with you and discuss how the above questions would relate to your business. Let us help you make your work life easier with business process outsourcing.