It’s not that hard to convince fast-growing companies led by smart people that there’s value in business process outsourcing (BPO). Companies that do a good job of concentrating on their core mission know they can’t afford to be distracted by all the factors involved in serving a growing marketplace. Whether that’s handling calls from customers who are struggling to make full use of the product or service, or trying to determine the best way to send parts to Poughkeepsie, outsourcing those tasks to vendors with specialized expertise can meet the need more quickly and more affordably than staffing up internally.
Many of those issues manifest as pain points as companies grow. When sales were at X units annually, it was easy for internal staff to interrupt their normal tasks to guide a frustrated customer through the resolution of a problem. Now that sales have mushroomed to 5X units, staff members are so busy handling calls and other issues outside their expertise that they can’t focus on what they do best. Using BPO to handle tasks such as help desk and customer service calls will improve productivity, customer satisfaction, and team morale.
That said, even companies that have embraced BPO as a concept often fail to realize the full benefits of outsourcing — or find themselves in uncomfortable situations — because they opt to work with several different vendors instead of finding a single business partner capable of functioning as a one-stop-shop. As your business continues to grow, you need to be certain your vendor/business partner has the depth and resources to scale along with you.
A great example of that is one of the nation’s largest shipping franchises, with more than 5,000 locations. Every location has several computers, along with multiple printers, copiers, and related devices using the company’s software. Company leaders prefer to focus on strategic challenges such as marketing and developing new services, so they decided to engage Netfor as their outsourced help desk. Now, when a franchisee’s employee in Arizona can’t log on to their computer, or when a store manager in North Dakota encounters a strange error code on a copier, a Netfor service agent guides them to resolution. Franchise operators assume the friendly help is coming from their corporate offices, and it leaves them feeling supported.
Managing all that technology and maintaining an inventory is incredibly time-consuming for a company with 5,000-plus nationwide stores. Once again, the company’s leaders recognized the benefits of outsourcing and turned to Netfor’s fulfillment services to get the job done. Our team picks inventory, stages, and images it if needed, and then packs and ships replacement or updated equipment as needed.
What happens when one of those pieces of technology needs to be installed or repaired? Instead of developing its own far-flung service team, this shipping franchise reached out to leverage our nationwide network of skilled field service technicians. Franchisees don’t know (or really care) who pays the service technician who’s helped them. All they know is the job will get performed correctly and on time.
Two key advantages of working with a single-source BPO are shared knowledge and economies of scale. The knowledge piece is more important than many companies realize. For example, if you’re working with three separate BPO vendors, you’ll need to invest the time to bring all three up to speed. Each will have to learn your business and your communication and reporting preferences, not to mention making ongoing updates to knowledge as they arise.
Compare that to the one-stop-shop approach. Companies already working with a company like ours can add service areas with little to no onboarding. Our system and our teams have already ingested the knowledge, the language, and just as important, your company’s culture. We don’t have to relearn anything, because we know how you think, how you talk, how you want your stakeholders to be treated, and how you want us to work with you. When one of these franchise locations encounters a problem with technology, the agent who answers the call has the knowledge to help and immediate access to all services if needed. The customer gets a faster solution without having to contact multiple entities.
When the company decides to deploy a brand-new technology, they only have to educate one business partner. That reduces the burden on internal staff, too. Plus, reporting and tools are going to be centralized and consistent across all the services the company chooses to outsource.
There’s an old saying that it’s dangerous to put all of one’s eggs in a single basket, but in today’s continually accelerating marketplace, it’s becoming clear that divvying those eggs into multiple baskets is less efficient, more costly and creates more opportunities for things to go wrong. Smart BPO begins with a partner who’s ready to grow with your company’s needs.
Jeff Medley is the CEO and founder of Netfor, https://www.netfor.com/