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A Step-by-Step Guide to Partnering with a Business Process Outsourcing Service Providers

The global business process outsourcing market is one of the fastest-growing industries currently. One of the best practices to keep up with your competitors is to outsource your BPO services. You can gain access to specialized skills and technologies, cut costs, and free up priceless resources to concentrate on key business operations by utilizing the experience of a BPO service provider.With over 15 years of experience in the sector, at Flat Rock Outsourcing, we understand that outsourcing BPO services can seem like a complicated and overwhelming concept for businesses at first. To assist you in navigating the process, we have prepared this step-by-step guide that explains the complete lifecycle of business process outsourcing: from consultation to ongoing management.

Your Checklist Before Outsourcing

As you make the decision to outsource, there are a couple of things that you should take care of on your checklist: defining your business objectives and identifying potential BPO providers.

Define Business Objectives

Before forming a partnership with a BPO service provider, it is critical to define your goals for outsourcing processes or establishing a dedicated team. This entails identifying the key areas that require outsourcing as well as the desired outcomes, such as cost savings, access to specialized skills, or improved process efficiency. Defining your objectives early on will allow you to effectively communicate your needs to the vendor and ensure that the partnership is aligned with your business goals.Depending on their objectives as businesses, companies outsource their various services. A financial services firm may outsource its accounts payable process to a BPO service provider to reduce costs, whereas a technology firm may outsource software development to gain access to specialized skills and reduce time-to-market. What is your goal as a business? Would you like to outsource in order to save costs or access a specialized team of experts? Do you want to hire a dedicated team, or will the time and material model work best for you?  Read our guide on how outsourcing works, to make sure you're familiar with the essential concepts in BPO.

Identify Potential Vendors

After you've defined your goals, it's time to start looking for potential vendors who specialize in the desired service and have previous experience working in your industry. This entails conducting online research and soliciting referrals from other businesses. To ensure that you find the right partner for your business, you should evaluate vendors based on their experience, reputation, and the quality of their services.We have also prepared an article for you on evaluating outsourcing providers, as it is a core decision in making an outsourcing partnership a success.

What You Should Expect from the Outsourcing Provider

Once you have defined your business objectives and identified your outsourcing provider, the process of handing over a particular business operation to your vendor begins. This usually consists of eight stages.

1. Discovery Call

It all starts with a discovery call. The client will have a comprehensive initial consultation with the BPO service provider to assess the business needs, understand the goals and objectives, and develop a customized solution. During the consultation, the vendor provides recommendations and suggestions based on their expertise and experience to ensure the best possible outcome for the client. You should prepare well for your discovery call! As your first consultation approaches, make sure you have detailed information about your business processes, existing technologies, and performance metrics ready to share with your identified vendor. This will assist the outsourcing provider in developing a more precise solution and ensuring that the partnership is aligned with your business objectives. 

2. An Approach Tailored to Your Business

Basing their insights on the information gathered during the discovery call, the BPO service provider comes up with an approach tailored to your business and specific needs. To ensure a smooth transition, the customized solution includes a detailed implementation plan with timelines and milestones. In general, the solution should be in line with your business objectives and should make use of the vendor's expertise to optimize your business processes.For example, consider Company A as a manufacturing company that has been struggling with rising costs. They identify a vendor that specializes in procurement, supply chain, and logistics, and set up a discovery call to discuss their needs. The BPO service provider comes up with a tailored approach focused on cutting costs.In contrast, Company B is a software development company that has been struggling to find and retain top talent. In this case, to come up with a tailored approach, the BPO service provider suggests setting up a dedicated team with the necessary skills and expertise. 

3. Agree on Service Level Agreements

Before proceeding with the partnership, clear Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that define the scope of work, expected outcomes, performance metrics, and communication protocols must be established. SLAs provide a clear framework for measuring performance and can aid in the avoidance of future misunderstandings and disputes. Make sure to pick a vendor that pays close attention to negotiating SLAs that are realistic, achievable, and aligned with your business goals.         

By and large, SLAs include a variety of components, such as:

  • Task Description: This defines the specific services for which the BPO service provider will be responsible. It should include a detailed description of the tasks, processes, or functions that will be outsourced, as well as any specific client requirements or expectations.
  • Performance Metrics: Common metrics may include turnaround time, accuracy rates, customer satisfaction scores, or other key performance indicators (KPIs). The SLA should clearly define the target performance levels for each metric, as well as any penalties or incentives that may be associated with meeting those targets.
  • Communication Protocols: This describes the channels and protocols that will be used between the client and the BPO service provider. It should specify the frequency and format of communication, as well as any escalation procedures that will be used if problems or concerns arise.

4. Team Setup:

After you and your vendor are past the three stages of the BPO process, your outsourcing partner moves on to assemble the team that suits your business objectives the best. As a rule, it is up to the BPO service provider to prepare a detailed plan when transitioning processes to ensure a seamless transition. They might need to set up a team, or handle recruitment, depending on the service that you require. If the client requires a dedicated team, the vendor should be in charge of establishing the team, from recruitment to training. The recruitment process that the BPO service provider implements must focus on hiring candidates with the necessary skills and experience specific to your business needs. The vendor is responsible for handling these tasks and keeping you informed throughout the process.

5. Onboarding/Training

Once the team has been assembled, the BPO service provider handles the onboarding and training of the team members for your BPO service. Generally, the training should be tailored to the client's particular objectives, and in addition to the specific tasks that the team will be handling, it should cover topics like communication protocols, company culture, and work processes.

6. Ongoing Support:

After the team is established, your BPO service provider should make sure to provide ongoing management and support. This includes monitoring the performance, providing regular updates, and addressing issues as soon as they arise.At FRT, we believe that ongoing management is not limited to the team the BPO service provider assembles; it also involves continued communication with the client to ensure that they are satisfied with the services provided and that the team is meeting their expectations.In our effort to make sure our professionals are well-trained and current with the trends in their fields, we invest in our team's continuous development.

7. Regular Performance Reviews

As a rule, the vendor should conduct regular performance reviews to evaluate their team's effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. These reviews should be based on agreed-upon performance metrics and provide team members with actionable feedback to help them improve their performance. Generally, be sure to ask your vendor to provide feedback on both the positive and negative aspects of the partnership. We like to work with our clients to identify ways to improve performance.

8. Collaborative Approach:

When working with the client, the vendor should take a collaborative approach, soliciting feedback and input. This includes regular communication, collaborative problem-solving, and the ability to adapt to changing needs. Your outsourcing partner should have an open communication culture and be open to feedback and suggestions. In addition, the vendor should be proactive in suggesting new ideas and approaches to optimize your business processes and deliver maximum value to your company. 

Final thoughts

Partnering with a BPO service provider can help streamline your business processes and improve your operational efficiency. The above article has walked you through the stages of business process outsourcing, outlining what you should have ready before contacting an outsourcing vendor and what you should expect from the provider during the ongoing process of the BPO partnership.If you're ready to take the next step in your outsourcing journey, contact us. In our over 15 years of experience, we have delivered more than 1000 projects. Get in touch with us today, and our team of experts will arrange a brief call to discuss your company's needs and develop a customized strategy.

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