BPO: The ideal breeding ground for BPI (Business Process Improvement)
By Anna Kozlova, Global Director of Business Process Excellence, TELUS International
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has become a complex industry. Gone are the days of subcontracting non-strategic operations simply to reduce costs.
Now, outsourcers are looking for added value from their partners. In fact, a study by Everest Group, with support from TELUS International, found that on global scale less than 50 percent of end-of-term contact center outsourcing contracts were renewed between 2013 and 2014. One of the reasons behind this staggering decline is that the industry is trending towards less, but more meaningful relationships.
From a subcontractor to a value adding partner
By revolutionizing the customer relationship through a focus on the total customer experience, BPO has become synonymous with Business Process Improvement (BPI). BPI is the systematic approach to optimizing business processes by using data to identify and remove inefficiencies and variability.
What is more, outsourced contact centers have become extensions of their clients’ brands. Today, outsourcers not only integrate their clients’ objectives and processes; more importantly, they are able to improve them and provide tangible economic leverage through BPI.
BPI enables company processes to be faster, perform better, and to be increasingly flexible by applying recognized process improvement methodologies including Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management. The first step with BPI is to map out the processes needed to achieve the desired outcomes. This is followed by the creation of training aids to close any gaps in skill levels and the implementation of any necessary technology enhancements. The result is an improvement in quality, productivity, and of course, costs.
How BPO and BPI go hand-in-hand
Why have contact centers become a breeding ground for BPI methods? One of the reasons is the sheer number of processes, lending itself to the application of most BPI tools and methodologies. The Lean methodology for example, promotes classifying each step in the contact center process as adding or not adding value from the customer’s perspective for future state process while the Six Sigma methodology helps in identifying the root cause of defects and works to eliminate the source. Even though these methodologies where originally created to improve manufacturing processes, today they have evolved into a general business-management philosophy focused on better meeting customer needs.
Script improvement is one of the many areas where BPI methodology can positively impact contact center processes. BPI can help to enable a wide range of efficient and effective scripts by applying measurement and analysis techniques in both their initial design and subsequent improvement. For example, any pain points during a customer interaction can be identified and corrected using Voice of the Customer (VoC) analysis.
VoC is the process of capturing feedback from customers through the use of surveys, interviews, observations and discussions. By analyzing what customers are saying, VoC analysis allows contact center managers to be proactive and take immediate corrective actions to adjust processes for real-time impact. VoC can be used to continuously improve the standardized scripted interactions by allowing for more accurate diagnosis of customers’ problems and provision of better answers.
The evolving contact center
The traditional role of an outsourced contact center is expanding, and the introduction of BPI is playing a key role in that. The value delivered by an outsourcer is inherent in improved KPIs, including: customer satisfaction, conversion, response time, first-call resolution, and average handling time.
Some contact centers have even created highly structured and complex BPI departments that are managed with tools from Lean Six Sigma. For example, at TELUS International we empower our operational team leaders, almost 70% of whom are Lean Six Sigma trained, to utilize the right BPI tools to drive process improvements and cost savings for our clients.