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7 min read

What's a BPO call centre and what does it do?

If your business doesn’t have the bandwidth to handle all your inbound and outbound calls, it may be time to let a BPO call centre step in.

By Liz Bauer

Last updated October 26, 2022

Not every company has the staff, tools and skills required to meet their customers’ expectations of call centre service. For some requests, customers expect a response in 15 minutes or less. For a bootstrap startup or SMB, meeting this expectation may not always be possible. That’s where a business process outsourcing (BPO) call centre comes in.

Definition: BPO call centre:

Business process outsourcing (BPO) is the act of outsourcing some aspect of your business’s operations to a third-party vendor or service provider. A BPO call centre is a team of outsourced agents who handle incoming and outgoing customer calls for other businesses. BPO call centres handle more than simply calls. Watch the video below where centre professional Rea Ninja explains how the BPO call centre industry works.

If your business doesn’t have the bandwidth to adequately handle all your inbound and outbound calls, you may want to consider outsourcing. Read on to learn how a BPO call centre can step in and provide excellent support.

BPO call centre Pros and cons

To some, the idea of outsourcing inbound call services may seem like a risky move. After all, outside agents simply aren’t as knowledgable as salaried employees when it comes to your company and its products. But quickly getting up to speed is what BPO call centre agents are trained to do. They’re experts at adapting to another company’s processes and help desk tools to quickly reference the resources required to assist customers with support questions. Plus, most BPOs use their own advanced call centre technology, which enables their agents to implement a company’s existing processes with higher efficiency and ROI. Let’s take a look at some specific types of inbound calls and how BPO call centres are equipped to handle them.

Inbound BPO call centre services

With an inbound call centre, staff respond to customer calls and messages as they come in. Here are a few examples of tasks that can be handled by a BPO call centre.

  • Support questions

    Businesses that sell complex products or plans tend to receive a higher-than-average number of customer support enquiries. Healthcare companies, for example, might receive hundreds of calls a day from customers who have questions about their claims. Big corporations that serve a large volume of customers often rely on entire teams of agents dedicated solely to managing these types of inbound support calls. This work is often outsourced to BPO call centres because the cost of labour is less. Plus, larger companies with regulated plans and services almost always have clearly documented knowledge-base resources they can easily share with BPO call centre agents. These resources make it easy for BPO agents to get up and running in no time at all.
  • Order processing

    Some customers still prefer to place their orders by phone. However, processing these purchases can be time consuming — entering customer information in your CRM, taking payment information, fulfilling orders and so on. Employ a BPO call centre to handle this entire process — from order placement to delivery — to give your team more time for high-level business processes, such as marketing and product development. These centres are especially helpful for processing international orders in time zones outside your business’s normal working hours and for handling overflow during high-volume days, hours or holidays. By outsourcing your phone orders, you can keep the money flowing in 24/7 without having to pay employees overtime or taking resources away from other core business functions.
  • Dispatch

    Dispatch agents handle incoming calls from customers requesting a business’s services. A taxi company, for example, will receive dispatch calls from clients wanting to book a taxi. The agent receiving the dispatch call will then notify a driver to fulfil the service. Rather than employing full-time salaried employees, some companies will outsource their dispatch call centre services so that they can pay for agents on an 'as needed' basis. A courier company that delivers only between 10am and 2pm on weekdays, for example, might find it more cost-effective to outsource dispatch services rather than hire salaried employees. With this system, you also don’t have to worry about paying an employee on a slow day when there are only a few dispatch calls. And, as a plus, BPO call centres can help cover odd hours to ensure that no service requests are missed.

Outbound BPO call centre services

While an inbound call center agent’s job is to answer the phone, outbound call centre agents are the ones making the calls. Outbound call centre services are often outsourced because they can be time consuming and tedious. For example, a business might call thousands of people before they get enough responses to complete a market research survey. When you partner with a BPO call centre, you can dedicate their agents to managing these tedious tasks so that your team can focus on building relationships with customers and improving your products and services.

  • Telemarketing

    While telemarketing has historically had a bad rap, many companies consider it a highly effective and cost-efficient strategy for generating new leads. Unfortunately, telemarketing can yield a low ROI if your agents aren’t experienced in the art of cold calling. That’s where the experience, tools and expertise of BPO call centres come into play. Their agents are hired for their ability to charm and persuade the people they're cold calling. They’re trained to think quickly on their feet, to win over consumers and to present your company’s mission statement in a way that resonates with the person on the other end of the line. The right BPO agents can help you increase the ROI of your telemarketing efforts.
  • Telesales

    Telesales focuses primarily on closing deals over the phone. Telesales differs from telemarketing in that cold calls are generally made to prospects who have already been identified as promising leads. These calls are an important aspect of driving revenue, but businesses may not have the capacity to connect promptly with potential customers. Say that you have 2,000 leads in your pipeline, but only 12 reps on your team. You could spend weeks cold calling and still not connect with the right opportunities. With the help of a BPO call centre, you can both reach and follow up with all the leads in your pipeline in less time, which can help your company generate more sales quickly. Small companies will also outsource telesales because BPO call centres have greater access to sales technology. By hiring a BPO team that already has a CRM in place, companies can reap the benefits of the tool without having to add to their existing tech stack. This saves on overheads and eliminates the need to spend time and resources onboarding a new tool.
  • Market research

    Businesses often conduct phone surveys to learn more about their customer base. The data gained from market research can reveal a number of valuable insights: what resonates with shoppers, their top pain points, and so on. Market research calls tend to follow a set call centre script, so you can easily outsource them to a BPO centre. Just instruct BPO agents on how to greet customers and close the call, and provide them with a list of questions to ask. By outsourcing these calls, your team will be able to cost-effectively gain insights for upcoming campaigns and product releases.

Use a BPO call centre to deliver excellent customer service

Your ability to deliver a positive customer service experience can make or break your business. The fact of the matter is, not every business has the resources or bandwidth to keep waiting times short, resolve tickets quickly or provide the IT expertise that customers expect. In these cases, the most reliable way to deliver that kind of service is to outsource it to the experts. With a BPO call centre, you can ensure that your customers receive high-quality support without having to take time and resources away from other core functions, such as product development and marketing.

Want to do more with your phone support? Zendesk is a radically simple way to level up your customer service.

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