Empowering Brands to Stay Ahead in the Marketplace by Optimizing Costs, Employee Engagement, and Customer Experiences 

Strategic outsourcing to a business process outsourcer (BPO) has long been a boon for brands that want to focus their internal resources on their core competencies. Brands that have historically been reluctant to embrace outsourcing have come to realize the value of a collaborative relationship with a BPO and therefore now view outsourcing in a new light. They are realizing the benefits a strategic BPO partnership offers for effective solutions that meet a diverse array of business needs in an ever-evolving marketplace. Global BPO spending is estimated to reach to $212 billion in 2023, a 19% increase over pre-pandemic numbers in 2019. 

This rise in outsourcing can be attributed in part to the trusted nature of the relationship between a brand and a strategic outsourcing partner. A trusted BPO relationship offers unique advantages in a variety of business scenarios, such as the following three. 

1. Boost CRT: Many changes in consumer behaviors brought on by the pandemic remain today. Increased demand for remotely accessed goods and services increased contact center volume and impacted customer resolution times (CRT), heightening the need for customer experience (CX) solutions that offer lightning-fast, effective resolutions. 

Outsourcing allows companies to offer 24/7/365 support with seamless omnichannel capabilities. Access to robotic process automation (RPA) and other digital transformation optimizations frees agents to resolve more complex inquiries, reducing overhead costs and improving customer satisfaction (CSAT).  

2. Hire Right, Hire Fast: Tight labor markets can make it challenging for brands to recruit, hire, and retain motivated and loyal employees for frontline customer experience roles. 

A trusted BPO relationship is capable of recruiting, training, and nesting an engaged workforce with ongoing coaching, support, and a culture of career advancement that boosts retention and improves performance. BPOs with predictive analytics skills can forecast when frontline employees might be at risk of attriting and intervene with coaching and support to retain more of them. They can also harness AI performance enablement technology to inform coaching and replicate top performers at scale, as iQor does with AmplifAI. 

3. Reduce Costs: Inflation, high interest rates, supply chain issues, and other shifting economic trends can impact pricing, making every aspect of business operations more costly. 

A BPO’s access to a global talent pool of in-office and work-at-home (WAH) agents, workforce management technology, speech analytics, cloud-based infrastructure, endpoint security in a dynamic zero trust security environment, and other technologies provides brands with comprehensive and effective CX solutions. This type of partnership provides agility in changing environments, reduces overhead costs, and increases profitability by improving overall performance as measured by NPS, CSAT, CRT, AHT, and other KPIs. 

Strategic BPO partnership solutions provide brands with the results they need to enjoy an edge over their competition. In a marketplace defined by rapid, ever-changing advances in automation and technology and shifting customer sentiments, BPOs facilitate the ways in which companies can embrace the digital and human connections necessary for outstanding CX. Optimize the customer experience through human-centric interaction with agents.

Getting Started With Strategic Outsourcing

After deciding to consider an outsourcing strategy, it’s time to dig into the details to find the right partner. Brands who view their selection process as choosing a strategic partner benefit in the long run from a collaborative relationship with a BPO starting on Day One.  

While the due diligence process explained here deserves attention to detail, assessing culture fit between you and the BPO is equally as important.  

Start with a cost-benefit analysis. After completing this exercise, conduct rigorous evaluations and due diligence of managed service providers before selecting a strategic BPO partner that provides the best fit for your brand’s culture, values, and business needs. 

Collaborating on Your Action Plan and Roadmap 

Here are some details to consider when negotiating a contract with BPO providers. 

  • What are your most critical focus areas? 
    • Do you need to outsource front office operations, back office operations, or both? 
    • Some companies limit outsourcing to one line of business before committing to more after establishing a collaborative relationship with their BPO that proves economically viable and relationally compatible. 
  • Which geolocations best fit your goals and values? 
    • Nearshoring and offshoring with integrated digital optimization strategies can reduce overhead, enable fast ramps with 24/7 support, and maintain exceptional quality and service, all while maintaining compliance and data security requirements. 
    • Highly educated, digitally savvy teams in different geographical regions can enable additional benefits such as bilingual support and technical expertise as part of a widespread customer service culture
  • Can the BPO meet your staffing requirements and workforce management expectations? 
    • Are coaching and training processes already in place that fit your goals? 
    • What is the plan for the first team to complete training and nesting and start production with real-time coaching and quality assurance practices in place? 
  • Does the BPO leverage artificial intelligence and automation options? 
    • A trusted BPO should recommend the use of RPA or AI or other automation solutions to optimize customer service offerings and focus human expertise on more complex tasks. 
    • A trusted BPO should have access to a wide range of secure digital platforms and cloud-based technology CX solutions. 

Finding the Right Strategic Partner 

Strategic outsourcing is more than just a business decision; it’s a partnership that requires trust, open communication, and commitment on both sides. The due diligence process can entail multiple conversations and site visits. Ultimately, selecting a BPO means inviting a trusted partner into your business based on shared values and cultural alignment. Optimize the customer experience through human-centric interaction with agents.

At iQor, we’ve been privileged to develop valued partnerships over the past 20+ years with brands spanning many industries. To guide you through the selection process, we’ve gathered the following recommended attributes to look for in a BPO partner: 

  • Provides strategic, individualized, research-driven solutions. 
  • Implements effective operational changes as promised.  
  • Maintains open, responsive communication to ensure all expectations are met. 
  • Remains flexible and solution-oriented, bringing new ideas to the table as necessary to ensure success that is tailored to your company’s specific and evolving needs. 
  • Engages with your brand through many levels of operations including the executive team, when appropriate. 
  • Delivers excellent service across all geos. 
  • Ensures all services are delivered in a zero trust data security environment. 
  • Possesses a track record of consistently achieving client KPIs. 
  • Offers work-in-office and work-at-home services with equal reliability, security and performance. 
  • Provides robust training, coaching and career path options for employees, resulting in satisfied employees who love their job.  

5 Case Studies That Illustrate the Benefits of Strategic Outsourcing 

The roadmap for success looks different for each brand. Here’s a snapshot of how five brands addressed their specific needs and goals through a strategic partnership with iQor that provides a tailored approach to support each brand’s goals and deliver meaningful and profitable results.  

1. US-Based Energy Company’s Strategic Outsourcing Yields $14 Million Annualized Savings in Customer Service 

After partnering with iQor for non-voice back office support services, a Fortune 500 U.S. energy company and first-time outsourcer sought to expand their BPO support for credit, revenue recovery, new order service calls, customer care, and emergency calls. After conducting a rigorous evaluation and due diligence process of several BPOs recognized as leaders in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Customer Service, the client selected iQor as their first and sole outsourced customer service BPO to handle both voice and non-voice support. 

They began the BPO selection process by identifying their critical focus areas as follows: 

  1. Select a partner with a proven track record providing support to companies in the energy sector.
  2. Expand into more geolocations to reduce attrition and recruiting costs that were impacting CSAT in their domestic operations. 
  3. Identify and implement automation opportunities. 
  4. Accelerate agent proficiency with the infrastructure for flexible work-in-office and work-at-home solutions. 

In partnership with the client, iQor designed and delivered automation integrations, staffing solutions, workflow optimization, and accountability models that yielded meaningful results for the energy company, including: 

  • Annualized cost savings of $14 million. 
  • CSAT results above goal and virtually zero attrition. 
  • Seamless ramps in offshore and nearshore locations while meeting timeline and performance commitments. 

This partnership—which included a dedicated new program implementation team, open communication with iQor’s senior leadership, and a proven track record of success—paved the way for major strategic savings while maintaining or exceeding quality benchmarks. Read the full case study here

2. Strategic Outsourcing Saves Fashion Retailer $5 Million in Order Entry Costs 

After a competitive request for information process with multiple BPOs—including a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Customer Service—a major retailer selected iQor as their first and only BPO partner. Facing a shortage of experienced order entry agents who could upsell and cross-sell in their locale, customer demand for 24/7 customer service, and the need to ramp up staffing for two busy selling seasons each year, the retailer partnered with iQor for a strategic outsourcing solution that would also reduce costs. 

iQor’s new project implementation team devised a scripted playbook that set measurable targets for a comprehensive three-pronged strategic offshoring solution that integrated automation and AI technology:  

  • Staffing that evaluated candidates’ abilities to tailor the sales approach to the customer. 
  • Customized training in products, upselling, and cross-selling. 
  • Agent coaching aided by three of iQor’s proprietary technologies. 

The client has reported the following returns since the partnership began in 2020: 

  • $5 million savings in order entry costs in Year One. 
  • Cross-sells 9% over goal; Upsells more than 12% over goal; Credit card signups nearly 2% over goal. 
  • Average handle time reduced by more than 16%. 
  • Order entry volume handling increased by 9%. 

The success of this strategic partnership has led the client to continue to expand iQor’s role in their business. Read the full case study here

3. Strategic Outsourcing to Trinidad Saves Utility $3 Million in Year One for Customer Support 

A U.S. utility selected iQor as their first and only strategic BPO partner for inbound customer service after a rigorous due diligence process that also included evaluating several BPOs recognized as leaders in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Customer Service. With a strong commitment to customer satisfaction, the utility requested strategies to reduce the cost of service delivery in response to cost pressures while maintaining quality. The utility initially preferred to keep their customer service operation wholly domestic, but after learning of the benefits of nearshore outsourcing, they invited iQor to develop a strategic plan. 

In collaboration with our client, iQor’s new program implementation team created and executed a plan to nearshore part of their customer service operation to Trinidad. iQor’s investment in training and automation tools minimized the 1:1 transition of resources and increased our client’s profitability while providing an excellent customer experience. 

This strategic partnership resulted in: 

  • $3 million annual savings in customer service delivery costs. 
  • Comparable efficiency between U.S. and Trinidad teams across every KPI. 

This successful partnership approach led the client to expand their relationship with iQor to include additional lines of business with a similar focus on strategic solutioning. Read the full case study here

4. Culture of Innovation Inspires Strategic Outsourcing Partnership to Meet Global Retailer’s Commitment to Excellent CX 

A leading global retailer and e-commerce provider relies on an extensive network of business process outsourcing partners to support millions of customers. The company emphasized the requirement for all its BPO constituents to meet 95% compliance with their staffing goals to ensure timely and efficient customer service resulting in high CSAT. 

iQor initiated a proactive strategy by inviting the retailer to participate in a summit designed to evaluate performance, predict results, and determine actions to achieve their compliance goal. Using the retailer’s feedback along with input from iQor’s workforce management leadership team, iQor created and enacted a plan to maintain ongoing and transparent communication, showcase intelligent performance management tools that support employee development and lead to high customer satisfaction scores, and continue to improve processes.  

These custom CX solutions met the client’s compliance needs.  

  • 100% staffing compliance. 
  • Achieved #1 BPO status in the client’s network, leading KPI performance in voice and chat, including CSAT and repeat contact rate. 

As a result of this success, the global retailer outsourced additional lines of business to iQor. Read the full case study here

5. Strategic Outsourcing Transforms B2B Revenue Management for Business Solutions Provider 

A transportation, e-commerce, and business solutions provider manages high-priority, multimillion-dollar B2B contracts with top global enterprises that involve high-volume queues and require excellent performance from skilled agents. Their long-standing strategic partnership with iQor began with third-party account recovery services and expanded to include first-party inbound and outbound accounts receivable management and back office support. After visiting iQor centers in the Philippines for the first time, the client added complex revenue management services—outsourcing and offshoring these B2B revenue recovery lines of business for the first time in their history. 

iQor partnered with the business solutions provider to build the revenue management program and implement it expeditiously in domestic, nearshore, and offshore locations. The team streamlined training for the inbound and outbound voice and non-voice programs and boosted agent performance through workforce management and digital solutions. A three-phase RPA strategy for performance optimization enabled the redeployment of team members to more critical tasks focused on enhancing the customer experience. 

This partnership has yielded meaningful results for the client. 

  • $100,000 savings in operating costs in one year. 
  • 99% quality scores across all lines of business. 
  • The first offshore launch was in the Philippines, with rapid onboarding and customized training in 45 days. The team met or exceeded the client’s KPI goals, surpassing the aging goal for overdue accounts by 7%. 
  • iQor’s proprietary digital automation platforms strengthen training and coaching, reducing training time in one line of business by 50%. Insights gained through interaction analytics helped reduce AHT on the complex inbound voice line of business by 8% within the first six months of implementation. Data-driven, personalized coaching elevates the employee experience and yields high levels of customer satisfaction. 

This trusted partnership empowers the client with the confidence to rely on iQor for innovation in critical areas and has inspired them to expand RPA and other strategic CX solutions as the relationship continues to grow. Read the full case study here

Embracing the Digital + Human Transformation of Business Models Makes Strategic Outsourcing a Savvy Choice 

Partnering with a trusted BPO allows companies to discover and employ cost-saving measures while maintaining excellent CX and maximizing ROI. 

Navigating the landscape of brand and customer interactions requires a dynamic approach to determine the best strategies for your brand’s growth and success. Seasoned BPOs with a long history of a collaborative culture offer a multitude of benefits to help guide your brand along this path towards integrated technologies, skilled agents, and honed operational processes. 

Whether you’re seeking a partner with experience integrating seamless omnichannel support offerings or providing a robust and secure technology infrastructure, CX experts like the ones at iQor provide guidance to help brands deliver the best customer service to their customers. Our talented team of CX experts partners with brands to design intelligent channel optimization strategies and apply automation where it matters most to align with customer needs. 

By recognizing the profit-growth potential of embracing the digital and human transformation of CX, a strategic outsourcing partner provides many brands with big rewards as evidenced by the five case studies described above. No doubt, the positive trend of outsourcing will continue to rise, fueled by the uniquely effective potential a trusted partnership with the right BPO can deliver.  

Experience the iQor Difference 

Digital customer interactions are rapidly outpacing offline ones in many industries. A digital transformation of your customer experience is essential to help you keep pace as new technologies continue to evolve. A successful digital CX strategy accounts for all the customer experience variables relevant to your brand. These differ for every business, and you can implement them gradually. Examine your current customer experience options and look for touchpoints that can be optimized for digital, provided they improve the customer experience. With customer data and predictive analytics, you can refine your customer service options and provide a better experience for each customer while also creating a supportive environment for employees on the frontline serving your customers. 

iQor’s CX experts partner with brands to design intelligent channel optimization strategies to ensure they are perfectly aligned with customer needs. From AI-powered agents to in-app messaging, iQor’s experience makes us a trusted partner in CX. 

iQor is a business process outsourcing company (BPO) ideally suited to help brands create amazing customer experiences. iQor provides a comprehensive suite of full-service and self-service scalable offerings that are purpose-built to deliver enterprise-quality CX.  

Our award-winning CX services include:  

  • A global presence with 40+ contact centers across 10 countries.  
  • A CX private cloud that maximizes performance and scales rapidly across multiple geographies on short notice.  
  • A partnership approach where we deploy agents and C-level executives to help maximize your ROI.  
  • The perfect blend of intelligent automation for scale and performance coupled with an irresistible culture comprised of people who love to delight your customers.  
  • Virtual and hybrid customer support options to connect with customers seamlessly, when and where they want.  
  • The ability to launch a customer support program quickly, even when you need thousands of agents ready to support your customers.  
  • A best-in-class workforce management team and supporting technology to create a centralized organization that can better serve your entire business.  

iQor helps brands deliver the world’s most sought-after customer experiences. Interested in learning more about the iQor difference? If you’re ready to start a conversation with a customer experience expert, contact us to learn about how we can help you create more smiles. 

Richard Eychner is a strategic advisor at iQor. Connect with Richard on LinkedIn. 

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