How Can BPOs Fast Track CX Improvement For B2B Brands?
B2B brands have found relatively recently that they can achieve a great deal of business value by working with Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) specialists. It has long been common for B2C brands to work with customer service companies, offering facilities such as contact centers, but many B2B brands are now using similar services – and finding that it works.
But how can a B2B brand working with a specialist supplier build in the agility they need for service improvement? One of the problems with BPO in the past was that services were always heavily dependent on metrics such as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and contracts were drawn up focusing on these metrics, with an assumption that they might only need annual revision – at best.
Clearly this is no longer acceptable for B2C or B2B brands. Nobody expects to agree to service levels with a BPO and then only seek improvement during an annual review meeting. So what’s the modern approach to this?
In general, the BPO will create a culture and approach that encourages continuous improvement. This requires the BPO team on the frontline to be able to offer experience and ideas into a funnel for consideration – creating a feedback loop of comment and suggestions. This can take place in several ways, such as:
- Feedback loop: literally creating a suggestion mechanism that any customer-facing team members can use to suggest ideas for process improvement. Everyone at all levels on the team should be able to suggest improvement without judgement for the quality of their suggestion – encourage all ideas rather than asking managers to vet them first. Innovation doesn’t only come from the management team.
- Culture of improvement: remove the traditional idea that you only ever work to the KPIs that are expected. Create a culture that focuses on always asking why we do these things the way we do? Can we improve and enhance the customer experience by changing our processes?
- Pain Points: prioritizing the resolution of pain points. These should quickly be identified by the entries into the feedback loop, but should be prioritized for action – where are the pain points causing a direct problem for customers?
- R&D: the feedback loop can also capture ideas and suggestions directly from customers to the BPO team, meaning that this funnel can also act as a source of comments on products and ideas for improvement. It is essentially an R&D function.
This final point is important. Sometimes your customer wants to help you improve – they suggest ideas and they can be impressed when they are listened to. You can also achieve the opposite effect. Never listen to your customers or admit that you have no process for capturing their comments and ideas, so even if they take the time to suggest a process improvement, nobody will review it anyway.
This feedback loop can also be studied by the communications and marketing team for ideas on how to approach the market. You may have some fantastic insight and feedback that can directly influence your next marketing push.
Imagine a telecoms company that hires a BPO to manage the account management process. That BPO will be talking day after day to the business customers of the telco. Doesn’t it seem obvious that this interface between the BPO and end customer should be a strategic point of insight into how the service can be improved?
A company hiring a BPO to help them with B2B processes should not just be thinking that they are hiring a service company to carry out a process, this is a strategic relationship that can help you to continuously redefine and improve your customer relationships. This is about creating insight into the real customer experience.
Once you find a BPO that does a great job and is helping you to improve your B2B interactions then why not explore gainshare opportunities, rather than continuing to just pay them by the number of staff on the project? If you know they are good and their ideas have made genuine improvements then why not encourage them to make even more process enhancements by ensuring that any improvement or efficiency creates a win-win for the client and the BPO?
Your BPO is a partner, a strategic resource that can help you to continually improve the relationship with your customers. Just how much this could this approach improve and redefine your business in 2021?
Get in touch with ICON directly if you would like further examples or case studies about companies that have dramatically improved their inside sales process thought partnership with a BPO.