Managing a small business means wearing a lot of hats and putting out a lot of fires. As a business owner or manager, you oversee hiring, company culture, marketing, product development, and sales. You need to keep your customers happy and your employees happy. On top of that, you need to make sure your business has all the tools and organization it needs to thrive and grow.
You may think you can do it all if you just have more time, but there never seems to be enough of it. The truth is that you don’t need more time or energy. What you need is business process outsourcing.
What is business process outsourcing?
Business process outsourcing, otherwise known as BPO, is when brands outsource their company’s behind-the-scenes and/or customer facing processes to a third party (external) company.
While business process outsourcing was once something only large manufacturers did, it has since evolved to include a variety of sectors and there are great reasons to do it for your small business, which we’ll talk about later.
BPO helps businesses streamline their day-to-day operations across the board, but there are two specific categories that these operations fall under and that BPO can help with:
- Back office
- Front office
Back office refers to activities within a business that are not customer facing—this includes activities like accounting, human resources (HR), and legal assistance.
Front office, in contrast, refers to activities within a business that the customer can see. This is your marketing, your promotions, and your customer support to name a few examples.
Common types of BPO services
While you may have previously been unfamiliar with the term BPO, you’re definitely familiar with the kinds of BPO services that are out there. The most common ways that people outsource their BPO include working with marketing agencies, outsourcing customer service during off-hours, and working with a managed service provider (MSP) for technical support.
A very common BPO service businesses are leveraging in 2022 are outsourced call centers. You might, for example, hire an answering service to handle after-hours customer service calls and respond to simple questions customers may have so your team has a smaller work backlog to sift through when they return to the office.
It isn’t just individual tasks that you can outsource via BPOs. You can also outsource entire departments if your business has that need. In addition to specialties and breadth of service, you can choose a BPO partnership based on locations, such as offshore (out of country), nearshore (adjacent country), and domestic.
Why outsource to a BPO provider?
Outsourcing your business processes is one of the best ways to eliminate tasks you don’t need to be putting so much energy into so you can focus on core business functions like customer relationships and leadership that are pivotal for your company’s success.
By subcontracting a third-party to manage one or more facets of your business, you can eliminate painstaking work, improve the quality of the services you provide, and reallocate your time, resources, and bandwidth from non-critical tasks to other parts of your business that are more pressing. Ultimately, a BPO partnership can help your business reduce long-term costs that go into things like employee training, hiring, and software, which makes it really valuable for growth.
In addition to offloading work, business process outsourcing allows you to incorporate more innovation into your processes. BPO partners like UJET are at the cutting edge of tech trends and innovations, bringing expertise and insight to the table in addition to management. You can also get quick and accurate reporting for your business via a BPO provider.
Especially if you’re hoping to expand globally, hiring a BPO provider who knows the language and has boots on the ground is one of the best ways to get your services overseas.
Do I have to give up all control to a BPO provider?
The short answer is no. Depending on which provider you partner with and which service, a BPO can allow you the flexibility to oversee as much of your organization’s day-to-day operations as you’d like. Contact centers for example, can all be managed in-house, or you can work with a third party contact center as a service provider who will hire representatives and manage training and performance. It’s up to you.
Disadvantages of outsourcing to a BPO
BPO has a lot of benefits for business, but there are a few challenges to outsourcing that you may need to consider.
One challenge is cost. Especially for a small business without a lot of resources, the initial running cost of using a BPO may be more than you can reasonably afford.
Additionally, even though a BPO provider can make the customer service experience more streamlined and helpful for customers, there is still some stigma surrounding outsourcing (i.e. it comes at the expense of domestic jobs and service quality) that may make customers wary.
If you pick the wrong BPO provider, your processes may be prone to data breaches, so it’s especially important to look for providers who prioritize consumer security.
How to pick the best BPO provider
There are lots of different specialities and packages to choose from when it comes to picking the best BPO provider. You want the right combination to best serve your business where it’s at and where you want it to be.
Choosing the best fit comes down to what areas of your business you need to outsource. Are you looking for front office support or back office support? Do you need to hire an ad agency, do you want help with your customer communications services, like live chat or phone calls, or all of the above? Knowing what you need is the first step to choosing the right BPO provider.
From that point, finding a BPO partner who is responsive and prioritizes the needs of your business is crucial. When executed well, outsourcing via a BPO provider can help you scale your business faster, better serve your existing clients, and help you reach new customers all over the world.