What Is A BPO Call Center? A Guide With Pros And Cons

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A business process outsourcing (BPO) call center is a team of professionals who handle customer service operations for client organisations. Regardless of the industry professionals work in, customer communication is likely to be a major factor in its success. Learning more about what a BPO center is and how it works can help you determine how to utilise one most effectively. In this article, we answer the question 'What is a BPO call center?', explore what they do, explain how it works and mention some of its most relevant advantages and drawbacks.

What Is A BPO Call Center?

You might be wondering 'What is a BPO call center?'. You can think of it as a group of agents who work with companies that want to outsource their customer service operations. BPO call center agents are usually highly skilled in customer support and have enough information regarding the client organisation and its products or services to answer a wide range of potential inquiries.

Related: What Is A Call Centre? (Definition And Functioning)

What Does A BPO Call Center Do?

Depending on the industry and the needs of a company, professionals at a BPO call center might perform different tasks. Here are several key responsibilities that a BPO call center performs when handling inbound calls:

  • Answering support questions: Professionals often field support questions about the products and services a company provides. This can include device troubleshooting, answering queries and escalating issues that a company might resolve.

  • Providing dispatch services: In industries like transportation and distribution, companies might outsource dispatching responsibilities. Rather than hiring full-time employees internally, companies communicate their needs to the call center and train them on proper etiquette and processes.

  • Processing orders by phone: These call centers might also process orders from customers. This can include new purchases of products or services or returns that customers might make.

These call centers also make calls directly to customers as part of their duties. Some of the main outbound services that BPO call centers provide are:

  • Handle telemarketing operations: Telemarketing means providing marketing services for a company over the phone, like sharing information about a brand or promotional materials. This can help companies reach more customers and markets and increase company recognition.

  • Doing telesales: Telesales means reaching out to customers to see if they have an interest in a company's products or services. A BPO call center can oversee these operations, often with quotas and scripts that best meet company standards.

  • Performing market research: Market research might mean contacting potential or current customers in a particular area to learn more about them. They might provide surveys or gather other data that can help the client company improve their business strategies to reach goals.

Related: Common Call Centre Interview Questions And Sample Answers

How Does A BPO Call Center Work?

BPO call centers typically become a part of their client organisations' customer service strategy. Some of the most common steps that an organisation takes to integrate a BPO center into its operations are:

Identify outsourcing needs

The first step that an organisation takes when looking to outsource some of its operations is identifying exactly what requires outsourcing. If you want to outsource a specific operation, the most effective way of doing so is to find a BPO call center that specialises in that operation. If you require multiple outsourcing services, you can consider working with a BPO call center that offers a wide range of services.

Related: Guide: What Does A Customer Service Representative Do?

Find an appropriate BPO service provider

Once an organisation knows what it requires from a BPO service provider, its representatives can start looking for an appropriate one. Besides their specialisation, two other major criteria are:

  • Location: Local BPO providers may cost more, but they are usually easier with which to coordinate.

  • Cost: Ideally, the cost of working with a BPO call center is less than creating an in-house department, but the amount is still enough to ensure high-quality services.

Monitor how the BPO call center is conducting operations

After starting a collaboration with a BPO call center, the most effective way of ensuring quality services is constantly monitoring their results. This typically means that the organisation gets regular data regarding the type of tasks that outsourced agents work on and their productivity rate. The organisation's management team can then use this data to improve the quality of the collaboration. Consider determining key performance indicators, or KPIs, to track how professionals in the call center perform.

Related: What Is A Customer Care Executive? (With Duties And Skills)

Pros Of A BPO Call Center

There can be many benefits of hiring a BPO call center to handle customer service tasks. Some of the main advantages of working with a BPO call center are:

Reduces customer service costs

Outsourcing is often a strong cost-savings opportunity for organisations. Rather than hiring full-time employees with salaries, you can have many people perform the tasks at a lower price. You might save money in additional areas like benefits and incentives with a fully outsourced call center.

Related: What Is Customer Service? Definition And Career Advice

Helps the company provide non-stop support

BPO call centers often operate during the days, nights and weekends, providing continuous customer support. This can help customers resolve issues and purchase products globally, depending on their needs and schedules. With this additional support, you might have a more positive reaction to your services, influencing repeat customers and recommendations.

Related: 15 Necessary Customer Service Skills And How To Develop Them

Eliminates the need for constant hiring and training

As you often work with a representative who has a team ready for your call center, you can save time and effort on hiring and training. With internal customer service representatives, you might spend months recruiting, hiring and onboarding employees. These centers often have training resources and handle any turnover within the center so your human resource department and management teams can focus on other responsibilities.

Utilises new technology

A BPO call centre might have new technology to use. This can include automated telephone or email services that are new to your company. Different call centers might offer different technology that can help you reach business goals, so consider researching a few before committing to one.

Cons Of A BPO Call Center

Although there are many benefits, there can be several disadvantages. Here are some of the potential drawbacks of working with a BPO call center, along with ways to improve them:

It may lead to communication issues with customers

Customers might hope to speak to someone within your company specifically, so there might be issues with certain tasks. To avoid this, consider providing detailed documentation and training to the teams when you start using a BPO call center. You might have regular status meetings or performance indicators that can ensure callers use the right tone and share the proper messaging when communicating with customers.

BPO agents may not have enough information on the company and its products

BPO agents might need detailed information about your company and products before starting this initiative. Consider hosting and recording trainings on product specifications and processes to help them perform their duties. When offering new products, you can communicate relevant details with your representative at the center to ensure they communicate the information to their teams. Consider reviewing if there are any call centers that have industry-specific knowledge when browsing for options to help assist this process.

Security risks may occur

BPO call centers often require access to your systems, information and documentation. As they might have their own systems and networks, this can cause some security risks. Large organisations might work with their IT departments to share standards and evaluate any risks. You might also have confidentiality agreements in place to help ensure the center limits what information they might share.

Explore more articles