Your Cx Needs Have Changed. It’s Okay – You Can Readjust Remotely.
Reconsidering your BPO lineup? Here are some tips for screening prospective partners when site visits aren’t an option.
We’re not going to use the phrase—you know the one (the new n….). But let’s face it, things are different as we near the end of 2020 than we expected back in January.
Most companies have made it beyond the crisis stage of COVID-19, so kudos! But much as we might hope otherwise, the current environment is going to stick around for a while.
Even if a coronavirus vaccine is quickly developed and approved, companies will be improvising and adapting for some time to come. Countless organizations have realized that their existing Cx partnerships are not equal to the present situation, yet identifying and screening prospective BPOs is more complicated now, when the business travel required for the traditional site visit just isn’t possible.
So what’s a company to do? Here’s our take.
The Cx Partner Mix Called into Question
Many organizations are finding that their customers’ needs and demands have shifted since the spring. In some cases, consumers and businesses are using the same products and services in new ways. In others, they’re gravitating toward different selections than they once did.
These trends have substantial impact on customer service, help desk, sales calls, and more. And companies are striving to adapt their Cx strategies accordingly.
Throughout these rapid evolutions, experience with BPOs has varied widely. Various providers had already made proactive investments in technologies and infrastructure, which mitigated fallout during COVID-19. And many partners proved incredibly nimble and creative, quickly pivoting to work-from-home, for example, while instituting policies and processes to ensure a secure, professional environment. But unfortunately, some just didn’t make the grade.
The pandemic also revealed vulnerabilities in the Cx provider mix. Concentration in a single region, as well as reliance on BPOs in faraway geographies, have caused problems in recent months. The same can be said for depending on partners in areas lacking the robust infrastructure required to support the contact center facility itself and/or to make remote work viable in a crisis situation.
Whatever combination of risks the pandemic revealed, companies are eager to institute resilient partnerships to eliminate underperformers and broaden their BPO base.
A More Complicated Selection Process
If you’ve determined that your Cx provider mix isn’t what it should be, it’s time to find a better fit. But that’s easier said than done when it’s nearly impossible to incorporate the site visits you’ve always counted on to make the final determination about any contact center.
With so few people willing to travel domestically, let alone halfway around the world, clients are very concerned about losing the opportunity to get a firsthand sense of a potential partner’s operations. And it’s not just the handshake greetings, the facility tour, or the nuts-and-bolts discussions they really miss.
Frequently the most informative parts of the site visit are unplanned. The manager-agent interaction happening in a corner. The energy emanating from the production floor. A comment that a director lets slip. The little things communicate a lot, but how do you gain such insights now?
Technology & Trust
There are some parts of the typical site visit that can be readily adapted. For example, Global Telesourcing filmed an interactive virtual reality tour. Prospective clients can participate with their own Oculus VR glasses, or we’ll send a pair so you can benefit from the full experience. With this technology, representatives can “walk through” the space, gain a 360O view, and hear from a variety of informed guides whenever they choose, much like you would in person.
We also looked back at the agendas from years of site visits and we built out comparable components with remote technologies. We use videoconferencing and screensharing, for instance, to mimic the presentations and collaboration that would normally occur at our facility.
And we’re careful not to organize one large meeting with a dozen or more faces on the screen. Instead, we plan for small group discussions among individuals with specific areas of expertise. That way, potential clients can hear directly from our IT staff about systems integration or talk with the training team about curriculum. We even put clients into a group of agents for a private conversation—with no management eavesdropping so agents can share what they really think and feel.
But what about the unexpected interactions? This is where trust comes in.
First of all, a prospective Cx partner needs to earn your confidence. This includes presenting a solid roster of marquis clients and putting you in contact with representatives from those companies for an unfiltered discussion of…well, whatever you want to discuss. No holds barred, as they say.
A top-notch provider will also take similar steps with internal teams. They’ll supply opportunities for unguarded conversations.
Honestly, this doesn’t differ much from years past. We’ve all participated in tours where the potential partner has “locked down” in advance. The tight smiles and stilted commentary give it away. You know that the people you’re meeting are holding something back, and that may give you pause.
At Global Telesourcing, we’ve never gone in for the Stepford Wives site visit, not before COVID-19 and not today. We’ve always offered client representatives the chance to meet with our team in various combinations, including interactions without senior management present, and we continue to do so. Whomever you most want to speak with, we’ll set it up and step aside.
It Is Possible
The bottom line is that you can realign your Cx partner mix, even now. If you have identified the right provider(s), they will help you get to the comfort level you need to move forward.
So have courage. Look around the BPO space and find some prospects who can fill in the gaps in your current lineup. Then take into consideration how well they adapt the selection process to your needs and how much they open a window onto their own operations. That alone will tell you a lot about how they will respond down the road.
Of course, we’d be honored if you’d consider Global Telesourcing as part of your Cx provider search, so please let us know if we can provide any information to help you evaluate our capabilities. You can even take a first step toward a virtual site tour by starting a conversation here.