Analytics Should be at the Heart of any Front-Office BPO Offering

Contact center services are not insulated from flash-in-the-pan fads.  Clichés aside, there are also some solutions that have proven their usefulness through the years as part of a broader BPO value proposition, none more so than analytics.  The opportunity to assist clients in enhancing their knowledge of consumers has never been more vital for companies across verticals.  Yet, with limited available in-house resources, not many firms can invest in analytics.  Outsourcers need to fill in this intelligence gap, and those that do so strategically are certain to find traction among existing and prospective clients.

Analytics and data management are nothing new in the contact center.  The technology has existed for well over a decade, but really only found its mainstream footing since 2010.  Rather, what has changed over the years is the robustness of these solutions. Today, analytics has the capacity to not only allow users to identify broad tendencies among consumer groups, but even to pinpoint an individual’s buying patterns.  Yet, despite the improvements in this technology and its commercial applicability, the deployment of analytics among enterprises is less than ubiquitous.

In fact, according the 2017 Ryan Strategic Advisory Front-Office BPO Omnibus Survey, while enterprise contact centers appear to be robustly deploying data collection and data analysis functions, higher-value solutions are less commonly found in captive operations.  Consider that less than two-thirds of survey respondents indicated that they used real-time analytics in-house. Barely half the sample are deploying personalization capabilities.  This trend will likely continue, because the funds available to enterprise contact center executives are limited. Over the next year, most feel that their budgets will stay flat or decrease.  This means that taking on more sophisticated analytics platforms will be a challenge for a large number of firms that should have this technology at hand.  In this regard, outsourcers need to raise their game.

Nearly every contact center outsourcer has some type of analytics offering, because it is essential for today’s client.  However, the way they market these solutions needs to evolve in order to be relevant for current enterprise needs.  Assessing interactions across channels as a means of getting a clear view of individual consumer preferences is what clients require, but this is outside the budgetary bounds of so many enterprises.  Outsourcers must provide not only the technology, but they need to invest in finding the qualified people that can interpret findings, which will enable better business decisions for enterprise executives.  This human component is an essential value-add for any provider to have at the ready.  And clients will appreciate it as part of a broader offering; not only will it not require them to find these resources in-house, it also means that the outsourcer is an effective one-stop analytics shop.

Clearly, the lack of analytics capabilities inside captive contact centers is an impediment for many firms looking for a leg up on the competition.   In the current commoditized contact center services market, driving value through more sophisticated service offerings cannot be understated.  Outsourcers should see this as an opportunity to differentiate themselves, as there is an obvious analytics need for so many cash-strapped enterprise prospects.