Industry Commentary

In BPO Delivery, Infrastructure Reliability is Crucial

By March 19, 2019July 25th, 2023No Comments

The current global customer experience delivery industry is a diverse set of players.  But despite possible philosophical disagreements on the best way to achieve seamless end-user service, there’s one element that those delivering from overseas will be unanimous on: the need for top-rate infrastructure.  Without this, there is significant chance that interactions will be compromised, resulting in lost consumer loyalty.  And even with the best will in the world, it matters not how well trained and motivated contact center team members may be if they are not facilitated by a solid infrastructure. Without that backbone, the skills of great agents and leadership are all for naught.  BPO providers recognize this, and have a role to play in driving jurisdictional infrastructure investments that count.

The recent spate of blackouts in South Africa (set to continue for at least the next week) has brought the issue of offshore delivery infrastructure to the forefront of discussion among outsourcing executives, clients and various industry observers.  Many are curious how one of the most developed and sophisticated contact center offshoring locations in the world finds itself in such a challenging electrical position, and more importantly what this could potentially mean in terms of customer service delivery.  And, while to date it appears that outsourcing providers in South Africa are weathering this storm with minimal disruption, it has placed in the spotlight the extent to which offshore locations are susceptible to infrastructure problems.

Be assured, infrastructure is on the minds of contact center service buyers.  As outlined in the most recent Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office Omnibus Survey, enterprise contact center decision-makers rated electricity grid reliability, transport infrastructure quality and network connectivity as among the most important factors when considering an offshore location.  Outsourcers need to be acutely conscious of these factors when choosing where next to house a contact center operation, or whether they would like to expand in an existing one.

However, there are proactive steps that BPO providers can take in offshore delivery points in order to influence infrastructure quality.  One is to ensure a strong level of interaction with relevant government policy-makers, so that these individuals are aware of the industry’s long-term requirements, and can fund the relevant investments.  The good news in many of these locations is that there are established outsourcing bodies in place that can lobby levels of government collectively on behalf of the industry.  But in the absence of such organizations, individual outsourcing firms need to pick up the gauntlet themselves to make the case for a strong infrastructure backbone that will not compromise on delivery quality.

Equally, an important offshore consideration for many outsourcers is the presence of business parks that are set up for BPO firms.  Often these facilities are developed on a plug and play model, and through significant investments during the construction process they have a proven track record in delivering environmentally-friendly seamless network connectivity and electricity. This thereby reduces the outsourcer’s requirement to spend on these backbone elements.  It is also worth noting that in the Front Office Omnibus Survey, enterprise decision-makers cited the presence of BPO business parks as among their top five most important considerations when choosing an offshore contact center location.  Thus, outsourcing providers should not underestimate buyers’ willingness to prioritize core infrastructure elements when choosing a partner that is based in a reliable location.