Competition in the BPO sector makes it increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd, so one might think that customer service providers would proactively communicate their value proposition to clients. But new research conducted by Ventures Consulting and Ryan Strategic Advisory shows that this is not the case.

In fact, this recently-conducted research indicates that many operators take a business-as-usual approach to communications and marketing. In so doing, they are corralling themselves into a tough position.

As part of the 2023 Front Office CX Omnibus Survey, based on input from 712 enterprise contact center leaders across nine different demand markets, Ryan Strategic Advisory and Ventures Consulting asked customer experience buyers how CX outsourcing firms were performing in their respective marketing and promotions efforts.  The results were sobering.

Over half of the survey respondents said that they were ‘uncertain’ or ‘unaware’ of promotional efforts that BPOs are taking to win their business.  This is a shocking failure on the part of outsourcers.

Even more worrying: only 3- in-10 prospective clients indicate that what CX outsourcing operators do from a communications standpoint resonates with them.  Outsourcers’ marketing departments are throwing good money after bad, in other words.

Still, third-party operators can shift their strategies to influence enterprise CX decision-makers into making positive buying decisions.

One thing that many can do is re-think their communication channels and methods.  Buyers are open to BPO approaches, but outreach needs to be driven by thought leadership.

Respondents to the survey stated that what is most likely to get their attention are white papers, opinion-led blogs, and informative case studies. These communications must go beyond product pitches. Key questions to ask are what will the reader learn when they finish reading the content and how might this impact their future buying decisions? In addressing these points, the outsourcer must demonstrate detailed knowledge of a specific aspect of the customer experience.

And, while referrals from existing clients and hard-copy brochures provide some degree of traction for BPOs, prospective clients are lukewarm when it comes to in-person or digital solicitation.

CX leaders don’t want to be ‘sold-to’ and to remain relevant outsourcers must respect these boundaries.  Failure to do so means less business, period.

Then, there is the all-important messaging toward prospective CX clients.  The research conducted by Ryan Strategic Advisory and Ventures Consulting highlights a clear need for outsourcers to concentrate on two key areas if they seek to remain relevant to the buying community.

The first is quality – about a quarter of respondents say this needs to play prominently in BPO efforts to solicit their business.  Quality as a CX key buying factor is not new; it has been part of the outsourcing dynamic for years.  However, with consumers expecting seamless interactions, maintaining a focus on flawless execution has never been so important for buyers.

Quality CX is just one part of the messaging equation. Quality must also be evident in the thought-leadership materials that a company produces, including the white papers and opinion-led content. Basically, there’s no use in talking up quality if the BPO’s thought leadership and communications methods are muddled or the print quality of the latest material is poor.

Cost is the other half of the message equation. In fact, 25% of the 712 survey participants listed ‘the ability to deliver at the lowest price possible’ as the most important element to communicate when soliciting their business.

The economics of CX will always be important to enterprises. For many, the capacity of a third party to do it cheaper remains crucial to vendor selection. However, this cannot be presented as ‘your mess for less’ as it was two decades ago. Today, this is code for ‘you get what you pay for’. Instead, the outsourcer must offer clients and their end-customers the best outcomes at an affordable price point. This is how value must be positioned.

Messaging on cost must be balanced with a strong focus on quality. If BPO providers get this right, they can help to distinguish their solutions in a crowded marketplace where every bit of competitive advantage must be summoned for success.

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