Industry Commentary

Outsourcers Need to Reboot Front-Office BPO Positioning

By June 25, 2018July 25th, 2023No Comments

There will always be prospective clients who simply do not wish to buy a particular product or service.  In the outsourcing industry, this has never been more pronounced; enterprise contact center decision-makers are encountering stiff resistance with regard to third-party delivery. This raises the matter of how contact center services’ providers can reboot the manner in which they present the outsourcing model to both existing and prospective clients.  Given the current headwinds, finding new ways of promoting front–office offerings is essential in building out share across key demand markets.

The fact is, no matter how outsourcers present their respective offerings, buyers harbor a great deal of uncertainty toward contact center service providers.  This is quantified in the recently published 2018 Front Office Omnibus Survey, which sounded the views of 352 enterprise contact center decision-makers.  On the question of their impressions
around contact center outsourcing as a business model, roughly two-thirds indicated some degree of unfavorability.  When attempting to draw in new clients that may or may not have used front-office BPO, such a significantly hostile proportion places business development attempts in a precarious position.

This challenge must be taken seriously.  The hallmark of any industry is how it can enlarge its addressable market, in order to ensure maximum long-term growth.  In the case of the contact center services space, this will be a monumental task if a majority of enterprises do not see front-office BPO in a favorable light.  It is now up to the industry’s providers, large, small and anything in between, to reposition not only their organizations, but the business model itself.  However, if approached wisely, this task is not insurmountable.

The 2018 Front Office Omnibus Survey also offers some positive news for third-party providers.  Specifically, when asked to associate a number of terms with contact center outsourcing, enterprise decision-makers that participated strongly chose ‘efficiency’, ‘transparency’ and ‘quality’.  If those pulling the trigger on whether or not to outsource are able to tie together these tems together with third-party delivery, then there is reason for optimism.  But, this will depend on how providers take their offerings to market.

What was done in the past will not cut it going forward, pure and simple.  Positioning ‘your mess for less’ has long been discredited by reputable outsourcers, which is no surprise given the focus so many enterprises have on quality interactions with consumers.  Going to market needs to be driven by a focus around customer experience as the central core of a diversified front-office BPO offering, with positive results for the client as the key outcome.  Equally, dispelling negative associations including loss of control around end-user relationships must be a priority, as does the lingering perception that outsourcing is risky.

New opportunities are few in the current reality, but doing nothing ensures marginal growth in both emerging and established verticals.  Outsourcers need to make the first step of rethinking how offerings are presented and delivered in a natural course of commercial evolution. Providers that do so will find themselves in a competitively viable position, relative to those that cling to the past.