The old saying ‘when it rains, it pours’ certainly applies to the instability witnessed in recent weeks. In many cases, the disruptions that have rocked parts of the world had a direct impact on CX operators and their ability to support end-users seamlessly. This highlights the extent to which strong business continuity planning (BCP) is a must for BPO players. Having a playbook to guide the best way forward in times of distress is vital.
Since early 2020, the conventional wisdom when it came to BCP related to the pandemic, which for many organizations was the catalyst to update antiquated blueprints for crisis management. However, a quick scan of current events shows that business continuity’s value is also driven by non-health-related events. This was profoundly felt in several countries where the BPO CX sector has a presence.
In Haiti, where a fledgling outsourcing sector has shown green shoots for some time, the nation has been rattled to its core by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Colombia, which has emerged as a beacon of BPO delivery for enterprises over the past decade, has faced ongoing anti-government rioting since April. And South Africa, which was ranked the most favored offshore CX delivery destination in the 2021 Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office Omnibus Survey, saw two of its major cities ransacked as a response to the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma.
The impact of these events at the macro-level cannot be underestimated. For example, during South Africa’s recent riots, estimates indicate that lost output from that country equates to over $3bn USD. At the CX level, the loss of short-term client confidence that can derive from violent images on nightly newscasts may not denote the reality of how contact centers operate during challenging times. However, they do point to the need for outsourcers, no matter the delivery point, to make certain the path forward is in place when the going gets tough.
Fortunately, the pandemic has pushed outsourcers to develop strong contingency plans. If the past several weeks teaches us anything, it is that these blueprints must be flexible and not focus on just one type of disruption. Being able to ensure quality, seamless CX during COVID-19 involved different pressures and implications than the risks posed by mass protests, rioting after a sporting event, extreme weather or natural disasters. Thus, making certain that BCP strategies are up-to-date and adaptable to a wide range of circumstances is a must.
So too is making certain the right capacity redundancies are in place. Global operators with established banks of workstations across multiple facilities and work-from-home networks will find this task easier to surmount. Smaller providers, especially those that have centralized delivery operations in a single country, will likely find this to be tricky. For these outsourcers, the time has never been better for expansion into new markets, preferably ones that offer business continuity opportunities alongside complimentary delivery possibilities, such as new languages or skill sets.
For those unable to expand organically into a new region, finding a strong partner set is a respectable and very viable alternative. Such an arrangement can be counted on to drive quality interactions quickly in a pinch. The good news is that emerging BPOs will find that there are many operators of a similar size in various parts of the world that are also looking to pair up to solidify their own BCP. Disruption can come at inopportune times for CX players, so there is no time to waste in establishing these partnerships. Finding the right synergies with like minded-outsourcers will be crucial in guaranteeing business continuity for clients.