The growing reliance on BPO Providers to Improve Business Efficiency
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) providers have emerged as strategic partners for European businesses looking to improve efficiency, streamline operations, and remain competitive in changing or disruptive markets. In the past decade, we have noticed the growing expectation of BPO to address complex business challenges across a range of industries. Additionally, we understand the scale of demand for specialised skills and expertise, so organisations can address gaps that impact innovation and growth. As part of the Cpl Group, Covalen has over 25 years’ experience delivering agile, innovative solutions across our client portfolio including Fortune 500 companies.
Suzanne Dolan, Managing Director, Covalen
As a strategist for my clients who include several Fortune 500 companies, I’m also spearheading a growth strategy that will see Covalen move into new territories and sectors over the coming years. I attribute agility and flexibility to my successful client partnerships, as well as an enduring focus on the growth of our leaders.
Navigating Business Challenges
The current climate of economic and political instability creates challenges in planning long-term strategies. There has been a great deal of uncertainty for European businesses because of Brexit, the Ukrainian war, and the post-pandemic era. It is important to consider the rise in operational costs, including changing regulations and compliance, as well as risk management and business continuity.
Overall, it’s an environment where businesses must constantly adapt to volatile conditions, potentially impacting growth and profitability. Diversifying operations has been one method used by organisations striving to maintain efficiency and reduce their vulnerability to economic upheaval. In the financial services industry, for example, Dublin and Frankfurt have become popular locations for banks needing to retain access to the EU market following Brexit.
It is still possible in 2024, that business continuity plans haven't accounted for unprecedented levels of scale, urgency, capacity, or employee needs. This potential scenario means businesses, employees, and customers could be adversely affected by unexpected challenges.
In such cases, it’s important for organisations to retain close communication with their preferred vendors, so when additional help is needed, the experts are ready to step up. Alleviating this strain supports an organisation's long-term ability to survive.
Notably, over the past few years, we have seen how disruptions can negatively impact both efficiency and reputation. Having a robust business continuity plan in place allows organisations to feel secure in their commitment to their industry, clients, and employees — and ultimately, protect their brand reputation.
At Covalen, specialised capabilities, expertise, and resources allow us to effectively manage and mitigate various operational, financial, and compliance risks for our clients.
When incorporating BPO into your business continuity plan, it is essential to identify the functions, business units, or processes that will benefit from outsourcing. For example, outsourcing certain functions can offer cost predictability through service level agreements (SLAs) minimising financial risks associated with unpredicted expenses.
Similarly, organisations can allocate risk associated with critical processes, assigning shared accountability to mitigate potential losses. The advantage here is that overall business continuity is not compromised if one part of the operation experiences disruption.
Service Delivery: Ensuring Capacity & Quality
The current climate offers prevailing challenges that can affect service delivery, such as unforeseen surges in customer demand. In such cases, Customer Experience (CX) leaders are tasked with identifying and addressing barriers to meeting growing customer expectations or delivering the brand’s promise.
Talent and Team Performance
The labour shortage has placed strains on various industries, impacting their ability to operate at full capacity, meet consumer demand and achieve optimal performance.
Firstly, challenges in recruiting and retaining skilled employees due to competition, high turnover rates, or lack of career development opportunities can lead to reduced capacity.
Secondly, the capability to deliver quality CX consistently can be affected from several angles. Some must-haves are ensuring ongoing, effective training programmes so employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to handle diverse customer queries.
Also, it is crucial to balance the workload and schedules efficiently to meet varying customer demands while maintaining both employee and customer satisfaction.
Inadequate training, communication, and career advancement are some of the hurdles that CX leaders may face —and addressing these pain points requires a holistic approach.
Employee experience has a direct impact on CX. To strengthen team performance, employees must feel motivated and empowered to deliver a high-quality customer experience. Ongoing training, mentoring and coaching, along with a comprehensive employee engagement programme can create an environment that nurtures exceptional performance.
In our experience delivering award-winning programmes across these areas —what’s fundamental is being proactive and wanting to understand what people need at every stage of their journey. This enables an organisation to develop actionable insights and continuously improve.
Employee engagement can be challenged by post-Covid working models, which include onsite, hybrid, and remote working. Covalen operates them all. How well each model is implemented and managed has a great impact on performance and retention. Understanding and addressing specific challenges across each can help to maintain engagement and reduce turnover.
BPO as a Solution
Whether your BPO partner helps you achieve higher quality, control costs, or navigate changes —strengthening your resilience is vital. When we work with both new and long-term clients at Covalen, we listen, understand, and act on feedback at scale, to unearth what’s necessary to overcome obstacles and exceed.
We are acutely aware that every client has different needs and expectations, so there is no “one-size-fits-all” process. At the same time, as a result of over two decades of experience, we’re in a fortunate position to be able to transfer our expertise and innovations where needed. A client may approach us to assist with long-term strategic planning or to identify outsourcing needs in line with their business goals.
Driven by efficiency, we anticipate bottlenecks, implement continuous improvement, and enable our clients to build more resilient customer and employee processes that will stand the test of time.
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