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Benchmarking

Definition

What is Benchmarking?

Benchmarking is the process that call centers use to compare their efficiency to other leading companies in the same industry. The factors that need to be considered in benchmarking are the products, services, or procedures. 

Benchmarking is developing into a collective mechanism that lets BPO suppliers and customers set project boundaries and priorities together. It also helps ensure that everyone involved receives the best benefit from an outsourcing partnership.

What is Benchmarking
What is Benchmarking?

Two types of call center benchmarking

Call center benchmarking evaluates the operations and metrics of one call center to those of related organizations. The point of benchmarking is to recognize internal prospects for change. Here are the two main types of benchmarking the BPO industry:

  • Competitive benchmarking. The competitive benchmarking tests the efficiency of one call center against its immediate rivals. It can be a clear indicator of whether or not the call center is up to scratch. You may have surpassed metrics in some categories, but you need a little help in others. The easiest way to figure out is to see how you line up with other related companies.
  • Process benchmarking. The process benchmarking, meanwhile, tests the efficiency of the corporate practices of one call center across industries. Process benchmarking tells the company how it rates operating efficiency relative to rivals and market experts. Also, it identifies fields that have the most scope for near-and long-term process change.
Outsourcing FAQ

What is an Agent?

What is an agent?

In the outsourcing industry, the definition of agents is a team of individuals who are tasked to provide customer services via different communication channels available in order to continuously provide a positive customer experience. Agents are deployed to do inbound and outbound functions; both are essential in keeping the relationship between the business and its customers healthy and productive. Processes may involve customer service support, back-office job support, advisory services, email management, virtual assistance services, website maintenance, marketing and promotional services, and the likes.

Agents are trained to render customer support that revolves around the company’s product or service. Ranging from office support to advisory services, agents are expected to provide the best possible alternative course of action for every problem and increase customer satisfaction by attending to their concerns being raised via different communication channels.

Outsourcing agents

An agent of a BPO company earns an average of USD 4,000 per year in the Philippines, which is roughly USD 345 per month. Aside from that, agents can receive more through overtime pays and holiday pays. Labor laws in the Philippines require higher pay rates during these situations. In some cases, agents can work even with just a high school diploma, but applicants with college degrees have an advantage.

What is What is business process outsourcing?

What is Business Process Outsourcing BPO?

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the delegation of business processes to an external service provider to a nearby or farther location. BPO uses various technology-enabled services to optimize the delivery of services.

Some of the usual outsourced business functions are the following.

Payroll Accounting Human resources Customer service Sales Marketing

In the case of content providers, these could mean hiring writers, remote editors, or virtual assistants.

BPO speeds up processes and enhances efficiency. Companies that outsource some of their business processes use their time on core services and competencies.

With this shift in focus, companies improve their current processes which may result in improved customer satisfaction. BPO helps companies divert their resources to more critical business strategies.

Often, companies find it impractical to hire a full-time position in-house because of the cost associated with doing so. Outsourcing services can also help them save costs and resources in hiring suitable employees.

How does Business Process Outsourcing work?

Business process outsourcing happens when a business taps a third-party service provider to operate some of its internal processes. Such ‘processes’ include customer service, accounting and finance, or sales.

It is different from hiring an agency to do specific tasks, as the outsourcing provider (BPO) is more concerned with the ongoing production of labour-intensive tasks, instead of the higher-level strategy and guidance.

Now, business process outsourcing has broadened and is more akin to staff augmentation, or staff leasing.

What are the benefits of business process outsourcing?

There are many benefits to outsourcing, as well as some downsides and risks. The common benefits include:

Cost savings

Companies can enjoy savings of up to 70% by leveraging the salaries and costs in countries such as the Philippines and India.

Global market

Businesses get to access a bigger pool of talent that can fit their requirements. They can have better options in hiring employees since they are not limited to what is available in their home countries.

Global presence

At the same time, business process outsourcing opens clients to global trade opportunities. They can establish their global presence and expand more easily to other locations since they already have operations in the area.

Flexible workforce

BPO reduces internal local compliance obligations including providing additional office spaces to employees. Instead, organizations can hold their business operations on a remote setup, most usually having their teams in an office provided by the BPO firm.

Leverage skill

Companies cannot always do everything on their own. BPO enables them to leverage the skills of other specialist companies on more complex tasks such as accounting and IT.

Focus

Lastly, BPO enables organizations to focus on their core business functions. This is since most of their non-core business operations are done with the help of a reliable service provider.

Business process outsourcing examples

The business process outsourcing sector is a vast industry, generating over $200bn annually, and employing millions of people worldwide.

BPO can be seen in different forms and contexts, from hiring single staff to getting an offshore team. Some examples of BPO include:

Big enterprise

Facebook and Uber outsource many of their operational functions, including content moderation for Facebook, and customer service for Uber

Medium-size businesses

A medium business with 50-500 staff might outsource the labour-intensive accounting and finance functions to a team in the Philippines.

Small business and entrepreneur

It is common for small business owners to have a Virtual Assistant (VA) working for them full time and remotely from the Philippines.

What are the different types of BPO?

The type of business process outsourcing can be characterised by their specialisation, location, and size.

Generalist or specialist BPOs

Business process outsourcing is in the human resources and professional services sector. However, their services extend across all industries. The majority of BPOs are generalists, in that they offer a full range of professional services.

Meanwhile, some specialise in certain verticals such as the following.

Legal process outsourcing

Legal process outsourcing deals more with delegating legal processes and compliances to legal firms in another area.

Knowledge process outsourcing

Meanwhile, knowledge process outsourcing enables companies to outsource knowledge-related work including research and development, innovation, and creatives.

Location

Business process outsourcing typically operates from developing nations such as the Philippines, India, and Colombia. They typically have cheaper cost-of-living and bigger populations. Different locations offer different advantages.

Size of BPO

The bigger BPOs employ more than 250,000 people. They are huge, global operations. Medium-sized BPOs range from 500-5,000 staff and offer a full range of services. The smaller BPOs might have 1-500 people.

Functions of business process outsourcing

Collectively, business process outsourcing provides any kind of staffing solution. Common functions of BPO include:

Finance and accounting

Outsourced finance and accounting services help businesses manage their books, monitor cash flow, and keep up with corporate income tax compliances without fuss.

Healthcare

Healthcare outsourcing, meanwhile, organizes various back- and front-end functions done for the healthcare and insurance industries.

Creative and content

Creative services outsourcing covers everything from post-production of Hollywood movies to newspaper and website content.

Tech, IT and development

IT outsourcing involves delegating network management, web and app development, and cybersecurity protection to IT firms in different countries.

Sales & customer support

Some BPO providers specialize in sales and customer support for pre- and post-sales transactions. This helps companies meet the expectations and demands of their customers, keeping them satisfied even after their purchase.

Marketing

BPOs and marketing firms can help in ongoing marketing, communication and branding activities for their clients. This helps them attract more suitable leads in a cost-efficient way.

Talent and HR

Businesses can delegate HR, recruitment and compliance to professional employer organizations to maximize recruitment and workforce management.

Administration

Generalist BPOs help organizations accomplish general business administration and operational activities. This includes data entry, appointment setting, and other related functions.

Supply chain management

Lastly, e-commerce stores benefit from outsourcing supply chain management to manage warehouse and delivery processes.

Top BPO companies in the world’s top outsourcing hubs

A wide range of business process outsourcing companies in different parts of the world provide utmost services to their Western and local clients. Many of them even earned recognition by award-giving bodies due to their performance in both their roles and their level of care for the employees.

Check out the top BPO companies in several outsourcing destinations below.

Top BPO companies in the Philippines Top Indian BPO companies Top South African BPO companies Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services

With the rise of new offshore outsourcing locations, companies can have better options in terms of location and services they can delegate. However, finding a suitable BPO company can be a daunting task to be done on their own.

Good thing advisory services such as Outsource Accelerator is there to help them.

Outsource Accelerator is the most trusted source for independent information & advisory for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). We have over 5,000 articles, 350+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 2,500+ BPOs from different locations.

Outsource Accelerator's offerings make it easier for clients to learn about, and engage with, business process outsourcing companies worldwide.

Want to learn more about outsourcing? Check out the Inside Outsourcing book as well as the Inside Outsourcing book review today!

What is Shared Services Centre?

What is a shared services center?

A shared services center (SSC) is the dedicated unit responsible to do specific operations for the company, such as human resources, IT, accounting, and payroll. They centralize a common task from different teams instead of having one for each team to have a better organization and processing. 

Shared services centers are considered internal service providers for the company. They help the main corporate team focus on growth and management aspects through handling these operations. 

Shared services center characteristics

The specific characteristics of a shared services center may vary depending on the requirements they need to do a task. However, they should at least have standard processes, infrastructure, manpower, and compliance to operate. 

For instance, an accounting department should have specific processes for handling account payables, receivables, financial statements, tax filing, and payroll. At times, businesses consult an external provider for their shared services.

What is a financial shared service center?

Within an organization, a financial shared service center acts as an independent service provider. Shared services centers are supported by user fees and contractual arrangements with other business units in their company as independent service providers.

Pros of financial shared service center

Here are some advantages of financial shared services centers:

Performance-driven culture

The majority of businesses do not utilize KPIs to track the operations of their internal finance and accounting departments. Those who do prefer to concentrate on traditional, outward-facing KPIs such as accounts receivable days and accounts payable days. 

With SSCs, the entire strategy changes. Finance and accounting functions are administered as a service, with efficiency and productivity metrics taken into consideration.

In SSCs, the most common KPIs are the number of invoices per full-time equivalent (FTE). FTE cost as a proportion of revenue, percentage of mistakes, and the number of manual inputs. Organizations can find opportunities for improvement and automation by continuously monitoring these KPIs.

Managerial skills

Finance professionals in many places complain about the difficulty in obtaining the necessary skills and experience. By placing activities in countries with a large talent pool, centralization of finance and accounting processes can effectively solve some of these challenges.

An organization with a low overhead

The transition to an SSC model forces businesses to reconsider their whole business strategy. It's an opportunity to consider not just how to execute particular activities more effectively, but also if they're necessary at all.

Benefits of shared services center

Since the workflow is similar across business divisions, many companies have discovered the benefits of adopting shared services. As financial operations must comply with compliance and laws, their approach may and should be standardized.

Shared services centers may also offer significant information from deep data analytics that assist decision-making with the use of automation technologies. 

Here are some benefits of acquiring shared services for your business:

Increased employee efficiency

Your company will be able to get the most out of its technological investments, maintain control, and reduce labor expenses for acquiring shared services. 

Standardize business operation

Business operations should be standardized across the board, and you can enhance the company's capabilities and create best practices using a shared services center. From data management to reporting insights, each process will follow the same predefined path from start to finish.

Monitor return on investment

The accomplishments of the company are all measured through data and analytics. You can quickly determine your return on investment by comparing past data and industry benchmarks to your own KPIs.

What is a Team Leader?

What is a team leader?

Team leaders within the outsourcing industry are in charge of handling agents or employees, reporting the team's progress to higher management, coordinating efforts and division of tasks, and resolving interpersonal concerns. As opposed to a manager, a team lead does not have the authority to hire or fire employees, but will often be called for their input into such decisions.

A good team lead will have excellent communication skills and empathy, as the creativity and organizational skills to create an environment where team members have clear goals and a clear division of labor. Depending on the team, some may define their goals and divide their labor collaboratively, other times the team lead will be the one to set both with input from the team. In both cases, a team leader must create an environment where the members have bought into the tasks at hand.

Call center team leader

In the Philippines, a team leader can earn somewhere between $7,000 - $10,000 per annum. In a typical call center environment, they are expected to handle anywhere between 5 to 15 agents at any given project.

Outsource Accelerator provides you the best customer service outsourcing companies in the Philippines, where you can save up to 70% on staffing cost. We have over 3,000 articles, 200+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 700+ BPOs… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about, and engage with, outsourcing.

What does a call center team leader do?

A call center team leader is in charge of supervising and monitoring a group of call center staff. Their role is to give training and feedback to the team, as well as to guarantee that the team's goals are accomplished and to analyze each member's performance.

Discussing objectives with the call center manager and delivering them to the staff are also part of the team leader's responsibilities. 

Leadership abilities, customer service experience, observational awareness, and the ability to communicate effectively over the phone are all required for this position.

Call center team leader duties and responsibilities

Lower-level managers at call centers are called team leaders, and their goal is to get the best performance out of those under their supervision. A customer service director or call center manager is usually their supervisor.

Here are some primary duties of call center team leaders to maximize productivity and quality customer care:

Handling daily operations

Leaders of call center teams are hands-on leaders. They ensure that proper processes are followed and offer regular instructions to their employees on what to do and how to improve.

When a customer service representative requires assistance, call center team leaders may engage, give advice, or request a specific adjustment. One of their responsibilities is to schedule personnel to guarantee appropriate coverage.

Motivating team members

Responding to client complaints might be difficult at times. Team leaders motivate their staff to take their jobs seriously and to work hard to develop a good customer relationship.

They create targets and goals for them to accomplish to motivate them and assess their performance.

Hiring and training staff

Call center team leaders may be in charge of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring employees if they have a good understanding of what their organization needs from its customer service team.

They then familiarize these new team members with their responsibilities and expectations in the company.

Evaluating performance

Team leaders should monitor how their team and their employees are doing. They need to consider how they can boost efficiency and customer satisfaction. Written reports to senior management may be used to document their observations in the company.

Key points for effective team leadership in a call center

Here are some effective key points for team leaders to remember:

Be responsible and adaptable

Anyone who takes on leadership duties in a call center should be adaptable in every aspect. Your senior position doesn't guarantee you're in charge of the whole process in the call center.

That's why it's crucial to be willing to acknowledge your mistakes and make improvements. Through continuing quality assurance, management may be able to inform you of your errors, which may come as news to you.

It's easy to overlook the fact that you're not at the top of the food chain, but you must take any criticism, figure out how to adjust, and incorporate this into your work style.

Conduct regular coaching and training

When QA analysts conduct quality assurance in your call center, they will find issues at all levels of working procedures. Before a QA system detects problems, agents, team leaders, and supervisors can all contribute to poor customer service.

Based on the data obtained throughout the quality assurance process, team leaders must give coaching and training to service agents. Strong communication skills are essential in this situation, as they will help you connect with team members and guarantee that they understand how to develop.

Improve team experience

Listening to customer service agents' concerns, resolving their demands, and presenting management with their feedback may all help your employees feel more appreciated.

As a team leader, you should take the efforts you can to improve their job experience. Work with management to propose positive improvements in working practices, such as flexible hours, casual attire, and conduct training. 

Further, reward programs are an excellent method to motivate employees and increase their passion for their professions.

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About OA

Outsource Accelerator is the trusted source of independent information, advisory and expert implementation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The #1 outsourcing authority

Outsource Accelerator offers the world’s leading aggregator marketplace for outsourcing. It specifically provides the conduit between world-leading outsourcing suppliers and the businesses – clients – across the globe.

The Outsource Accelerator website has over 5,000 articles, 350+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 3,000+ BPO companies… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about – and engage with – outsourcing.

About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.