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Blended Agents

Definition

What are Blended Agents?

In a call center, a blended agent is a person who maintains multi-channel customer communications. Primarily, this includes managing calls both inbound and outbound. 

Blended agents are qualified to manage incoming and outgoing calls. It typically entails the ACD (automatic call distributor) detecting an increase in the volume of incoming calls and switching the roles of outbound agents to manage the overflow.

Some examples of blended call centers include: inbound and outbound, sales and service, phones and email, multiple channels like Live Chat, SMS, different call complexity level, and office or retail counter.

Benefits of Blended Agents

Flexibility is the primary benefit of blended agents. Inbound agents are automatically switched to outbound calls when incoming calls are low and vice versa. When inbound call amounts are high, outbound campaigns can be paused as agents prioritize live inbound calls.

Small call center companies are prone to low levels of occupancy and low productivity. Blended agents can add more value in several call centers and are particularly helpful in centers with few seats.

Blended agents can boost the retention of employees by allowing the staff to alternate between roles or duties. This strategy will avoid exhaustion and offer them new challenges. By using blended agents, call centers are responsible for assigning a pool of outbound agents to operate while the inbound demand is minimal. Further, agents can be transferred to inbound calls as traffic grows.

 

What are Blended Agents
What are Blended Agents?
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 Average Talk Time?

What is Average Talk Time?

Average Talk Time (ATT) is the length of time the consultant spends talking to clients. This allows the staff to estimate how much time they can set aside for talk-time per call. This metric is often mistaken for Average Handling Time (AHT). Identifying the distinction between the two metrics is very critical. 

Average time talk does not require time spent on hold as opposed to Average Handling Time. Ideally, this does not involve the time spent by the caller on hold. If the average time talk is too big, service providers may not respond to further requests. On the contrary, if the total speaking time is too short, the call center will be able to field further requests. As a result, lower average time talk increases client’s loyalty.

Importance of average talk time

Average talk time is one of the most essential customer insights. Average talk time represents the exposure of the clients to the call center agents.

The average talk time aims to assess the day-to-day operations of the administration of call center service providers. The index is measured and analyzed regularly. It is also vital to maximize the total speaking time to minimize additional expenses and balance the services offered to consumers.

 

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 Customer Care?

What is customer care

Customer care refers to the level of care, usually above and beyond their expectations, given to customers when interacting with the company. This measures how well the customers are taken care of in providing their needs and the solutions for their issues. 

There is a big distinction between customer service, care, and experience. Customer care taps and builds the emotional connection of the company to its customers. It is a bit higher than customer service, which refers to providing the best service to customers. Meanwhile, customer experience refers to their overall experience in the business.

Customer care responsibilities

Customer care is more than just listening and giving basic help. It is the process of relating to concerns, listening to suggestions, and providing extensive help whenever they need anything other than their purpose of reaching out. With this, customer care employees are usually friendly, approachable, empathetic, and passionate in helping customers.

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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.