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Idle Time

Definition

What is Idle Time?

Idle time, sometimes comparable to waiting time, is the period of time when an employee, machine, or commodity is ready and available but is unproductive. Minimizing idle time is crucial if a company wishes to optimize productivity and efficiency over a long time.

Companies should learn and track down idle time to figure out the difference between the current productivity levels. Simply put, any minute the computer or employee is idle is a minute of wasted productivity. Idle time is costly because the company needs to pay its staff, who are at that point, did not make any profit or income for the company.

What is Idle Time
What is Idle Time?

Types of Idle Time

There are two major types of idle time, Normal Idle Time and Abnormal Idle Time.

  • Normal idle time.  Normal idle time is the gradual shortage of productive working hours in the course of business. In any job setting, it is inherent and can not be removed. Normal idle time is inevitable, and the company must also pay the labor expense of this time. Yet, there should be every attempt to minimize it to the lowest extent possible.
  • Abnormal idle time. Abnormal idle time is the time loss that is possible to reduce by using precautionary measures. For example, the time wasted as a result of excessive waiting for instructions.
Outsourcing FAQ

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 a Call Center?

What is a call center?

A Call center may refer to a physical center where an outsourcing company conducts various customer contact services that act as a front liner to customers. Call centers comprise of a team of agents who are trained for the product or service being offered. A call center may also refer to a type of BPO setup where a client gets a remote team to handle its customer service hotlines and attend the client’s customers in its behalf.

In call centers, agents often does inbound or outbound call handling. The former talks about customer service, order processing or technical support. The latter focuses more on telemarketing, promotions or selling. In this setup, it is the call center agent who initiates the call to potential customers.

Call center outsourcing

A call center employs agents who act as representatives of their client’s behalf to deal with questions, concerns, and complaints of the customers. Aside from that, call centers can also function as sales hotlines and telemarketing teams. Outsource Accelerator provides you the best call center outsourcing companies in the Philippines, where you can save up-to 70% on staffing cost.

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.

What is Customer Churn?

What is customer churn?

Customer churn refers to the cessation of the customer’s relationship with the company. Companies determine customer churns upon establishing a predetermined time wherein the customer should re-engage with the company but did not.

Online businesses encounter many customer churns, which are evident in decline in the number of site visits and the purchase of services.

In combating customer churn, businesses should take care of their customers through proactive communication, constant updates, and friendly representatives who can always provide a positive customer experience. Having the best methods to build a long-standing relationship is more comfortable with the right people helping you.

Outsourcing can help you work with competent people in this area while focusing on innovation and growing your business.

Why does customer churn happen?

There are a lot of reasons why customer churn happens. Here are some specific reasons and how you can prevent it.

You're not attracting the right customers

From the very beginning, your marketing team should target the right prospect. Attracting the wrong people will turn into customer churn. When consumers learn that your product doesn't meet their needs, they'll probably move to a competitor.

Detailed and well-planned strategy implementation is vital to attract the right customers. Also, your products and services must fit their needs.

Customers believe that your competitors are more reliable

No matter how good your products are, if buyers don't think it's the best fit for their needs, there's no point in producing them. This is primarily the problem of new small businesses.

Provide excellent service to your customers. Customer service is one of the most effective ways for businesses to build trust and confidence.

Your buyers doubt your pricing

Most customers depend on pricing. Customers tend to leave if they find your product too expensive. But it is not always about “which is more affordable” because some customers might also doubt if your pricing is too low.

For example, if customers think your product is too expensive, they're more inclined to go with a lower-cost competitor.

On the other hand, a customer may doubt your ability to solve their problem if they believe your solution is too cheap for the value you're providing. 

Failure to provide customer assistance

Customer service is not only a small part of customer success. It is important to note that customer success demands more proactive assistance.

There are a lot of practices to improve your customer service. You can deploy new technologies, hold training for your staff, or improve internal communications.

Customer churn prevention

Decreasing the possibility of customer churn can be crucial to business growth. Outsource Accelerator helps you battle customer churn by providing practical, proven, and research-based ways to maintain a good relationship with your customers and stay relevant and wanted by your customer circle.

Outsourcing your marketing and customer service functions can help you focus on your long-term goals.

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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.