Ryan Strategic Advisory
Derek Gallimore talks with Peter Ryan, principal analyst at Ryan Strategic Advisory. The company is one of the leading providers of insights and outcomes in the BPO industry, particularly in customer service and CX.
In this episode, Derek and Ryan will take us into the CX space, the changes that took place in the BPO industry, and how customer service nowadays provides a better value into global companies.
Introducing Ryan Strategic Advisory
The OA podcast features Peter Ryan, principal analyst of Ryan Strategic Advisory. Established five years ago, Ryan Advisory is an organization focusing on the customer experience (CX) element in the BPO industry.
The organization relies on the idea that “[CX], especially from third-party [service providers], is evolving quickly.” They help clients make sense of the industry’s directions affected by the trends, technology, and changes in the landscape.
Peter first entered the CX space almost two decades ago. He was asked to join the CRM team of an analyst firm he dealt with from a previous job. He has been involved in the industry since then.
The evolution of the customer service industry
Per Peter, the customer service sphere decades ago revolves around where the work will come from. Most BPOs focus on the workers delivering customer experience over the phone with companies asking whether to hire offshore and where.
Automation has been around ever since in the form of interactive voice response (IVR). However, customers shared mostly horror stories about it.
Much has changed in customer service over the years. More companies have embraced technology, seeing it more as a value-adding breakthrough and a good way to “enhance the relationship with the customers.”
Along with offshoring, according to Peter, discussions between companies nowadays have expanded to nearshoring and remote work.
How companies decide between onshoring and offshoring
Peter recalled discussions about offshoring at cocktail parties and lunch meetings. According to him, business owners “had horror stories” and stigma about offshoring.
Television ads and shows even played on the misconceptions about the industry, making it “a big draw to reshoring” in the UK and the US. Fast forward to today, companies can now get quality services “[at par] with what [businesses can] get in a domestic location.”
Further, clients have slowly realized that offshoring will work for them as long as they “emphasize quality” to have a long-term relationship with their outsourcing providers.
Changes in CX responsibilities
Optimizing CX for business continuity
Peter agrees that the pandemic taught companies “the need for a diversified delivery platform” in business continuity. He sees a growing trend of companies expecting their providers to have “a proportion of [service] delivery” onshore, nearshore, and offshore.
According to Peter, most businesses “weren’t ready” for implementing business continuity plans. BPOs, on the other hand, were better prepared to deal with the pandemic.
Customer service nowadays is not just confined to answering phone calls alone. Agents have now gone omnichannel, managing several platforms including web chats, social media, and video chatting.
Peter added that they have even become “brand ambassadors.” Clients and customers expect them to be informed and enthusiastic about the brand and solution they represent.
However, some companies still use “[outdated] approaches to CX,” making it more difficult to solve certain problems at hand. Peter observed that most companies that usually cut budgets on their CX departments are usually the first impacted by disruptions such as the pandemic.
Automation in CX over the last 20 years
Peter said that automation “has taken more life of its own” nowadays. As early as 2012 or 2013, experts focused more on the ways to “deploy automation in the CX space” that will increase the quality of work.
Automation is now less about “killing jobs… [and] emptying contact centers”; It focuses more on “facilitating interaction to a certain point” before going to an agent.
Per Peter, even interactions with chatbots are now “done seamlessly.” He compared it to snow boots that “keep on improving year by year” with some that make it difficult to distinguish from an agent.
With the abundance of providers in the market, more organizations choose to use tailored chatbot solutions than making them in-house. At least, these providers can help them customize their services up to the AI background and how it should be programmed to their businesses.
Ryan Strategic Advisory’s elevator pitch
Ryan Advisory has a “triangulated approach” in terms of providing insights to their clients. They structure this approach in three points:
- Having access to the industry to get an insight on what’s going on behind it
- Leveraging qualitative data from the industry as much as possible
- Having qualitative discussions with key persons in the industry that will explain their gathered data better
Overall, Ryan Strategic Advisory is a “one-stop-shop in the CX BPO space” for clients interested to tap and learn more about it.