How Disruptive Technology Adoption has changed the BPO Industry since COVID-19

Tech disruption is changing the way we work and live. New-age technologies that dramatically alter how organizations gather data, interact with customers, and offer products or services, were transforming global markets even before Covid-19. The pandemic only accelerated the pace of this change. According to a McKinsey survey, businesses accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and their internal operations by three to four years since the pandemic hit.

And just like other industries, the digitalization narrative of the BPO and call center sector is no different. With most industries now in a recovery and revival phase, BPOs are also realigning and refocusing on their customers’ needs while deploying innovative service delivery models. That said, the increased adoption of tech in the new normal can be broadly segregated into two categories.

Instant measures for survival: Digital transformation

As an immediate response to Covid-19-led lockdowns and restrictions, BPO companies activated their interactive voice response (IVRs) and chatbot solutions to keep customer service operations alive. However, because these call centers were understaffed due to the pandemic restrictions, and most customers wanted to speak to a human instead of bots, the hold times increased by 50%, inducing further investment in digitalization. While BPOs had not even considered a work-from-home option for their employees before Covid-19, the Deloitte CFO survey of 2020 showed that 99% of the CFOs were willing to experiment with the process to meet the SLAs promised to their clients. They adopted custom digital platforms to facilitate location-agnostic call management and internal collaboration.

Measures for information privacy became prominent because working from home came with its own security loopholes. While transitioning to a remote work model, BPOs needed to ensure that their employees used secure networks and adhered to data protection policies. Accordingly, IT teams deployed VPNs and web-based apps to virtually assist contact center agents and enable quality analysts’ compliance supervision.

The pandemic prompted more companies to outsource their back-office, technical support, and customer service functions to experienced BPO providers “technologically adapted” to offer SLA-backed solutions with attractive, economic cases. Companies began investing in voice and text-based helpdesks for both customers and employees.

Thriving in the ‘new normal’: Adoption of disruptive technologies

Through 2020-2021, the pandemic fast-tracked digital transformation for the BPO industry. And while the sector is now reviving, companies know that implementing innovative service delivery models is the only way to realign and fulfill their customers’ needs.

They have identified the disruptive technologies that hold value for their business continuity and the customer experience they intend to build. These include:

Big Data Analytics:

By combining their call recordings and market research findings with predictive analytics, natural language processing, and cross-channel analytics, a BPO can open new doors to better customer service. It can also leverage big data to derive valuable insights for the companies it serves, facilitating competitive advantages in its industry.

Cloud Computing:

Reducing the dependence on on-premise hardware and physical data centers cloud technology makes BPO operations more flexible and cost-effective. A Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) brings customizable IVRs, API integration facility, encrypted communication, dashboards displaying call logs, and ease of recording calls. BPOs can also adopt SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS platforms for efficient customer service. In addition, cloud-native cybersecurity tools help address the threats that impede work-from-home models.

Robotic Process Automation:

RPA automates repetitive tasks to enhance productivity and customer experience (CX). For example, programmed IVR responses to help customers check their account balances, outstanding bills, recent payment records, and other objective information. RPA is neither very costly to implement nor has detrimental side effects. And it allows a BPO to use its workforce’s abilities in more intricate tasks that require soft skills and personalized decision-making.

Artificial Intelligence:

Like automation, AI enhances service delivery, offers actionable analytics, and boosts employee efficiency in a BPO. It supports predictive call routing by matching customers’ needs to specific contact center agents skilled in handling certain queries more efficiently than others. Likewise, emotional intelligence AI helps a BPO gauge customer sentiments during a phone call. It can be used for agent feedback and to identify the focus areas for better interactions.

Blockchain:

Blockchain is an absolute digital ledger enabling transparent and secure transactions within a decentralized network. In a BPO, blockchain empowers agents to provide instant and accurate answers to customers’ queries during the very first interaction, eliminating the need for time-consuming verifications and repeat calls. All information on a blockchain platform is encrypted and helps to shape meaningful communications relevant across multiple channels.

Self-service options:

When customers can book appointments or check account balances themselves, call center agents are free to work on tasks that need human intervention. IVR today is driven by AI, which enables clients to get answers to simple questions they need, on their own. Chatbots too, aid clients in this area.

Summing up

The changes that we’ve seen since 2020 make it clear that agile operations, responsiveness, and digitalization will shape the future of outsourcing, and disruptive technologies will play a critical role in the industry.

Flatworld Philippines stays attuned to such changes to help its clients manage their outsourced operations productively. As the volume of customer interactions with businesses increases in the post-pandemic world, our team unlocks the potential for top-line growth for global companies.

Flatworld Philippines has a wide range of AI and data services, such as natural language processing, cognitive process automation, and machine learning services. Contact us today for a free quote based on your AI and data science requirements.