Manage BPO Performance Before It Costs You - Page 2

Jun 26, 2007

Mark Cioni

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There’s a good chance that the customer will either “talk or walk” and this represents a significant opportunity to retain that customer and the relationship, and proactively leverage this information for performance improvement.

Information: A key enabler of performance management in BPO with characteristics that include:

  • Capability to detect changing conditions and respond in an agile manner;
  • Availability and accessibility in a “business time” frame of reference;
  • Collaboration that drives better decisions more quickly;
  • Shifts the focus from “rear view mirror” to proactive control; and
  • Provides the foundation for achieving sustainable performance improvements.
  • Let’s look again at the previous contact center example, assume a customer got the wrong part as their first outcome after their initial contact, and that the customer talks instead of walking. Ideally, at a high level, a performance management approach would help to drive customer satisfaction, performance improvement and customer loyalty.

    One way this might happen is the organization can “sense and respond” to the customer’s next contact, which is probably a less than happy conversation, in an expedient manner by having enough information in “business time” (meaning the customer doesn’t need to visit five different departments over the next 30 minutes) to confirm and admit the mistake.

    Next, the customer service representative on point might need to collaborate with inventory and Shipping to ensure that the right part is picked, packed and shipped next day, outside of their normal processes. At this point, we would hope to have a satisfied customer due to performance management, but it’s not nearly the end of this story.

    What matters to the customer

    The organization may have fixed one instance of this problem (“rear view mirror” focus) but suppose it’s been happening at an unacceptably high rate relative to customer contacts?

    An organization with a performance management approach might use process instrumentation in the contact center, field service and other areas to determine what happened (data) and use process monitoring to determine why (information).

    Then, perhaps via collaboration across multiple functional areas and process modeling, the organization could enact changes to minimize the chances of recurrence (proactive control).

    Finally, a follow-up contact to the customer that explains what went wrong, how the organization has responded, and perhaps some incentives for repeat business would aim to secure customer loyalty. In my personal view, given my unfortunate experience with too many of these types of problems, I’d remain a loyal customer if I just understood what was broken and how it got fixed.

    Today, all of us have heard enough of the “flat worlds” and “global business ecosystems” we need to navigate. It doesn’t matter what shape it has or what we call it, outstanding performance is crucial to BPO success, and not just in the areas of cost control but in those that matter most to your customers.

    So ask your current or prospective BPO provider how together you will both use performance management to achieve business objectives … the answer may surprise you.

    Mark Cioni is president of MV Cioni Associates. He has been helping global businesses to improve their decisions, operations and performance for more than 25 years and can be reached at

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