Where Ive often seen BPO go a bit off the rails is in areas such as customer service outcomes, whose main stakeholders probably couldnt care less about an organizations cost structure. Indeed, the PC industry is rife with strong players who significantly eroded customer trust and loyalty with customer contact and field service failures arising in part from efforts to drive down costs.
The notion of performance management is used by world-class organizations to raise the bar for success; by focusing on outcomes that span functional areas, processes and information.
Toward proactive, agile execution
First, for our purposes, a working definition of performance management: It is the set of processes, information, technology and organization components, crossing traditional functional and operational boundaries that enable organizations to see opportunities, make decisions and execute tactically in a proactive, agile manner.
Now thats a mouthful and for this column Im going to focus at a high level on processes and information. However, the premise that BPO must manage elements in both a process-centric and process-interdependent fashion to understand its true impact is important, and I believe will start to differentiate the value that BPO providers can bring to the table. Lets take a closer look at two elements of performance management, those being process and information:
Process: A key focus area for performance management in BPO with characteristics that include:
Customer contact centers integrating with field service are prime examples in BPO. The ability to gather and use traditional indicators such as average call time, resolution by service tier, and abandonment rates are still important but provide only part of the performance management picture.
Being able to peer under the covers and understand, for instance, whether customers are actively using new online self-service touch points, or if this part of the process is sub-optimal due to system latency or out-of-date information, has become just as important to a modern multi-channel contact center.
Even more important are measures that focus on customer outcomes versus the contact centers view of success. If the contact center resolves a customers problem by shipping a new part, but the part never gets to the customer or is itself defective, the contact center may have hit its KPIs but the organization didnt produce the desired customer outcome.