When running a business, you should be prepared with product improvements, additional features, increasing deals, and new responsibilities. And with this, you need to hire resources for the additional workload. However, as an SME, this impacts your cash flow.
Luckily, there is a more cost-effective way of hiring new people. You can hire freelancers that can help you with one-off tasks, like web layout and graphic design. But how about if you want to build a team to help you with regular administrative tasks? That’s where outsourcing enters.
Before, only big enterprises and manufacturing engage in outsourcing. Nowadays, outsourcing companies open their doors to small and medium businesses. And not only manufacturing can be outsourced, but also processes, such as customer service and accounting. In return, BPO teams give high-quality service at a low amount that’s perfect for the budget of an SME.
If you’re new to outsourcing and want to know where and how to start, here’s a quick guide of the top countries to outsource and how you can start.
What is business process outsourcing?
Business process outsourcing is the method of hiring a third-party company to do regular tasks. These companies set up a team for you in a complete package. They cover the office equipment, facilities, phones, and payroll for your team. You can either do staff leasing or seat leasing with these outsourcing companies.
Aside from customer service, BPOs offer a wide range of services such as software development, human resources, and digital marketing. They also cater to different sectors such as real estate, hospitality, and finance.
Benefits and disadvantages
Outsourcing your processes has a lot of benefits.
- Access to cost savings. Outsourcing can save you up to 70% on costs since they cover everything you need to build a team. This is compared to in-house employment where you need to shell out resources for your employees.
- Access to a bigger talent pool. When you outsource your services, you connect to competitive talents from different countries. These talents share different ideas and approaches which allow you to improve your processes and services.
- Access to better equipment. BPOs use high-quality equipment and top-of-the-line technology for their operations. Hiring them for your business gives your team access to different equipment tools to provide the best service to your customers.
- Access to 24/7 service. Offshore companies even offer 24/7 services to their clients. With this, you can assure that your business continues to operate even outside of your working hours.
However, outsourcing also has its disadvantages. Luckily, you can work out these disadvantages with your BPO to ensure a smooth operation with your team.
- Security risks. Your outsourced teams are exposed to sensitive information, such as customer data. Screen monitoring is a popular solution to avoid any suspicious activities that can affect your business.
- Communication issues. You may experience issues in communicating with your remote teams, especially when they’re overseas. Different time zones, connection issues, and other instances can make your communications difficult.
- Language and cultural barriers. Your customers might experience difficulties in understanding your agents, particularly when it comes to accents. Your teams may also experience culture shock when handling your customers in return.
Typical call center outsourcing costs
One thing to consider when hiring a call center is the cost. This can vary depending on the country and service you will avail of. The cheapest countries to outsource are India and the Philippines, starting from $10 per hour. BPO companies offer three types of services:
- Inbound. Your team receives incoming calls from your customers. Your company can offer either a shared or dedicated team for you, depending on the volume of calls you expect to receive. Inbound services usually start at $8 per hour and can be charged on a monthly or per-use basis.
- Outbound. In outbound services, meanwhile, your team makes outbound calls to potential and existing customers for sales offers and billing reminders. This usually ranges from $8 to $15 per hour in Asian countries and a minimum of $22 per hour in the West. BPOs may also charge commissions on top of the hourly rates once they achieve a specific quota.
Top outsourcing countries to consider
Every year, Tholons releases its list of top outsourcing countries. They base their ratings on the country’s digital competitiveness, population, total workforce, and literacy rate. According to the report, India and the Philippines are the top two countries for business process outsourcing.
The Philippines (offshore)
Its westernized culture and strong English proficiency are some of the reasons people choose the Philippines. The country boasts its cheap labor cost, high-quality service, and 24/7 support. The Philippine holidays ranks 5th with the most number of holidays in South East Asia. BPOs in the Philippines specializes in customer service and front-end operations, mostly in the financial services and telecommunications sector.
India still remains the leading country to outsource tech support and IT-related services. Aside from 24/7 customer support, it boasts its cheap fees, top-of-the-line equipment, and strong English proficiency of its agents.
The outsourcing law enables Brazil’s agents to work on primary services like office work. The country is popular for IT and tech support services and currently has international clients in both Latin and North America. Big companies such as IBM and HP have outsourced their services in the country for years.
Though more popular in manufacturing, Mexico slowly rises as an outsourcing destination when it comes to Information Technology (IT) and Human Resources (HR). It boasts its close location to the US and its bilingual agents that handle customer concerns well.
How to start outsourcing
If you want to start outsourcing, you need to carefully plan and calculate your budget to ensure a successful engagement with your outsourcing company. Here are the things you need to do before you decide to start outsourcing:
Plan your expenses
When hiring a BPO company, you need to consider your expenses first. There are free expense report and balance sheet templates that can be downloaded online to help you start budgeting. Remember that if a deal is too good to be true, chances are the quality of service you get can be sacrificed. Also, consider the location of your preferred company. If you want to save big on costs and receive quality service, you can hire either nearshore or offshore services if you want.
Search for different outsourcing companies
A simple Google search can help you a long way. Research for companies with your preferred services and prices. These companies have their websites where you can browse their offerings and connect with them. However, if you find a deal you think is too good to be true, you can email them to ask for a quotation for the services you will avail.
Check and compare service offerings
Gather quotations from different companies of your choice. Compare their prices and offerings and determine which one can be the perfect fit for you. Make it four in case you’re still not satisfied with the first three. Remember that when choosing a company, you don’t just get the lowest price you can get. You also look for the best service for you and your customers alike.
Verify companies through reviews
Don’t just get a one-sided perspective when researching. Pull up some reviews on sites such as Google Reviews and Trustpilot about their services and see if their clients are satisfied with them as well. A few bad reviews about hidden charges should give you suspicion about their offers. Poor work performance of their agents from Indeed and Glassdoor should give you doubt about the quality of their services. You wouldn’t want to lose customers just because of poor customer service reviews from your team.
Talk to an outsourcing expert
It’s best if you contact a consultant or an agency that can help you with outsourcing for the first time or get a reference if you already know someone who outsources. They can advise you with which companies you can get for your budget, their latest deals and offers, and the quality of their services. Most of these agencies offer their services for a low cost, but they will make sure that you get the best deal and quality for your needs.