In decades past, only big enterprises and manufacturing businesses engaged in outsourcing. Nowadays, outsourcing companies across the globe have opened their doors to small and midsize businesses too. And manufacturing isn’t the only aspect of business that can be outsourced. It’s now possible to outsource processes such as customer service and accounting.
In return, business process outsourcing (BPO) teams give high-quality service at a low cost that’s perfect for the budget of a small to midsize enterprise (SME). If you’re new to outsourcing and want to know where and how to start, here’s a quick guide to the top countries to outsource and how you can begin.
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Business process outsourcing means hiring a third-party company to do regular tasks for your enterprise. These companies set up a team for you that may be based overseas. This team can manage your payroll, answer phones, respond to customer queries, and more, depending on what your business needs.
In addition to accounting help and customer service, BPO vendors offer a wide range of services, such as software development, human resources management and digital marketing. They also cater to sectors like real estate, hospitality and finance.
All that said, outsourcing also has potential drawbacks. However, you can generally work through these disadvantages with your BPO company to ensure smooth operations.
Choosing an outsourcing country and partner is not a decision that you should take lightly. Consider the country’s familiarity with English (or your native language), time zone, financial incentives and skill sets. Whether the country is nearshore (i.e., neighboring or close to the U.S. and in a similar time zone) or offshore (i.e., in another region and a very different time zone) can impact the outsourcing relationship. [Learn how to deal with geodiversity.]
Here are some of the top countries to consider when looking for a BPO partner.
Its Westernized culture and strong English proficiency are two of the reasons people choose outsourcing partners in the Philippines. The country boasts cheap labor costs, high-quality service and 24/7 support.
Entrepreneurs and established businesses can use the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) for seamless exports. The Philippine government agency offers financial help, tax breaks and business operation assistance to encourage economic growth.
The Philippines rank as the third largest English-speaking country. BPO vendors in the Philippines specialize in customer service and front-end operations, mainly in the financial services and telecommunications sectors.
India remains the leading country from which companies outsource tech support and IT-related services. Aside from allowing for 24/7 customer support, India is appealing due to its cheap fees, top-of-the-line equipment and the strong English proficiency of its agents.
India has the second-largest English-speaking population globally. The country also significantly focuses on STEM education, with over 2 million graduates every year.
2017’s outsourcing law enables Brazil’s agents to work on primary services like office work and main business processes. The country is popular for IT and tech support services and has international clients in Latin and North America.
Big companies such as IBM and HP have outsourced their services in the country for years.
Though it’s more commonly used to outsource manufacturing, Mexico is slowly rising as an outsourcing destination for HR and IT. Among the perks of partnering with a Mexican company are the county’s proximity to the U.S. and its bilingual agents who are well-equipped to handle customer concerns.
One thing to consider when outsourcing a call center is the cost. This can vary depending on the vendor’s country and the services you need. The cheapest countries to outsource from are India and the Philippines.
BPO companies offer two types of call center services with different costs.
If you want to start outsourcing, you need to carefully research different BPO partners and calculate your budget to ensure a successful engagement with an outsourcing company. Here are the things you should do to begin the process.
When hiring a BPO company, you need to consider your expenses first. There are free budget templates and other financial tools that can be downloaded online to help you evaluate your business’s finances and what you can afford to spend on outsourcing.
As you receive price quotes from vendors, keep in mind that if the fee is unusually cheap, chances are the quality of service you get will be sacrificed. Also, consider the location of the company. If you want to save on costs and receive quality service, hire either nearshore or offshore services as opposed to onshore outsourcing within the U.S.
A simple Google search can go a long way. Research companies with your preferred services and price points. Vendors have websites that allow you to browse their offerings and connect with them. However, if you see a deal you think is too good to be true, you can email the vendor to ask for a quote in writing for the services you want and to inquire about any fine print.
Gather quotes from different companies. Compare their prices and offerings and determine which is the perfect fit for your business. Remember that when choosing a partner, you don’t just want to go with the lowest price. You want to find the best service for you and your customers alike, even if that means paying a little more.
Don’t rely on a one-sided perspective when researching BPO vendors. Pull up some reviews through Google and sites like Trustpilot to see what people are saying about a company’s services and whether its clients are satisfied.
A few bad reviews about hidden charges should make you suspicious about a company’s offers. Similarly, complaints of poor work performance on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor should cast doubt about the quality of services offered.
Contact a consultant or an agency that can help you with outsourcing for the first time or find a reference if you already know someone who outsources. An expert can advise you on which companies get you the best bang for your buck, what the latest deals and offers are, and the quality of available services. Most agencies provide such advice for a low cost, but this can be worthwhile to ensure you get the best deal and quality for your business’s needs.
Once you’ve signed an agreement with your chosen company, it’s time to implement the outsourcing service into your business’s operations. That may entail providing training for agents, drafting policies regarding what’s outsourced and what’s handled in-house, and setting up procedures for evaluating how well the BPO vendor is completing the outsourced tasks.
Julie Thompson contributed to this article.