Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to the Philippines and elsewhere has become almost routine for many businesses. The benefits of outsourcing to specialist companies are well known; it offers significant savings, particularly if outsourcing to countries that have lower labor costs, but it can also enhance the Customer Experience (CX) by utilising the trained and experienced staff that leading outsourcing destinations can offer.
When considering business process outsourcing to countries like the Philippines, companies need to be aware that both the front and back office often play an equally important part for managing CX.
“While the call centre might feel like the key element since they interact directly with the customer, the back office is perhaps an even more important part of any business’s BPO requirements. Research suggests that back office functions employ as many as three times more staff than contact centres and can have a major effect on customer satisfaction,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a leading BPO provider in the Philippines.
The importance of back office functions is such that many professionals now frown upon the term “back office” since it implies hidden, less important roles. Instead, terms like “customer-facing” and “customer-impacting” are used to differentiate the roles. In the modern economy, almost every role will have some impact, even if indirect, on the customer.
“Back office processes are the second biggest driver of customer satisfaction, and for most customers, their only interaction with a company. Their orders and billing, for example, are routinely handled by back office staff. When these are processed efficiently and effectively, the customer will remain satisfied and have no cause for complaint. When they go wrong, though, the risk is that the dissatisfied customer quickly becomes a former customer without giving customer-facing customer service the chance to rectify the situation,” says Ellspermann.
For many businesses it will seem like a bold step to move back office processes out of the company, given their importance to the organization. While it might feel like departments such as accounting or HR should be in house, the same rationale applies to them as for front-office functions. If customer support can be outsourced, so can internal functions. BPOs in the Philippines have long been providing high-quality back office support with lower labor costs, offering the potential to save money while retaining high-quality services.
Call centres might form the centrepiece of the BPO industry in the Philippines; they are the first thing many people think of when they consider outsourcing. However, a positive customer experience is not just about customer service. Instead, it is the result of a complex mix that includes the contacts they have, along with their routine interactions, and perhaps most importantly, the products and services that are delivered to them by a satisfied and dedicated team.
“Getting the back office right is crucial to making an organization work well. The customer might never think about all the moving parts that are behind the scenes, but a business cannot afford to ignore them. If done right, the outsourcing of BPO requirements to the Philippines will lead to an enhanced CX,” says Ellspermann.