How Intraday Automation Addresses Top Three BPO Pains

For BPOs, it’s all about delivering an excellent customer experience while making a profit. It’s not an easy job.

Often, this means doing more with less. And for Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs), agents are a fixed cost that can also serve as a competitive advantage.

The BPO contact center environment is complicated with its own set of unique challenges. Here are some of the top pain points for today’s BPOs and how intraday automation technology is helping BPOs get ahead of the competition:

Challenge: Improve Bill to Pay Ratio

For BPOs, your “bill to pay” ratio is the amount you are billing your client vs. how much you are paying your employees per hour, for example. Whether the contract is per call or per minute, BPOs want to maximize the number of calls or minutes divided by their hourly expenses.

Since agents are a fixed cost, the BPO’s goal is to ensure that the majority of the time they are paying their agents is billable.

One of the biggest hindrances to bill to pay ratio is agent idle time – the time agents are off the phones, waiting for the next call.

The most competitive BPOs find ways to push billable work to agents during some of these natural downtimes, but if the billable volume isn’t there, they resort to offering agents alternatives such as voluntary time off (VTO) or unpaid lunch.

Not only is this unproductive, but the process is time-consuming for real-time analysts, who are tasked with making exceptions to the schedule.

How Intraday Automation helps: Intraday automation collects real-time data from existing systems and triggers workforce adjustments automatically based on business rules.

Challenge: Finding Time to Develop and Coach Agents

Though idle time in the contact center can add up to a significant part of an agent’s day, this time comes in small “slivers” – 20 seconds here, 40 seconds there – that are too small to really be productive.

At the same time, BPOs struggle to find time to develop and coach agents.

Though most centers overstaff to make time for agent development, training and coaching, reality of day-to-day operations gets in the way.

Call volume spikes unexpectedly or agents miss their shifts, causing agents to be pulled back onto the floor to answer calls.

How Intraday Automation helps: With intraday automation technology, idle time can be aggregated and harvested into larger “chunks” to allow time to train and develop agents so that they can ultimately deliver a better customer experience.

Challenge: Improve Margins

Most BPOs typically have razor-thin margins – it’s just the nature of the business. As a result, any improvement can be a competitive advantage.

Adding even one or two points to the margin by harvesting idle time off the schedule means fewer agents you are paying for doing the same amount of billable work.

This is extra margin that can be built into your pricing model, allowing you to charge less than your competitors.

How Intraday Automation helps: For some BPOs, automated intraday platforms have added as much as $10-12 million directly to their margins.

Send me an email if you would like to learn more about how intraday automation technology meets these challenges and gives you a competitive advantage.

About the author

Bob Fletcher

Bob leads the sales and solution delivery initiatives for Intradiem’s global business process outsourcing (BPO) clients, helping to transform their business models and drive profitability via Intraday Automation. He brings a wealth of operations, management and consulting acumen to the BPO practice, having delivered guidance to more than 1,000 call centers and trained over 5,000 managers and supervisors worldwide. Bob's experience includes executive management of Arvato's customer service operations and as executive vice president for Deutsche Telekom. Bob has also served in critical management roles in engagements with leading companies such as T-Mobile, Verizon, Pitney Bowes, TeleDenmark, Gateway of Dublin, DecisionOne, Delta Dental, Wells Fargo and Cox Communications.

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