Outsourcing is nothing new and many companies have been doing this with their call centers for decades. The reason being that it’s cheaper, increases productivity and enables scaled-up customer support during peak call times. Outsourcing has become so big that the industry has seen revenues up to $140 billion. And that number is only expected to continue to grow in the coming years. “Business process outsourcing” or BPO is often used interchangeably with the term “outsourced call center” these days.
While BPO will only continue to grow, there are some major changes that will impact it. First, there’s artificial intelligence that can greatly disrupt the industry. The Philippines is currently the country with the most call centers and they’re afraid that AI will greatly impact their $23 million niche. There’s also the impact of “reshoring,” which means call centers are returning to North America dues to various factors like low wage inflation and the rise of focus on customer service. Companies are realizing how valuable it is to keep customer call centers local in order to provide a better experience. Many customers often complain that call centers overseas lack the correct information and don’t correctly help them. But will reshoring become a permanent trend? Only time will tell.
Finally, BPOs are now weighing up the benefits of a multichannel approach as siloing different customer service channels now becomes frowned upon in the industry. Different age groups prefer different channels and call centers aren’t the preferred anymore with the rise of social media. Facebook chats and Instagram DMs are now becoming popular ways for customers to get ahold of companies, especially with younger millennials.
Although BPOs have known complex and challenging times before, the next few years should be very interesting as to what will happen to outsourced call centers!
So what will the future hold for BPOs and what predictions can be made?