How BPOs Differ from Call Centres
How BPOs Differ from Call Centres
Difference Between BPO and Call Center
To many people, outsourcing means one thing, and one thing only- call centres. However, there is actually another, more comprehensive outsourcing service which is becoming more and more popular, and that’s BPO. Put simply, BPO (or Business Process Outsourcing) involves hiring another company to help take care of certain business activities. There are a wide range of different tasks that these outsourced companies can perform, from data processing and IT support, to back office support, to more active roles such as sales or customer service.
It’s true that call centres are a type of BPO unit. They generally focus solely on handling calls, whether they are inbound calls such as customer support or information requests, or outbound calls, which usually consist of telemarketing. However, it’s important to note that they differ from most BPOs in that these other companies will usually offer a much broader range of outsourcing work. A BPO will often work for multiple companies at the same time, for instance managing multiple business accounts.
Thanks to the developments in IT over the last few decades, the outsourcing industry has gone from strength to strength. Such companies, often based in the developing world, are able to offer their services instantly to corporations across the world, usually for a much lower cost than their counterparts in developed countries.
BPOs usually take care of back office operations, and may be involved in either inbound or outbound services.
The former covers things like customer and technical support, while the latter will involve sales processes and the like. Since the BPO industry model has been so successful, these companies have started to expand the scope of their services in recent years. These include services such as finance, accountancy, and legal processes, as well as more involved services like product design and development.
On the other hand, call centres have a much more specific job, in that they solely focus on inbound and outbound phone calls. As with the rest of the BPO industry, call centres have become wildly popular in the last ten years or so, and many organizations choose to outsource this service to a third party provider.
However, some choose to operate their own in-house call centres instead. While this has clear benefits, such as having greater control over the processes and quality of their call centres, it does tend to cost more, which is why outsourcing remains the most common approach. These in-house centres are known as “captive call centres”.
So, all call centres are BPOs, but not all BPOs are call centres. You might be wondering just why companies would hire someone else to take care of their basic business operations for them- especially an outsourcing company based overseas. Well, the main reason for this is to cut costs.
In countries such as Eastern Europe, labour is much cheaper than in developed countries, because they have a lower cost of living. This allows companies to pay their employees a lower wage for tasks that they would otherwise have to take care of themselves. Utilizing lower cost economies via offshoring is a process known as “labour arbitrage”, and it is only possible thanks to the wage gap between developing and developed countries.
There is a much greater scope with outsourcing than many people realise, and it can provide huge benefits to any business by allowing them to focus on actively making sales, instead of getting bogged down in back office operations. Put simply, if you can get the job done cheaper elsewhere, and therefore maintain more of your profits, then why wouldn’t you?