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In 2018, the global BPO industry was valued at $85.6 billion, which rose to $92.5 billion in 2019. The BPO industry is rising again after the debacle of 2015 when the valuation dipped to $88.9 billion from $104.6 billion. The emergence of new players like the Philippines has strengthened the belief of business-owners in outsourcing.
Interesting statistics that makes outsourcing the most powerful weapon in an organization’s arsenal:
- 59% of companies see outsourcing as a cost-cutting tool.
- 74% of IT Companies outsource their processes.
- 85% of outsourcing jobs originate from the USA.
- 80% of businesses globally are positive about their relationship with their outsourcing partner.
In 2017, Africa, Middle-East, and Europe together spent over $55 billion on outsourcing.
In 2017, Accenture alone spent $19 billion on outsourcing; be it an IT company or a small business, they rely on outsourcing to get jobs done faster. Over 70% of start-ups failed because of pre-mature scaling hence founders are now willing to outsource repetitive processes and focus on product/services.
What is the Future of the BPO Industry?
Varied researches predict that the BPO industry will continue to grow with a CAGR of 8% from 2020 to 2025. The growth prediction is based on the removal of trade barriers and the introduction of new economic policies by major countries. Varied countries are now looking East and are finding India, China, and Bangladesh as viable outsourcing options.
The BPO industry is constantly equipping itself with new technologies and problem-solving capabilities. The availability of a talented employee base, when mixed with technology, becomes a lethal combination. India and the Philippines are likely to continue as the flag bearer of BPO in the coming times too.
What BPO Trends will Dominate 2021?
COVID-19 has accelerated the rate of adoption for varied industries and most of them are likely to outsource processes for various reasons. The dominating trends of 2021 are likely to reflect COVID impact on businesses. The learnings will reflect heavily in the way industries outsource processes.
1. Outsourcing will Help Businesses go Agile
2020 has imparted important business lessons and now organizations know the power of smaller teams. With bigger companies reducing their direct workforce, outsourcing agencies are likely to benefit.
By outsourcing repetitive and skill-specific processes, companies will be looking forward to functioning only with key stakeholders. The implementation of varied compliances like ISO family has made it easier for companies to trust BPOs while the data safety measures take by outsourcing agencies also stirs confidence.
When COVID-19 rendered all workplaces useless and coaxed businesses into following remote working, everyone understood the importance of a strong BCP and a smaller team. While businesses want smaller teams but they really cannot function with lesser employees, this is where BPOs enter and solve their problem.
2. Remote Working Compliances will become Key Differentiator
At the start of 2020, the fear of COVID-19 was minuscule but by the time it was March, thousands of people died, and over a million were infected. The global economy started to get back on track by September and then in December, there’s a new strain of COVID. The new virus is expected to be way more infectious than the initial one.
Businesses see this as a lesson in adopting remote working as the new normal. Every organization that was planning to resume working from the office are now reconsidering their decisions. Meanwhile, BPO industry leaders are pushing for reforms. Governments from India, Singapore, and Italy have made changes to data sharing norms and have made it easier for organizations to facilitate remote working.
Going ahead, BPOs that boast of offering robust services while ensuring compliance at remote workstations are likely to be preferred by organizations. Well, varied industry leaders have proven that is possible to let employees work from home without putting customer data at risk.
3. BPOs will Set New Boundaries
With remote working becoming a possibility, BPOs are likely to benefit a lot. First bigger organizations will rely on them and secondly, they will be open to hiring the best employees from across the country or globe. The COVID induced pandemic has introduced new normal and opened boundaries for BPOs. Today, BPOs are not limited to hiring employees who are residing in their locality. The best talent is just a call away.
The overall cost of hiring and training an employee has reduced, BPOs are no more liable to pay for employees’ safety and travel. With cost-saving, bigger businesses are likely to experience some cost benefits, which will make outsourcing way more attractive.
Varied organizations including Facebook have announced that “if remote working continues, they will revise salaries, hire more proficient employees available in less expensive economies”. BPOs are likely to follow suit and have employees that are well-educated and are available at a lesser cost.
4. Digital Solutions will be the Winner
Unicorn start-ups like OYO rooms have agents that go from one hotel to another trying to onboard them. With social distancing norms and lockdown, such onboarding processes have taken a hit. In the coming future, the challenge will continue to be prevalent. Even food-delivery start-ups like Swiggy are having to trouble onboard new restaurants.
BPOs are leveraging their already existing onboarding paradigm to help these food delivery and hospitality start-ups onboard new and potential players for the future. If aggregators used contemporary time for adding new players to their platform, they can emerge as the preferred platform once things go back to normal.
Some of the additional benefits BPOs can offer to the hospitality industry
Audits and Checks: Once everything goes back to normal, the hospitality industry will need to continue audits to ensure proper sanitization and a higher level of alertness towards the containment of the virus.
Digital Verification: The digital onboarding service involves KYC verification, which ensures only proven and genuine players are allowed to sell on your platform.
5. Customer Experience will be Everyone’s Priority
Once organizations have battled their inner demons and have established agile teams, they will finally start focusing on Customer Experience management. Earlier, everyone was citing CX as the key differentiator but 2020 proved how CX can save organizations. In 2020, when countries were under lockdown, organizations were unable to deliver the products at the earliest, customers still stood with them because of the exceptional experience they have offered in past.
Now that organizations were able to save their customer base solely because of the unique CX they offered, they are willing to invest more and more into it. With CX taking the center stage, BPOs will be required to offer the following services:
- Customer journey mapping
- Benchmarking services
- Mystery shopping
- Smart reporting and insight management
- Real-time omnichannel experience through social media, email, and voice.