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Is your workforce serving end customers to the best of their ability?
by Alex Allan, COO at Corporate Modelling, the outsourcing technology provider
Friday, March 21, 2014

As we enter what we are all hoping is a period of steady economic recovery, the focus of many companies has shifted from survival to growth. Businesses have now reverted to an emphasis on growth and the notion of establishing a sustainable model that will deliver positive results in the long term.

For service-based companies – and outsourcers in particular – the volume of business remains key, but in order to maintain a healthy level of growth, this increase in volume should not come at the expense of quality. Improvements to basic processes, such as managing your workforce more effectively, can actually have a significant impact on the quality of service – but which changes are the easiest and most effective to implement?

Tight margins

Business Processing Outsourcers (BPOs) are notoriously squeezed by some of the tightest profit margins in business. In most cases, outsourcers sign up to very ambitious Service Level Agreements (SLAs) which leave little room for manoeuvre without sacrificing profitability. Back office resources are typically stretched to the limit, with an overworked workforce under a lot of pressure to complete an often unmanageable amount of tasks at record speed. This can mean that tasks are not being completed to the best possible standard, with knock-on implications for the both the end customer and the client. So just how do outsourcers provide a better level of service under such difficult conditions?

Productivity

As an operational director, you need to ensure that your administrative staff is as productive as possible. This requires a new way of working, with a greater emphasis on completing specific tasks quicker and to a higher standard. Technology can play a key role here, with software able to allocate tasks to workers based on their individual skills and availability. This ensures that the right work is given to the right people at the right time. Workers are able to specialise in specific processes, which greatly increases the likelihood of tasks being completed correctly first time – sometimes referred to as “one and done”. Work is therefore completed quicker and with fewer errors, increasing the level of service whilst reducing operational costs and maintaining profit margins.

But technology can take this one step further. Workflow management technology that tracks the progress of the customer journey can now be fully integrated with Quality Assurance software to make sure that each individual stage is being completed to the agreed level of service. This granularity allows for greater transparency between outsourcers and their clients.

Complaints down, quality up

Some BPOs are already experiencing the benefits of this new way of working. For example, insurance policy administrator HCL IBS has seen complaints reduce by 70 per cent since implementing these tools and tactics to improve its workforce culture. By increasing efficiency and quality of service simultaneously, outsourcers are able to protect their profit margins and hold onto the cash they need to reinvest for growth.

 

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