Today’s customer service landscape is tricky to navigate, especially when you need to outsource support to keep up with growing customer demands. Having a reliable BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) partner can help ease this burden – enabling you to scale up (or down) cost-efficiently. But it's not enough just to hire a BPO – having the right BPO agent training and development strategies in place with a BPO Management program is essential to delivering world-class customer experiences.
In this blog, we’ll explore five strategies that are proven to establish and maintain successful BPO partnerships. To inform this post, we’ll lean on insights gathered from interviews with one of our customers, a leading food delivery app, and our very own Customer Success Director.
In the food delivery app marketplace, ensuring a delightful customer experience is critical to gaining a competitive advantage and earning brand loyalty. This is why one food delivery app made training and development for outsourced agents a central part of their BPO partnership strategy.
Signing a contract with a BPO is just the beginning of a successful, long-term partnership. According to the Quality Assurance Manager, “continuous management” is the next critical phase of every BPO partnership. During this phase, the company and the BPO work together to create a detailed training and agent development plan that gives BPO agents the skills and support they need to provide excellent customer experiences. They even implemented a rigorous onboarding certification program that is required for all new BPO agents to complete. “We’ll guide teammates through to retrieve that certification,” said the company’s Quality Assurance Lead.
Their training program typically takes three weeks to complete, and agents enter a period of “redshirting.” During this time, they practice what they have learned and become familiar with the company’s services. To help ensure that BPO agents are up-to-speed on the app's customer support quality standards and practices, they leverage MaestroQA to provide the agent with live QA insights. “Agents can work a case, and typically within an hour and a half, we'll go ahead and complete the audit and then send it back to get the agent fully ramped by the time they hit their 60 days.”
Through MaestroQA, companies have full visibility into quality metrics such as empathy scores, completed cases, audited cases, and calibration alignment scores. This helps brands measure the effectiveness of their training and ensures agents are aligned with the “high bar” of customer service expectations that brands have put in place.
Giving agents feedback is one way to ensure they provide the best customer experience possible. This feedback helps agents better understand how their actions impact customer experiences and allows them to make adjustments accordingly.
It was fascinating to hear how this leading food delivery company has taken this feedback approach to a new level. In order to provide agents with consistent and clear feedback during redshirting, they conduct three live audits of cases a day for six days. Providing agents with these layers of feedback over a condensed period helps them “immerse” themselves in the repeatable behaviors and practices that have a positive impact on customer experiences.
As customer expectations continue to grow, companies must find new ways to provide a better customer experience. Training and coaching agents on showing empathy are two great strategies companies can use to sharpen their BPO agents and develop good habits.
For example, when one of our customers saw a dip in CSAT ratings from one of their BPO partners, they were able to audit results to discover that their agent’s greeting lacked empathy. So how did they address this? They implemented a coaching initiative to help their offshore BPO partners move away from robotic and transactional greetings, instead focusing on providing empathy and a solution within 30 seconds. Now their agents have the necessary tools and training to understand the customer’s needs quickly and better respond to them.
While providing empathy and delivering clear feedback and coaching can help agents create better experiences for customers, it’s important to remember that these tools are just the start of creating a positive customer service experience. Companies need to invest in developing their agents on a continuous basis to help them provide the best customer experience possible. Through an app like MaestroQA, you can actually manage your coaching sessions with agents, linking QA scores and coaching points directly to your 1:1s to manage and track the proper follow-up.
Offshore BPOs have their own set of unique cultural challenges, and train-the-trainer strategies are an invaluable necessity for improving these challenges. Train-the-trainer strategies work by having a team of certified trainers visit the BPO locations.
“By training the trainers, the BPO learns to be autonomous around training future new classes of agents, saves the internal team's time and resources — freeing them up to tackle other projects,” said MaestroQA’s Michelle (Lamerta) Vanchieri, Director of Customer Success. “This allows for a more customized approach to training that meets the specific needs of the BPO.”
Speaking of training, there’s an old saying; you can’t manage what you can’t measure. This is why using data and metrics to measure the success of your train-the-trainer strategy is vital. "By analyzing data trends through a quality rubric, you can identify ongoing training opportunities for each BPO to ensure they are well-enabled on customer service processes. Furthermore, as you roll out new processes, we recommend adding these topics into your Quality Scorecard to ensure you are tuned into any new training opportunities that may arise,” said Vanchieri.
The shift to a new model of freedom and autonomy in BPO partnerships can be a difficult one for many companies. The leading food delivery company mentioned earlier recently implemented this “new model,” and the results were impressive. Their BPO partners experienced a strengthened relationship, streamlined workflows, and an improved agent experience.
Before the shift to the new model, the delivery company took a more hands-on approach. “The old model was we told our partners how to jump, how high to jump, what to wear when they were jumping, and put them through a lot of hoops just to make sure that we were hitting all of these processes metrics,” said the Quality Assurance Lead.
So how did they make the shift to this new model of autonomy and freedom? They provided a clear set of guidelines and then let their BPO partners operate based on those guidelines, giving them the latitude to demonstrate their expertise. This was a significant shift, as it provided the BPO partners with the freedom they needed to execute.
This new model of autonomy and freedom allowed the BPO partners to take ownership of their tasks and be more efficient in their processes. This, in turn, provided a better experience for customers and agents.
If you want to learn more about MaestroQA, request a demo today.