You may have noticed that the terms ‘BPO’ - or business process outsourcing - and ‘call center’ are interchanged with one another. While these terms are indeed related, they are not actually interchangeable. Understanding the difference will help you improve the way you run your business, regardless of whether yours is considered a BPO or a contact center.
Let’s look at the key difference between call centers and BPO organizations - and how they’re similar - so you can make smarter decisions while you’re outfitting your facility with new technology and preparing to meet consumer needs.
What is a BPO?
Before comparing and contrasting the two, it is important to understand what each of these types of organizations is.
First, the BPO. A business processing outsource organization is one that is contracted to handle the tasks that another business may not have the time or human resources to handle during regular operational hours. This is typically done to free up time for employees to attend to other tasks and to reduce labor costs, as the cost of partnering with a BPO organization is often much lower than that of directly paying in-house employees for the same tasks might be.
What is a Contact Center?
A contact center - also known as a call center - is a facility that handles tasks for a business that relate to communications. This is typically focused primarily on telecommunications, although the modern call center also integrates everything from email to chat and instant messaging features and even video calling.
The most well-known example of a call center is the telemarketing facility or collections department of a larger business, but this is certainly not the only application. Contact centers can be used for research, customer service, technical support, medical counsel, and many other purposes.
The Difference Between Call Centers and BPO Organization
With that information in mind, it becomes relatively easy to understand the primary difference between call centers and BPO organization. While a contact center specifically handles telecommunications-related tasks commissioned by another business or entity, business processing outsource organizations handle many types of tasks that are not confined only to communications.
That said, a call center can be considered a BPO. However, a BPO cannot be considered a call center, since they handle a far more diverse list of tasks than simply making an taking calls and handling communications for their business partners.
Another major difference between call centers and BPO organizations is where their operations primarily take place. While a contact center focuses on interactions between callers or clients and agents and providing customer service, a business processing outsource organization works behind the scenes. BPO organizations are divided between some front office tasks and many backend processes that the staff of a call center would never take part in. Some of these include:
- Market research
- Technical support
- Sales and marketing
- Customer support
- Collections and recovery
- Data entry
- Management tasks, etc.
It is important to note that while the BPO is not typically contracted to foster and nurture a relationship with consumers that same way that staff of a contact center, they still often interact with clients and customers. Training BPO staff members to provide excellent customer service and superior experiences to anyone with whom they interact is still important- even if they spend most of their time working behind the curtain of an office environment most of the time!
Why Outsource, Though?
You may be reading all of this information and thinking - why outsource all of those tasks at all? Both contact centers and more diverse BPO organizations are outsourced facilities where other businesses or organizations can have tasks they don’t want to do taken care of. But why hire someone else to do that for you when you could do it yourself?
As mentioned previously, most companies outsource these tasks to save on costs or to increase productivity. How does outsourcing accomplish this?
By relegating tasks that would otherwise take a large portion of employee time to complete to someone else, employers are able to assign those employees - often fewer of them - to handle other, more specialized tasks instead. This can yield tremendous savings when it comes to the cost of labor.
Productivity is also impacted. When your more menial tasks are taken care of by another organization, your employees are better able to focus on more specialized jobs. You can rest assured that when you partner with an experienced BPO organization or contact center, the professionals that staff these facilities know how to handle the tasks you’ve assigned to them. That way, the management team at your organization can stop worrying about whether those tasks will be handled correctly and start focusing on more important, more specialized work.
Preparing Your BPO for Success - Contact Center or Otherwise
Both contact centers and more generalized BPO organizations need the right tools and technology to compete in today’s fast-paced market. With so many companies outsourcing to competitors around the world, your facility needs to be at the top of their game to ensure your ability to accept top-paying jobs and keep clients and consumers happy. You’ll also need the best possible training and professional development opportunities for your staff to enable them to remain competitive with their peers in other facilities - and to keep them improving in their own career path.
Whether you would consider your facility to be a BPO or a contact center, the industry experts at ChaseData are prepared to help you outfit your center with the technology you need. Prioritizing productivity and efficiency is key regardless of your facility’s focus, so let ChaseData help you improve consumer experience and agent workflow - or just make everyday operations easier! Call us today to learn more about how!