Digital transformation is forcing companies to change their business models and adapt to the new market reality. This transformation is being driven by customers and the impact that the pandemic has on how, when and where they expect customer service and support to be delivered. Customer expectations have radically changed and escalated, and many businesses are struggling to keep pace with the increased demand, both in terms of volume of service enquiries, as well as the instant gratification that customers expect in a digitised gig economy.

In managing the increased demand for customer service and support across multiple service channels and time zones, companies are turning to business process outsourcing providers (BPOs) that are able to manage the customer experience life cycle across all digital and traditional competencies, at every point of interaction, 24/7/365.

“The post pandemic customer expects responsiveness anytime, anywhere, in the format and on the device of their choosing. Geographic and time zones no longer apply in a world where the work and lifestyle arrangements of consumers have been completely upended. Keeping up with this always connected, ‘always on’ customer requires a 24/7, multichannel service and support operation that is technologically advanced and ahead of the game. Very few businesses were geared for this rapid transition in terms of the human resources, technology and security requirements to deliver on their changing customer service requirements,” explains Clinton Cohen, CEO of iContact BPO.

In many respects, the pandemic has accelerated a move to BPO providers as businesses looked to recovery by pulling in flexible solutions during a time of great uncertainty. The BPO sector was “technologically adapted” in record time when the pandemic broke and have been able to offer solutions with appealing economical cases, at a higher level of service, and often backed by guarantees. The quantum leap in digitisation has put the focus on the BPO sector as a far more compelling business case compared with operating in-house back office, technical support and customer service functions.

“As a BPO provider serving international markets across multiple time zones, we’re seeing the gambit of customer expectations playing out. Most customers expect a response within an hour, regardless of communication platform used, and they expect those responses whether it is a weekday or weekend. It means that for many businesses serving customers across geographies, their operations have to be accessible and operational, on-demand, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Very few businesses are geared for this kind of operation, nor do they have the appetite to invest the kind of capital and expertise needed to set up and manage 24/7 service operations that are simply not their core business. What we are seeing is that the companies that can offer this immediacy, real-time accessibility and personalisation of the customer experience through an outsourced partner derive a distinct competitive advantage,” adds Cohen.

Having the right BPO provider to deal with the influx of customer service queries and solidify customer experience across every touchpoint and channel is crucial. Customers want seamless experiences regardless of channel, so work with a BPO partner that is able to bring your digital and traditional services channels together to provide one single, cohesive customer experience.

“As we gradually get on with our new normal, the BPO sector will remain pivotal to helping businesses recover from the economic and operational fallout from COVID-19, by allowing them to focus on their core business, while entrusting their non-core but equally important support services to trusted and specialist BPO partners,” concludes Cohen.

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