The ultimate BPO checklist: 9 essential factors to consider before choosing your outsourcing partner

  • Are you a startup struggling with the daunting task of maintaining focus on your core business, instead of getting distracted by non-core tasks?
  • Are you on the lookout for strategies to optimize your costs, de-risk your growth model, or lower your cost-to-serve?
  • Does the pressing need for flexibility and agility in an ever-changing economic environment keep you up at night?
Choosing a BPO provider

If so, you’re not alone. These common pain points have driven startups to seek innovative solutions that can, not only alleviate their burdens but also pave the way for remarkable progress and success.

Why do startups decide to partner with BPO providers?

Many startups have turned towards outsourcing as their strategic lifeline, empowering them to offload non-core tasks and fully dedicate their resources to developing their products and services. The ability to focus on the core business becomes even more crucial during periods of economic instability. As such an outsourcing partner can mitigate risks during difficult times.

By partnering with a dedicated outsourcing provider, startups can unlock a myriad of benefits. Not only does outsourcing alleviate the time and financial burden associated with recruiting, training, and building an in-house team, or the infrastructure it requires, but it also grants access to a diverse pool of multilingual skilled industry experts. As such, startups can ramp up fast and easily start serving an international customer base.

In fact, outsourcing offers startups the opportunity to expand internationally and test new markets effortlessly. With an outsourcing partner’s global presence and expertise, startups can navigate unfamiliar territories without requiring prior knowledge of local markets. Thus, eliminating the complexities and risks often associated with international expansion.

As seen, the benefits of partnering with an outsourcing provider are vast. However, for startups, choosing the right partner can be a daunting task.

To help you make an informed decision, we have developed a simple checklist that outlines key considerations for selecting the best long-term outsourcing partner!

Your Ultimate Checklist

1- Examine the company’s history and background

Examining the history and background of a BPO company is a vital step in evaluating their suitability as a potential partner. Understanding their journey from the past to the present and their future aspirations provides valuable insights into their growth, adaptability, and alignment with your business needs.

This examination sheds light on various aspects, including the company’s response to emerging technologies, shifts in business models, and the adoption of more efficient management practices.

Choosing a BPO provider by looking at the history

Questions to ask

2- Checking references and validating claims

2.1. Validating claims:

Outsourcing companies will often make claims regarding their capabilities and expertise. But, it’s important for you to verify their accuracy! Seeking references can provide you with invaluable insights.

By connecting with previous or current clients, you can obtain firsthand accounts of the provider’s performance, gaining a clearer idea of what you can expect. References offer a realistic perspective on service quality, reliability, and their ability to meet expectations.

Overall, leveraging references empowers you to make an informed decision and select a BPO partner that can truly deliver results. So, make sure to ask them the right questions!

2.2. Getting feedback on service quality:

Feedback from referees is a valuable resource when assessing a BPO provider. It provides insights into the quality of service, including responsiveness, professionalism, timeliness, and overall customer satisfaction. This feedback helps determine if the outsourcing partner can meet your needs effectively.

Collaboration and communication are vital for a successful outsourcing process. By engaging with referees, you can understand the provider’s communication style, effectiveness of reporting mechanisms, and their ability to align with your goals. Referees can share their experiences regarding the quality of communication, ensuring a clear and open line of communication throughout the partnership.

2.3. Problem-solving capabilities and tech advancements:

Referees also provide insights into the provider’s problem-solving capabilities. Their feedback sheds light on how the provider handles difficulties and resolves issues that may arise during the assignment. This information helps assess the provider’s flexibility, problem-solving approach, and willingness to collaborate. Look for instances where the provider demonstrated adaptability, creativity, and a proactive approach to resolving challenges. Effective problem-solving is crucial for a productive and successful partnership.

When speaking with referees, inquire about the BPO provider’s utilization of technology to improve their operations. Specifically, ask if they have implemented any internal or external tools and how these technologies have enhanced their efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, find out if the provider has offered advice or best practices to support the referees in optimizing their processes.

Questions to ask

3- Aligning Culture, Values, and Environment for an ideal match

3.1. Aligning your approaches:

Aligning approaches and values with an outsourcing provider is crucial for successful collaboration and achieving desired outcomes. When both the startup and the Business process outsourcing provider share similar approaches and values, it not only promotes effective communication and seamless partnership but also ensures a shared commitment to service excellence, and integrity.

3.2. Checking the consistency of corporate culture:

Understanding and aligning corporate cultures is crucial when partnering with a BPO provider. Every company has a unique corporate culture that influences how employees work, interact, and serve customers. By assessing the potential partner’s culture and ensuring it is consistent with your company’s culture, you can facilitate the smooth integration of the outsourced team into your organization. Keep in mind that a BPO’s team should simply be an extension of yours!

Don’t forget to also inquire about the staff turnover rate as it’s important to maintain a table and committed team for your success.


Choosing a BPO provider

Questions to ask

4- Assessing Service Portfolio and Technological Prowess

4.1. Understanding the full service portfolio:

When evaluating a potential BPO provider, one crucial factor to consider is the breadth and depth of their service portfolio. The availability of a wide range of services can significantly impact the long-term success and scalability of your partnership.

In fact, with a diverse range of services, startups can easily outsource multiple business functions resulting in a seamless coordination, integration, and smooth operations  across different business areas (sales support, customer service, etc.). Moreover, the ability to scale and adapt to changing needs without switching providers enhances growth potential.

As such, it’s important to assess an outsourcing partner’s service portfolio to ensure it is capable of meeting your evolving needs and growth.

Questions to ask

4.2. Investigating technological capabilities:

Evaluating the technological capabilities of an outsourcing partner is vital for startups as it serves several crucial purposes. Firstly, it ensures that the chosen outsourcing partner has the necessary technological infrastructure and tools to meet the startup’s specific needs.

Secondly, assessing technological capabilities allows startups to gauge the scalability of the outsourcing partner. As startups grow and expand, they require a partner who can adapt and scale their services accordingly. By evaluating the technological capabilities of the Business Process Outsourcing provider, startups can ensure that their partner can accommodate future growth, technological advancements, and changing business requirements.

An outsourcing partner should be capable of constantly suggesting new tech solution to optimize your CSAT, to reduce your cost-to-service or cost-of-acquisition while maintain a high quality delivery.

Questions to ask

Choosing a BPO provider

4.3. Team structure and composition:

Very closely related to understanding a BPO’s full service portfolio, it’s also important to assessing the team’s structure and composition allowing you to understand how they manage and support their operations. The presence of experienced team leaders, operations managers, trainers, quality analysts and workforce management professionals ensures smooth coordination, efficient workflows and optimal performance.

Moreover, an outsourcing partner not only supports you by taking off a load, but is also a partner capable of advising you on ways to optimize your operations or other processes. So make sure to understand the full value added of a particular provider!

Questions to ask

5- Evaluating the BPO Providers’ Expertise in Talent Acquisition, Retention and Development

5.1. Studying the recruitment processes

Assessing the outsourcing company’s recruitment process allows you to gauge the rigor of their selection methods and verify that they hire qualified professionals to handle your business functions. By understanding their hiring criteria, screening procedures, and training programs, you can ascertain their commitment to sourcing and retaining top talent.

Inquire about the provider’s approach to assessing technical skills, domain knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and relevant experience in the specific area of outsourcing. This can give you confidence that their team consists of skilled professionals who can effectively handle your outsourced tasks.

Choosing a BPO provider by looking at the recruitment process

Questions to ask

5.2. Inspecting the training investments:

Consider their focus on ongoing professional development and performance evaluation. A provider that invests in employee training and growth opportunities demonstrates their commitment to maintaining a skilled and up-to-date team. Inquire about their strategies for upskilling and cross-training employees to handle different aspects of the outsourced functions.

Questions to ask

5.3. Assessing linguistic expertise:

If you are operating or planning on operating on an international level, it is essential to choose a BPO provider with multilingual recruiting capabilities. Assessing their different language recruitment processes allows you to evaluate their ability to provide high-quality multilingual support across all areas of your operations.

Inquire about their approach to recruiting language professionals and their language proficiency assessment methods. A good provider will have stringent criteria and may utilize standardized language tests to ensure the highest level of language proficiency. Additionally, ask about their evaluation process, which may involve simulated interactions to assess employees’ capacity to effectively communicate in different languages (e.g. an interview in a specific language).

Questions to ask

5.4. Investigating scalability

Scalability is a vital consideration when selecting a provider. Assessing their scalability allows you to determine if they can effectively accommodate your business growth and adapt to changing demands. Look into their language support capabilities, including the number of languages they cover and their proficiency levels. Additionally, inquire about their recruitment flexibility, such as their ability to recruit on different sites and the number of agents they can onboard per month. By understanding their scalability, you can ensure that the BPO provider can seamlessly scale operations to meet your evolving needs.

Questions to ask

6- Understanding the pricing structure 

6.1. Pricing Model

When partnering with an outsourcing partner, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of their pricing model. Different providers may have various pricing structures, such as hourly rates, transaction-based fees, or a combination of fixed and variable costs. It’s important to evaluate the pricing model to ensure it alights with your budget and cost expectations.

Choosing a BPO provider from the price

Questions to ask

6.2. Hidden Costs

It’s essential to inquire about any potential hidden costs that may not be explicitly mentioned in the pricing model. Hidden costs can include setup fees, maintenance charges, additional service charges, or any other expenses that may arise during the course of the partnership. Clarifying these hidden costs beforehand can prevent surprises and help you make an informed decision.

Questions to ask

6.3. Contract Length and Termination Terms

Understanding the contract length and termination terms is crucial for maintaining flexibility and ensuring a favorable partnership. Evaluate the contract length and assess whether it aligns with your business goals and expected duration of engagement. Additionally, review the termination terms to understand the process and any potential penalties or obligations associated with ending the contract.

Questions to ask

7- Discerning the company’s reporting and adaptability to changes

7.1. Real-time Reporting Dashboards

Having real-time reporting dashboards that clients can access provides valuable insights into the performance and progress of the outsourced operations. These dashboards allow for up-to-date visibility, enabling you to track key metrics, assess service levels, and make data-driven decisions. Inquire about the provider’s reporting capabilities and the availability of customizable dashboards to ensure that you have access to the information you need, when you need it.

Choosing a BPO provider

Questions to ask

7.2. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Detailing the KPIs used in each functional area of the outsourcing organization helps in evaluating the BPO provider’s focus on performance and service quality. Understanding the definitions, computation methods, and reporting frequency of these KPIs provides clarity on how the provider measures and reports their performance. Inquire about the specific KPIs used and how they align with your business objectives to ensure that the provider’s metrics are aligned with your goals.

Questions to ask

7.3. Sample Daily Operation Reporting

Requesting a sample of the company’s daily operation reporting can give you a glimpse into the level of detail and insights provided. This sample can demonstrate how they present data, analyze trends, and highlight areas of improvement. Examining the reporting format and content helps you assess the provider’s ability to deliver comprehensive and actionable reports that support your decision-making process.

Questions to ask

8- Examining Security & Data Protection Measures

In today’s digital landscape, safeguarding sensitive data from cyber threats and data breaches is of utmost importance. When considering an outsourcing partner, it is crucial to assess their security measures and data protection practices.

Questions to ask

Choosing a BPO provider

9- Create a strong foundation through a ‘live’ experience

9.1. Evaluating the infrastructure and working environment

Visiting the premises of an outsourcing company allows you to evaluate their infrastructure, technology, and equipment, ensuring they have the necessary resources to meet your needs.

Observing the working environment provides insights into the conditions under which employees operate. This assessment helps gauge whether the environment is conducive to employee productivity and satisfaction. Factors such as ergonomic workstations, appropriate lighting, and a well-organized workspace contribute to a positive and efficient working environment.

During the visit, pay attention to the technology infrastructure, including hardware, software, and communication systems. Additionally, consider the scalability of their infrastructure to accommodate your business growth and changing needs.

9.2. Verifying operational capacity

When contracting a third-party provider, it is crucial to gain confidence and assurance in their capabilities. To achieve this, it is highly recommended to meet the teams of the BPO company. This enables you to assess their skills, motivation, and ability to meet your expectations effectively.

During these interactions, engage with project managers, team leaders, and customer service agents to gain insights into their skill levels, experience, and understanding of your industry. Assess their passion for their work, their dedication to delivering exceptional service, and their willingness to go the extra mile for customer satisfaction.

9.3. Reviewing Collaboration and Communication

Successful outsourcing relies on strong collaboration and fluid communication. Face-to-face meetings with the provider’s teams help build trust, align expectations, and enhance communication. Discussing project management processes, reporting mechanisms, and communication channels ensures mutual understanding and proactive collaboration. These interactions foster a shared vision and pave the way for more effective collaboration and seamless communication throughout the outsourcing partnership.

Questions to ask

The Nest by Webhelp’s offices around the globe (60 countries, +210 sites)

Keep in mind Jean de La Fontaine’s words, “Slow and steady wins the race”. Finding the right BPO provider won’t happen in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. On the contrary, take your time to find the perfect match.

And if you’re still on the hunt for the perfect outsourcing partner, look no further!

We, at The Nest by Webhelp are the ideal BPO match for your startup. With our expertise and dedication, we can lighten your workload and pave the way for remarkable progress and success.

Thanks to our dedicated outsourcing model focused on agility and flexibility, we already support the growth of some of the world’s most exciting companies (Ankorstore, Gorillas, AirUp or Swile…) on all their CX topics and in +80 languages, with experts dedicated to their brand in more than 60 countries around the world.

Whether you’re looking to outsource your customer care, or sales, payment services or KYC, we’ve got your covered! The Nest offers a wide variety of services, all of which are customized to the client’s individual needs and available 24/7, including:

With our support, optimize your operations, cut your costs, expand internationally (we cover +80 languages)… reach your full potential.

So, why settle for anything less than an outstanding outsourcing partner?

Tick off the last item on your BPO checklist by choosing The Nest by Webhelp!

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