The current state of the economy and its impact on the BPO industry
The last quarter has been a rollercoaster for the economy. Record inflation, tight labor markets and a tired story of companies still challenged to find the right talent to meet their demand.
While some companies are announcing large layoffs in reaction to increased costs and slower growth, many companies are still struggling to find the quality and quantity of talent they need to deliver great outcomes for their customers. Wages have increased an average 5.5% across the country to battle the competitive market, trying to balance the shift in workforce demands of more flexibility and more pay.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that 60% of CEOs believe that the US is headed for a recession, and 15% believe their region is already in a recession. When their mindset is focused on recession, leadership will make business decisions accordingly.
In this economic landscape, creating cost efficiencies with the right BPO partners can be shock absorbers, particularly in customer care and back office operations. Agile, scalable solutions that augment business operations can alleviate pressures by keeping costs variable instead of making investments internally.
Outsourcers have access to networks of skilled professionals in dispersed locations, allowing them to flex to meet intraday and unexpected volume demands. Companies challenged with attracting talent to their brick-and-mortar or hub-and-spoke centers have found success with a “bolt on” approach with a BPO partner to fill the gaps, and protect their in-house agents.
Historically, when consumer behavior changes, companies are faced with making difficult decisions, including layoffs and budget cuts. In previous years of economic downturn, BPOs have picked up the slack left from emptied captive contact centers. However, in today’s climate, the expectations for outsourcers to deliver quality, efficient and cost-effective customer experiences has never been more important.
According to Forrester’s 2022 US Customer Experience (CX Index), customer experience has declined across the country. Consumer behavior has significantly changed, and they rely on more empathetic and helpful connections. In order to retain customer loyalty, companies must deliver excellent customer experiences, every time. This is true with outsourcing partners as well, perhaps even more so. BPOs must be CX-focused, providing exceptional experiences for agents and customers in order to succeed in today’s economic environment.