Is a 24/7 BPO team worth it?
The short answer is: for most teams, yes!
If you haven’t worked with round-the-clock BPO support before, it may seem like an unnecessary expense. However, working across time zones provides many advantages when it comes to BPO, from increased productivity and efficiency to costs-savings and stronger customer service, increased business agility and more.
In this article, our team will walk you through how 24/7 BPO services work, as well as some of the major benefits you can expect from hiring round-the-clock support.
Time Zone Advantages in BPO Services
Working across time zones can take some getting used to for your business, but it provides superior support for your customers. If you can streamline backend operations, you have the opportunity to meet customer needs and demands in a way that many companies simply aren’t doing—thus setting yourself apart from the competition.
When managing a BPO team, having agents in different time zones not only allows more availability for your customers, but also provides continual business support. For example, if you can leverage a BPO team whose agents span multiple continents, you can:
- support customers with 24/7 services, without paying agents for overnight shifts
- have continual backend support for business needs and goals
- increase business agility to be able to pivot quickly
- and more!
We’ll get more into these details later. First, let’s take a look at how 24/7 services typically work.
How Do 24/7 Call Center Services Work?
There are several ways 24/7 call centers can manage services. In general, BPO centers operate with shift-based work, either based on time zone or workforce management.
Time zone based shifts allow distributed agents to work during standard hours in their own time zone. Since agents on these types of teams are located in various time zones, BPO providers can offer 24/7 service without managing overnight shifts.
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Workforce management is a function that allows teams located in one geographic area to manage 24/7 service through standard shift-based work, with some team members working overnight, or partial overnight shifts.
Either way, BPO providers generally use modern workforce management software to schedule and manage shifts as well as a continuous workflow. Modern call center tools such as virtual switchboards, integrated CRMs, and other tools allow distributed teams to work together virtually, as well as allow calls to forward to overflow or after-hours teams instead of voicemail boxes.
Business Benefits of 24/7 BPO Support
In our 40+ years of experience, we’ve seen a myriad of benefits for our clients in receiving 24/7 BPO support. Here are five of the most common benefits clients experience.
Meeting Consumer Needs at All Hours
This is an obvious one—with 24/7 service, you can meet your customer’s needs anytime, day or night. As our world and marketplace becomes increasingly globalized, your customer’s “9-5” timeframe may not match that of your business. What’s more, today’s customers expect service instantly, no matter when they need help.
The primary solution is to provide 24/7 service. This can be done through two avenues—first, by employing an outsourcing team to provide after-hours or round-the-clock support, and second, by implementing solutions such as chatbots and self-service support options to allow customers to instantly get the help they need independently.
Keep in mind that chatbots and other self-service options—while affordable and convenient for both you and the customer—can typically only support basic and straightforward requests and questions, such as starting a return, checking an account balance, providing account details, and so on. As a result, the majority of businesses should also be thinking about how to offer live support, whether via phone, live chat, or text, 24/7.
Ensuring Continuous Back-End Operations
With a 24/7 BPO team, you can ensure not only continuous customer support, but also continuous back-end operations as well. Whether your BPO team is managing data entry, backlogged emails, data analysis, payment processing or other tasks, you can ensure these keep going 24/7.
Not only do customers have access to important services—such as billing and payments, or appointment setting—at any time that’s convenient for them, but your business also benefits from increased appointments, sales and revenue generated after-hours.
Besides that, you can speed up efficiency and timelines of projects such as data entry or clearing backlogs by keeping employees engaged in those projects 24 hours a day, rather than just 7 or 8. In this way, 24/7 BPO teams provide an excellent way to both clear and prevent backlogs. Instead of your team coming back each morning to a mountain of voicemails and emails to respond to—on top of the messages that will likely come in during business hours—you keep communication rolling consistently, which impacts all business processes.
Increasing Business Agility and Responsiveness
Similarly, having a 24/7 BPO team can help you increase your business agility and responsiveness. When you have a team on hand 24/7, you don’t have to wait until morning to pivot according to current events, communicate major changes, fix things if something goes down, or so on.
After-hours or overflow teams can also help prevent backlogs in the case of major changes resulting in an increase in customer calls. For example, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many travel companies faced a massive increase in customer calls and messages as flights were canceled and travel restrictions put in place. Those that had 24/7 customer service were able to pivot as needed with changing news, provide customers with the most up-to-date news and information, and prevent backlogs; whereas those without struggled to keep up with changing news and an onslaught of customer communications.
Efficient Resource Management in BPO Models
Round-the-clock service can also provide more efficient resource management in BPO models than other models. For example, if you have a BPO team that only works during the same hours your internal team does, you will have ample time for collaboration, but much of your BPO team’s hours will be eaten up by catching up (on overnight communications) and collaborating (with your internal team).
By contrast, a 24/7 team allows some time for collaboration with your internal team, ample time for managing and executing projects, and ensures both your customer communication and internal workflows are continuously covered. It also allows for faster turnaround times for your company—a project can be decided on during your business hours on Monday, and your overnight team can make headway on it by the following morning. Further, it reduces workloads for BPO teams, as work can be evenly distributed amongst a 24/7 hour period, rather than having to cram work into last-minute shifts to meet deadlines.
Cost Benefits of Operating Across Time Zones
When you outsource your call center, you can also have agents working across multiple time zones, typically with a remote or hybrid call center model. Doing so provides a much easier method of offering 24/7 service that comes with financial benefits.
Consider, for example, if you work with an offshore call center in the Philippines. The time in the Philippines is 12 hours ahead of EST, so it makes it much easier to offer after-hours or overnight support, since those are standard working hours there. However, if you want to offer daytime support for US-based audiences, your Philippines staff are going to be working overnight. This is possible and common, but it can be more expensive to staff overnight shifts.
On the flip side, if you work with a remote or hybrid set up, your call center provider can provide you with agents who are located in a variety of time zones. While each agent works during their standard working hours, you get to provide full 24/7 coverage, without paying for overnight staffing. ROI CX Solutions regularly uses hybrid call center models for our clients to provide the highest levels of service and coverage, while still maintaining affordable labor costs.
Adapting to a World That Never Sleeps: How to Find the Right 24/7 Call Center Company
Your customers expect 24/7 service—and finding the right call center provider can ensure you give it to them.
When looking for a call center that can provide continuous support, be sure to look for the following key factors alongside 24/7 service:
- strong workforce management practices in place
- clear and continuous communication to clients
- a strong leadership team that is used to working with 24-hour or distributed teams
- a solid QA process that ensures quality during off-peak hours
Our team at ROI CX Solutions uses both local and international teams to leverage expertise, experience and time zones for premium support, round-the-clock. Whether you need help managing an influx of customer communications, or want to improve efficiency and agility in your business operations, our 24/7 BPO teams are here to help.
Connect with an expert from ROI CX Solutions today to see how round-the-clock BPO support can transform your business.