Top BPO Trends for 2021 and Expectations for 2022

Jul 04,2022 by Janvi Anand
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Initially, we believed that 2020 would be “the” year in which the BPO business would undergo significant upheaval, and that proved to be true. The BPO landscape will undergo even more significant changes and repercussions in 2021, but we were unaware of this at the time. Numerous companies and BPOs who use outsourced contact center services are clients of ours. We regularly lean in and solicit comments, and we’ll try our best to cover at least some of the key trends and catalysts in 2021 as well as what to watch out for in 2022.

BPO services will still be available in 2022 due to the industry’s continued technological advancement. BPO companies will use technology to contact clients in new ways as the popularity of digital platforms increases. Technology will be used to the advantage of BPOs that keep ahead of the curve as they develop innovative methods to incorporate cutting-edge platforms into their business models. This may result in a better client experience and more effective business practices in general. The foremost BPO trends for 2022 will vary by location. The three major outsourcing markets in the world—the US, India, and Western Europe—will remain dominant. The cloud will become more well-known by the end of 2022 due to its significant influence on the BPO outsourcing industry. Business analysts believe that the three future trends for outsourcing BPO projects will be cloud computing, big data, and mobility.

The Work-from-Home (WFH) Shuffle’s Long-Term Effects

The COVID-19 outbreak, as we all know, pushed the BPO sector into uncharted waters. The transition to WFH went smoothly for many BPOs, but not for others. Even in a mixed in-center/WFH staffing setting, many individuals still find it difficult to settle in.

To recruit talent, our industry emphasized the “coolness” of a virtual workforce when we switched to WFH for contact centers. Of course, having call center staff that are distributed and available on-demand and can operate remotely has several benefits. Here are a few of these:

  • Flexible scheduling for agents, better work-life balance
  • Improved business continuity and emergency planning
  • Gaining access to a larger national talent pool
  • No commute means a less carbon footprint.
  • Improved retention and engagement of the workforce

How many of these (and other) benefits, in your opinion, have materialised as expected? Brands and BPOs are dedicated to upholding the status quo in numerous of our industrial sectors when an effective WFH programme is also present.

Several brands and BPOs have informed us that WFH fatigue started to set in in 2021 at the same period. Some of the issues that people shared with us were the following:

  • Performance of WFH vs. in-center is still a source of concern.
  • There is no improvement in WFH agent retention and turnover over in-center
  • WFH and in-center BPO services have insignificantly different costs.
  • Challenges with workspace, connectivity, latency, and other “home-based” issues still exist.
  • Candidates who don’t take the position seriously lack understanding of the training, commitment, and complexity required for a call center job. 
  • “Agent isolation” refers to a feeling of separation from the organization and peers and a lack of social interaction that occurs in in-center environments.

To succeed in 2022 and beyond, brands and BPOs need to establish the perfect recipe based on “real-world” expectations, not misconceptions. WFH, COVID-19, and the traditional call center are all still in use today. Trend lines suggest an increase in demand for a return to in-center in some industries in 2022, but this is just speculation.

Agent Turnover: Why Do They Resign?

People are abandoning their employment in historic numbers, according to statistics that are continually being released for the 2021 U.S. labour market. The turnover issues that the BPO sector has had since its start are only made worse by this “business as usual” churn.

Previously, contact center employees might leave one BPO for another that offered more salary or a better work environment. Agents are now leaving “simply because.” I don’t want to enter into a philosophical discussion about how much one should appreciate their profession, but in 2021, a part of it reared its ugly head.

Increasing Demand for Nearshore and Offshore

A call center job is still seen as the last choice in many industries here in the United States, let’s face it. While call center work is typically seen as a career path, goal, and route ahead in nearshore and offshore nations. Outsourcing demand outside of the United States increased significantly in 2021, and this trend will persist through 2022 and beyond.

Offshore

The primary de facto outsourcing location for scalable English continues to be established in overseas markets like the Philippines. The demand for outsourcing from the Philippines has, however, decreased over the last few years for a variety of reasons, including fierce competition, market saturation, workforce shortages, and, more recently, COVID-19-related problems.

In 2022 and beyond, emerging markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, such as Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa, will keep expanding. For U.S. and European businesses, North Africa like Egypt is a reliable BPO market. Additionally, the Asia Pacific region anticipates the emergence of new geos like Malaysia, Vietnam, and others. New entrants can take market share both now and in the years to come since the pricing gap between established and emerging offshore markets is gradually narrowing. Emerging locations provide relatively untapped labour resources, and educated, and skilled customer service personnel, together with maturing BPO industries.

Nearshore

Due to the difficulties facing the labour market, offshore weariness, shorter travel times, cultural affinity, attractive prices, better English understanding, geographical proximity, and reduced saturation, the nearshore market is seeing a significant increase in demand. Before COVID, the nearshore was already seeing a considerable rise. Today, the area is a popular choice for both captive/in-house contact centers and BPO suppliers. It only serves to increase the region’s appeal since more foreign nationals are opting to work in nearshore contact centers.

A warning to nearshore BPOs: Expectations are high since the region is under heavy scrutiny. However, an increase in demand might strain the area and lead to labour markets that are already saturated. English-speaking agents and reduced prices are not the answer. Only commodity and transactional BPO businesses may boast cheaper costs and English-speaking agents as important selling features.

Investments in “people” and HR in 2022

If they haven’t already, American contact centers and BPOs should make significant investments in human resources by 2022. It will be crucial to use smart retention and recruitment strategies, including online and social recruiting. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) hiring is crucial for businesses that prioritise purpose-driven business practices. The finest internal operations and BPOs focus on addressing the fundamental causes of the aforementioned hiring issues and reducing voluntary separations or quits. In “A BEST-PLACE-TO-WORK CULTURE,” these businesses are substantially investing.

Not simply in their client sales presentations or on social media, but also in their daily, ongoing, and compulsive practices, they put the needs of people first. They don’t only see hiring and retention as a two-way turnstile or as quantitative metrics.

Success will depend on omnichannel consumer reach.

There are now various communication tools and channels available on the market because of the accessibility of technology. All firms that employ one or more communication tools must now use omnichannel communication tools due to the rising number of communication channels and their widespread use. We cannot let the outbound call center sector fall behind.

Outbound contact centers will need to adopt an omnichannel intelligent call center solution to connect with current and potential clients via their chosen method of communication. The trend forecasting specialists in this sector expect that, if not all, adding the most popular and in-demand communication channels, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, etc., will become necessary.

Call Center QA Performance Improvement (and Compliance Support)

Many of the call center trends we predict for 2022 are centered on how companies will increase their phone leads. Outbound contact centers, however, also need to monitor and improve every action that takes place while potential clients are on the line. To promote growth and preserve compliance, this is essential.

A specialized QA crew may be replaced by call center quality assurance tools and software, freeing up additional agents to concentrate on closing deals. QA software can assess every call to detect flaws and assist in prioritising action instead of having to manually examine calls. The best thing is that these products frequently function with your existing dialer software because they are third-party integrations.

Taking Action Against Call Blocking and Flagging

Although they may have decreased during the start of the epidemic, robocalls are once more on the rise. Carriers have increased their level of aggression to solve the problem in response. For instance, AT&T stated that they planned to reject or flag twice as many calls in 2022 as they did in 2021.

Read more: Top 7 Trends impacting BPO Companies in 2021 and Beyond

What Steps Should We Take Next?

As a sector, we are fortunate that demand for our services is at an all-time high, and it is our responsibility to keep our brand partners happy. Many companies are wanting to outsource for the first time, and they need our knowledge to help them navigate the outsourcing process successfully. We must be equally as clever in our service delivery as larger and more knowledgeable outsourced service purchasers who are aware of what they want from BPOs.

As brands evolved in 2021, we saw how they found and chose their BPO partners by using meticulous due diligence procedures. For doing this, we salute you. The brand and the BPO should both benefit from being selective in the BPO partners you choose. The majority of the brands or “clients” we work with want proactive, agile, adaptable, reliable, consistent, and value-added relationships, not just “people in chairs” or commodity BPOs.

Since the challenging days of 2021, we have made significant progress, accomplished much in 2022, and anticipate facing fresh obstacles in 2023. Let’s continue to aim for world-class since we are a strong industry with a promising future.

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