BPO Providers Fall Short on Service, ASQ Survey Shows

Christel Henke

Process Management Is Top Concern for Companies

Milwaukee, Wis., October 28, 2010 — Improving process management is the no. 1 way that BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) providers can best improve service. That’s the finding of a new survey by ASQ, the leading network of global quality experts. Companies that outsource business processes rank process management as the key area that their provider(s) can change to have the most positive impact on customer satisfaction. Fifty-five percent are substantially dissatisfied with their provider(s) in the area of innovation and making process improvements.

Industry Expectations for BPO Providers

Industry representatives who responded to the survey ranked the following as the three biggest benefits they expected when making the decision to outsource their business processes:

  1. Reduced costs.
  2. Improved efficiency.
  3. A more flexible workforce.

Are BPO providers meeting expectations? Companies that answered this survey question feel that providers are falling below expectations in a number of areas, including:

  1. Providing good value. (34%)
  2. Assigning quality people for projects. (41%)
  3. Meeting performance metrics. (41%)
  4. Retention of key people assigned to projects. (39%)

"While low cost gets a provider in the door, it’s clear that those who innovate and provide best-in-class core processes that deliver superior value will be positioned for long-term success," said Jean Harvey, ASQ business process outsourcing expert and author of Complex Service Delivery Processes published by ASQ Quality Press.

How Can BPO Providers Improve?

When asked what would improve satisfaction with their BPO provider(s), industries most often requested:

  • Increase the communication flow between provider and client.
  • Provide better staff training to avoid common turnover problems.
  • Implement or upgrade quality processes to improve service.
  • Allow for more innovation and creativity.
  • Meet expectations/deadlines more efficiently.

Outsourcing Quality Assurance

Of those who outsource quality assurance/management functions, industries most often requested improvement in quality and technical knowledge (24%) followed by better understanding of business objectives (18%) and improvement in relationships with in-house management teams (18%).

The survey of more than 300 ASQ members and customers was fielded October 8–22, 2010, and reflects a number of industries including transportation, utilities, wholesale trade/retail, banking/finance, healthcare, government and IT. Those surveyed are currently outsourcing the following business processes:

  • Back office services such as accounting, record-keeping, compliance and IT. (36%)
  • Facility services/security. (23.6%)
  • Quality assurance/management. (18.4%)
  • Human resources. (12.6%)
  • Front office services such as customer service, sales and marketing. (7%)

About ASQ

ASQ is a global community of people dedicated to quality who share the ideas and tools that make our world work better. With millions of individual and organizational members of the community in 150 countries, ASQ has the reputation and reach to bring together the diverse quality champions who are transforming the world’s corporations, organizations and communities to meet tomorrow’s critical challenges. ASQ is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., with national service centers in China, India and Mexico. Learn more about ASQ’s members, mission, technologies and training at www.asq.org.

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ASQ is a global community of people passionate about quality, who use the tools, their ideas and expertise to make our world work better. ASQ: The Global Voice of Quality.