If anyone needed further convincing that the remote work revolution is here to stay, recent news out of the Philippines surely did the job.
On the day the Government ordered the country’s outsourcing firms to report back to the office, industry leader Concentrix decided to let its employees keep working from home, despite losing PEZA tax incentives by doing so. With a 100,000-strong workforce, the company is the nation’s largest BPO firm and chose to retain a hybrid setup after a survey showed that 80% of staff believe a return-to-office order would affect their decision to stay in the industry.
“The clients are ones who prefer it (and) the employees also want it,” said Concentrix executive Michael Montero, who added that both customer and staff satisfaction ratings had significantly increased under a remote setup.
This post is part of our series for the outsourcing industry on customer retention, growth, tools and tech. Check out the articles in the series:
- 7 Strategies for BPO Firms to Retain Top Talent
- 6 Productivity Growth Tools To Help BPO Firms Recruit And Retain Top Talent
It is no surprise Concentrix’s clients are leading the call for the status quo to remain. As highlighted by feedback to Time Doctor, 60% of BPO and outsourcing providers’ customers want permanent work-from-home or hybrid solutions, and how the industry responds will be crucial to their retention. Add in the emerging threat of clients directly engaging with and recruiting BPO staff, it is clear outsourcing providers need to strive to be an employer of choice. Just as crucially, they need to do everything they can to not only provide value to their customers but prove that they are doing so.
On that note, here are a few tips for outsourcing firms to ensure they are retaining clients post-COVID.
What outsourcing firms can do to retain clients post-COVID
Meeting client expectations on tardiness
One of the great concerns for clients in a remote work setting is the thought of staff being ‘fluid’ (or downright lackadaisical when it comes to logging on, signing off, or taking extended breaks). Clients expect a high level of compliance on staff time and attendance, which is why remote and hybrid model outsourcing firms should utilize technology that automates tardiness notification, as well as an unproductive use of time to help eliminate them before they become a more serious issue. Being proactive in communicating tardiness goes a long way to making clients feel reassured.
BPO and CX outsourcing firms have enough to worry about without creating a headache in the form of inaccurate billing. Tracking staff hours and attendance should be a priority as it directly impacts staff payroll and client billing, and clients will be the first to let you know if there are mistakes. Such errors reflect poorly on a company’s professionalism and repeated offenses can lead to clients weighing up their contract options. Using quality time tracking tools is a simple and cost-effective solution to give frontline managers and payroll teams the information they need in a hybrid, office, or work-from-home environment.
Workday analytics and other tools are an effective way to identify areas where staff may benefit from additional support or training. Be it the chance to provide one-on-one coaching or pinpoint personal issues impacting productivity, tracking staff performance and behaviors can lead to happier staff and better results. In a remote work setting, it can also help identify and solve internet connectivity issues that may otherwise go unnoticed or consciously concealed. The ability to recognize a drop in productivity becomes harder in remote teams if managers do not have line-of-sight supervision.
Managing staff who have not met company guidelines and procedures, or are unproductive can be challenging when it comes to proof in a remote environment. Having access to performance data and other supporting evidence is crucial. Key analytics can showcase areas of concern and provide managers and HR teams with the material they need to strengthen and improve the often-difficult case for termination.
In a traditional outsourcing environment, many managers relied on physical means such as walking the floor or using a line of sight to monitor staff productivity. Remote work has changed the game and clients may be justifiably concerned about some staff adopting an out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality. Fortunately, technology is answering the call via workday analytics and dashboard tools that not only seamlessly track staff productivity but allow outsourcing providers to share key insights with clients, such as high-performing employees and those who may benefit from additional training.
With the rising success of remote work and hybrid models, it has never been more important for outsourcing providers to have the right tools to retain clients, offer support to staff and meet the challenges of the modern ‘workplace’.
The opportunity lies in the ability to adapt and find new ways to create value in the relationship with clients, where face-to-face supervision may be limited. Technology can bridge the gap to surface the crucial insight to continue to deliver a market-leading service.
Aimee is the Chief Revenue Officer at Time Doctor writing about remote work, scale, growth and profit for leading businesses globally.