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Technology-Enabled BPO: Meeting the Omni-channel Consumer Head On

  • August 2013
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 13 pages

Summary

Table of Contents

The BPO value proposition, once centered around labor arbitrage, right-shoring and economies of scale, is changing. Consumer buying patterns and behaviors are changing as well. Meanwhile, service providers today are investing in new operational solutions and processes – ones that are mapped to meet the communication needs of the army of independent, autonomous self-starters of Gen Y. This movement into new realms of specialized expertise creates considerable opportunity for new BPO technology investment, translating into enhanced value for clients and consumers.

Introduction

The BPO value proposition, once centered around labor arbitrage, right-shoring and economies of scale, is changing. Consumer buying patterns and behaviors are changing as well.

Meanwhile, service providers today are investing in new operational solutions and processes – ones that are mapped to meet the communication needs of the army of independent, autonomous self-starters of Gen Y. This movement into new realms of specialized expertise creates considerable opportunity for new BPO technology investment, translating into enhanced value for clients and consumers. In essence, new technology platforms will help meet the complex communication needs of today's omni-channel consumer.

In preparing this report, Frost & Sullivan conducted interviews with executives from the following companies:
• Firstsource Solutions Limited – Bhupendra Gupta, SVP, WFM, Process Excellence and Service Quality
• Revana – Jonathan Gray, VP Marketing
• Sitel – Dinesh Pai, SVP, Global Premium Tech Support
• West Interactive – Bruce Pollock, VP Strategic Growth and Planning

Please note that the insights and opinions expressed in this assessment are those of Frost & Sullivan and have been developed through our research and analysis. These expressed insights and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the company executives cited here.

A New Technology-Savvy Consumer

One of the primary themes that Frost & Sullivan's customer contact team has been examining in 2013, is the relationship between consumers and technology. The identities and reputations of top-label, marquee brands are being heavily influenced by consumers, as feed-back and opinions flow unabated in the social media space 24 x 7.

Meanwhile many of today's consumers are members of "Generation Y," offspring of the "Baby Boomers" that were born in the period between the mid 1970s through the mid 1990s (aged - ). It's generally accepted that Generation Y consumers have a different set of values, beliefs, attitudes, and lifestyles than previous generations, and are marked by an increased use and familiarity with digital technologies, communications, and media. These "digital natives" are indeed distinct, and comprise a Mega Trend that providers ignore at their peril. Consider that by 2020, the Generation Y consumer will:
• Be the most educated, affluent, assertive and IT literate generation in history, with distinct behavioral patterns that influence product and technology development, as well as marketing strategies.
• Constitute % of global population – their high purchasing power means they are the most adaptive to change and will continue to experiment with new technologies.
• Provide a huge market opportunity, particularly in emerging markets. Out of the projected population of billion people in 2020, approximately billion will be from the - age group, of which % will be from Asia alone. This means that "Asian Generation Y" – particularly from India and China (together constituting around %) will be one of the most significant and influential consumer groups that companies will target. This age group also will be the most adaptive to change, most willing to experiment with new technologies and products, and will prefer their information and services in real-time/on-demand

Defining Omni-channel 360

Sales and support agents in contact centers today are utilizing a wider arsenal of communication tools - voice, video, e-mail, IVR, Web chat, file sharing, and social media. Frost & Sullivan notes that, more and more, traditional voice-centric call centers are morphing into "omni-channel" contact centers. The omni-channel consumer wants to use all available channels simultaneously. As a result, BPO providers are deploying a complex blend of communications and collaboration technologies in order to stay relevant, competitive and profitable. The goal is to connect and communicate with the customer at the touch point of their choice.

At the same time, the proliferation of channels and devices that consumers now have at their fingertips is creating an operational challenge. Indeed, this 'always on' omni-channel consumer is prone to use or channels simultaneously, and is likely to switch channels on a whim; moving between voice, text, mobile apps, chat, blogs, streaming video, community forums, and social media.

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