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The Cure for BPO Procurement and RFP Headaches: Read This and Call Me in the Morning

The Cure for BPO Procurement and RFP HeadachesWhat’s that tension building in your temples? It’s been a growing nuisance ever since your company decided to outsource to a new call center partner— and now it won’t seem to go away.

Finding and selecting an outsource call center can easily become a time-consuming headache. The procurement process has become more complex, with “hot” outsourcing geographies emerging and the BPO vendor landscape rapidly evolving.

It’s a lot to consider. And it can become a real headache if you’re lacking a smart approach for success.

Here are a few key remedies to help shorten your BPO procurement process:

Remedy #1: Make Sure to Start with a Solid RFP

There’s no better way to kick-off your call center search than with a solid request for proposal (RFP). An RFP is a great way to target success early on in the procurement process.

RFPs help clarify your expectations upfront while detailing the requirements any potential partner must fulfill.

Here’s a great RFP template you can steal.

The call center RFP is your first chance to signal to potential call center partners that you know exactly what you want and, more importantly, that you know exactly what call centers should offer. In a competitive landscape, call centers should compete to exceed your RFP demands.

In fact, a quality RFP may be one of the best procurement hacks for attracting quality partners from the start. Here’s why:

  • The best call centers can afford to be selective, and a quality RFP gives the impression of a quality client.
  • A poorly constructed RFP could signal a poorly organized company, which may be all it takes for a call center to pass.
  • RFPs that are precise regarding key requirements are easier to quote, whereas haphazard RFPs can lead to inaccurate pricing, creating flawed bids that can muddy your search. (Here’s a great tool to know what costs to expect).

The best medicine to prevent a headache during your BPO search? Get your RFP right from the start.

Remedy #2: Only Submit to Solid Vendors

It’s easy to try to do too much during the procurement process. That’s why so many organizations cast too wide of a net, thinking “the more call centers vying for our business, the better vendor we’ll ultimately get.”

But that’s just not a good strategy.

The procurement process works best when you narrow your selection to a handful of BPO vendors that you already know are qualified.

The current RFP process is broken, and the issues start long before the first RFP is sent. A stellar RFP is an important piece of the process, but without the right list of vendors, your search will still fall short. Traditionally, when an organization is looking for a new outsource call center, the pool of candidates comes from colleague referrals, Google searches, or a handful of emails from pushy BPO salespeople. Odds are, your organization’s unique needs weren’t the primary driver behind their recommendations. In most cases, they weren’t even a consideration.

To best build a pool of solid candidates for your proposal phase, your best bet is to seek the expertise of a call center advisor that can help you develop a list of BPO providers that meet your exact requirements before submitting your RFP.

One simple tip: unless you’re outsourcing 1,000+ agents, don’t just submit to the largest BPO vendors or vendors with the best marketing and sales presence.

That’s because mid-sized vendors are often better-performing partners — and because they don’t spend millions on advertising, they typically cost considerably less.

No matter the size or expertise, you should be confident your proposal phase exclusively includes call centers that you’re comfortable winning your business. Our Call Center Outsourcing Top Ten Checklist covers everything a top call center partner should offer.

Remedy #3:  Pick the Most Capable Vendor

Once you’re past the RFP stage, it’s safe to assume the finalist vendors you’ve invited to present satisfy most of your requirements.

But which requirements can’t they offer? By design, you’ve packed the field with great prospective partners, so your choice may not be an easy one.

The small concessions each vendor requires may end up being the tie-breakers when selecting your call center:

  • Do they have direct experience in your industry? You may not want to be the guinea pig in a new market or the acid test for their future clients.
  • Were you impressed by your prospective account team? Be sure to insist on speaking with the team that will be handling your business, and don’t hesitate to ask difficult questions.
  • How do they rate in terms of business KPIs? What are their attrition rates? How have they performed on programs similar to yours?
  • How did the facility show on the site visit? Whether virtual or in-person, your observations on a site visit often say more than any discussions you’ve had with leadership or the team.

Once your shortlisted BPO vendors have pitched their services, you’ll get to choose the best fit for your organization. If you’re lucky, your soon-to-be BPO partner will have a clear vision for your success, a competitive bid, and you’ll be genuinely excited to get started.

Fingers crossed.

Bonus Remedy: Try the  BPO Cheat Code

Want to shorten your BPO procurement timeline?

For many organizations, the answer is a resounding yes.

Instead of tediously searching for quality partners and reviewing proposals on your own, let our expert advisors work with you to develop a winning RFP, submit it to pre-qualified vendors, and ultimately select a BPO vendor that is familiar with your industry and has a proven, results-driven track record.

It’s never been easier to cure your BPO headache and find exactly what you’re looking for—fast. Get started today with a no-risk, no-cost consultation.