The Difference Between BPO and Call Centres

Choice and difference concept with a white and blue arrow pointing in different directions


BPO and call centres are fast-growing industries that play a pivotal role in streamlining business processes and enhancing customer service.

While they have similarities, they are not synonymous and have different scopes and objectives.

What Is a BPO?

BPO, or Business Process Outsourcing, refers to the process where companies delegate specific business functions to external service providers. These processes can encompass a diverse range of activities including:

  • Human resources
  • Customer support
  • Marketing
  • Payroll
  • Supply chain management

BPO aims to leverage specialized expertise offered by external partners, allowing organizations to focus on their core business tasks.

Outsourcing certain processes can improve operational efficiency, lower overhead costs, and boost customer satisfaction.

Companies are increasingly recognizing the value of outsourcing, and the UK BPO market was valued at roughly £68.1bn in 2022.

Is a BPO and Call Centre the Same Thing?

The terms BPO and call centre are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing.

A call centre is a fast-growing subset of BPO that focuses exclusively on telecommunications customer support.

Call centres act as the direct point of contact between a business and its customers, playing a crucial role in building and nurturing relationships. There is an increasing demand for contact centres in the UK and the market was valued at £2.5bn in 2022.

On the other hand, BPO agents typically work behind the scenes and handle a wider range of processes. This may include everything from back-end admin work to technical IT support.

How Is an Outsourced Call Centre Different?

Call centre outsourcing involves a business partnering with a third-party company and allowing them to handle some or all of their customer service operations.

The third party will usually be responsible for monitoring communication channels, addressing customer enquiries, and resolving issues.

Outsourced call centres operate as an extension of the company, upholding its brand image and customer service standards.

The agents have the skills and expertise to handle customer enquiries swiftly and provide efficient customer service. This allows companies to focus on core business tasks while knowing that their customer needs are being met.

The latest report by the Call Center Management Association revealed that more businesses are leveraging outsourced customer service to enhance customer experiences.

For instance, the majority of centre outsourcing partners now provide multi-channel support, with 80% or more providing SMS, webchat, and email services.

BPO and Call Centre Differences

Scope of Services

As mentioned, the key difference between BPO and call centres lies in the area of operations. BPO covers a broad range of services beyond customer support.

BPO agents are trained to handle IT support, data entry, payroll processing, and many other back-office tasks.

Meanwhile, a call centre specializes in customer support communications, usually focusing on customer enquiries, issue resolution, and sales.

Business Impact

Call centres play a pivotal role in modern businesses, but BPO typically has a larger impact on a company’s overall operational efficiency.

This is because BPO partners focus on optimizing various business processes, while call centres usually only have a direct impact on customer relationship management.

Skill Requirements

BPO agents handle a broader range of business processes so they often require a diverse set of skills.

They may require expertise in order fulfilment, accounting or HR, depending on the tasks being outsourced.

On the other hand, call centre operatives must have exceptional communication and problem-solving to handle customer enquiries effectively.

Relationship Management

There is often more in-depth collaboration involved when companies partner with external BPO providers. In most cases, the third-party partner will provide strategic insights to improve various operational processes within the business.

Whereas outsourced call centres tend to be more transactional, focused on customer interactions and issue resolution.

Final Thoughts

BPO and call centres represent distinct concepts within the realm of business operations. BPO covers a wide range of functions aimed at optimizing processes, while a call centre specializes in managing telecommunications to enhance customer satisfaction.

Understanding the difference between BPO and call centre functions is crucial for companies looking to make well-informed decisions about outsourcing and customer service improvement.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of EvaluAgent – View the Original Article

For more information about EvaluAgent - visit the EvaluAgent Website

About EvaluAgent

EvaluAgent EvaluAgent provide software and services that help contact centres engage and motivate their staff to deliver great customer experiences.

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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Author: EvaluAgent

Published On: 18th Dec 2023
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