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Call Center vs BPO

There are two terms in the AI industry: BPO and call center. Call center and business process outsourcing are two prominent areas. They have some similarities: share the goal of scaling business toward profitability and efficiency. 

Many people think they represent the same thing, but they do not. In this guide, I introduce some differences between them to help you select the most suitable option for your business needs.  

Definition and Primary Functions of Call Center

A call center comprises customer service experts handling phone inquiries about a company's offerings. They can be inbound, where customers initiate contact to make inquiries, support, or complain about the company, or outbound calls, where the call center begins contact to reach out to prospective customers to pitch the company's product and services to them. 

Over the years, the call center had several evolutions. This evolution has brought in a series of technologies and tools, including telephony, AI-powered chatbots, self-service portals, CRM software, ticketing systems, email support, social media, and many others. 

Call center forms the core spine of modern business operations. Many companies have made this part of their in-house department, while others see the need to outsource it to external service providers. 

Overall, the decisions aim to tap from the enormous benefits, including improved customer services, increased sales and revenue, scalability, cost reduction,  data, and insight. 

Understanding BPO (Business Process Outsourcing)

BPO is the abbreviation for business process outsourcing. It means the enterprise outsources specific business functions, including data entry, human resources, and other related tasks, to a third-party (external) company. 

Its goal is to reduce costs, free up time, and focus on core aspects of the business.As of 2022, business process outsourcing is a $57.67 billion industry and is expected to have a CAGR growth of 9.2%, totaling $110.50 billion by 2030. 

BPO services cut across many sectors, a prime example being BPO call centers. This BPO service oversees the amalgamation of experts who oversee the smooth running of clients' telemarketing, customer services, inbound and outbound customer calls, lead generation, conversion optimization, and many others. As we've stated earlier, the advantage of outsourcing your call.

Center services to a business process outsourcing firm provide state-of-the-art, reliable, efficient customer service at a fraction of the cost compared to running the service in-house. If your understanding of BPO is not in-depth enough, you can read our article: what Is The business process outsourcing meaning. I believe you can have a deeper understanding and understanding of BPO in this article.

Key Differences Between Call Center and BPO

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As stated above, call center and business process outsourcing (BPO) are two distinct terms. However, the element of relatedness that we can deduce from these two concepts is that call centers are a subset of business outsourcing services. Therefore, we must examine the distinctive variables defining each concept to understand which is best for your business. 

 

Feature

Call Center

BPO

Service Coverage 

Primarily focuses on inbound and outbound communication, centering on support and inquiries.

Offers a wide range of services, including support questions, order processing, Telesales, market research, and others 

Functionality

Inbound and outbound sales, technical support, and customer service inquiries.

Accounting, payroll, data entry, transcription, legal services, marketing, and human resources.

Technology Stack Required 

Relies heavily on telephony systems, CRM software, and ticketing systems.

Employs a broader range of technology and tools depending on the specific services offered.

Capabilities and Knowledge Demanded

Strong communication skills, active listening, problem-solving abilities, and empathy. Technical knowledge may be required for specific products or services.

Diverse skill sets depending on the service area. Often requires specialized knowledge in finance, accounting, law, marketing, human resources, etc.

Cost Assessment 

Requires less specialized technology and infrastructure. Costs fluctuate based on call volume and agent salaries.

Requires advanced technology and infrastructure for various services. Costs are generally fixed based on the agreed-upon service level agreement.


Service Coverage 

A call center has a one-dimensional mode of coverage that includes only inbound and outbound methods of calling, which mostly revolve around customer support and inquiries. 

On the other hand, BPO call center services is an all-encompassing and multifaceted cluster of call center services that oversee the fusion of not only inbound and outbound calls but also back office operations like market research, telesales, telemarketing, order processing, dispatch, and others. 

Functionality

Call center mode of operation is more focused on the customer service aspect of the business, which includes convincing customers and serving as a representative for the company. BPO  call center goes beyond that, encompassing a more comprehensive range of business functions like payroll system, marketing, Human Resources, etc. 

Technology Stack Required 

Although both call centers and BPO call centers have an envious stack of technologies in play, there are differences in their level of variety. For instance, the call center's primary tech requirements are telephony, CRM software, and ticketing systems, which are more tilted towards one objective: customer engagement and support. 

This is a different case with BPOs that use various technologies, including call analytics, AI, cloud computing, customer journey mapping,  predictive diapers, and many others. These tech stacks are in place to carry out the multidimensional services BPO call center provides. 

Capabilities and Knowledge Required 

To set up a highly functional call center in your organization, you need to gather a team of employees with empathy, strong communication skills, and good listeners. In some cases, basic technical knowledge might also be required. 

BPO skills requirements cut across various skill sets depending on your goal. You need a team of experts with specialized knowledge of customer experience (CX), digital marketing, inbound and outbound marketing, AI, data analytics, funnel experts, and many others. 

Cost Assessment  

With a call center, you tilt towards spending more on variable costs based on the number of calls your agent initiated or received. Also, call centers only require a lower initial investment into a few specialized technologies and infrastructure. 

BPO, on the other hand, uses highly specialized and advanced technologies to function correctly, and you deal more with fixed costs based on the service level agreement you have with the external provider. 

Choosing the Right Solution For Your Business: BPO or Call Center?

So many business owners have been in a dilemma trying to understand the best fit for their business owing to the similarities between BPO and Call center. Without much ado, choosing the right solution between call center and BPO entails two things, namely, consideration of what your business needs and evaluating the scale of complexity required. 

If your business needs a total focus on customer calling and prospecting, a call center is your best shot to achieve these goals. However, BPO is the best option for all-encompassing business needs, including Human Resources, customer engagement, telemarketing, IT support, etc. 

Bottom Line 

Without any doubt, the main difference between call centers and BPO can be found in their scope. BPO encapsulates a call center, forming a broad scope category, whereas a call center is a one-dimensional entity that falls under the radar of BPO. 

As we carefully explained these concepts, it is essential to understand every segment of each difference, ranging from service scope to cost consideration, to select the right solution for your business. 

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