Hybrid delivery is more than remote working
Over the last 18 months, business process outsourcing (BPO), like most industries, has had to quickly and effectively adapt and shift strategies to ensure success in a post-pandemic environment. The reality is, that while work from home (WFH) delivery has been largely underutilised by BPO providers in the past, the future of the industry is based on providing a combination of WFH and in-centre delivery to meet ever-evolving customer expectations.
CX is King
“Dynamics around customer experience (CX) are becoming even more complicated for enterprises as we move toward the second half of 2021. CX has become the prime differentiator as enterprises fight it out for customer loyalty,” explains Merchants Group CRO, Mathew Conn. He notes that deploying hybrid delivery strategies is an important part of providing outstanding CX in both mature markets and top offshore destinations, like South Africa.
As a BPO provider with 40 years of experience, Merchants is one of the longest-serving CX providers in the world. As part of its local expansion strategy, Merchants launched its Ekhaya solution in 2020. The office-in-a-box solution looks to tackle the specific challenges of WFH in South Africa, while supporting over 2000 agents to feel more connected to their teams and provide the best possible service to the end client in a secure operating environment.
Hybrid Delivery vs WFH
“Deploying strategies for hybrid delivery is about more than providing agents with a laptop and a headset,” explains Conn. “There are several factors that set hybrid delivery apart from simple WFH solutions.”
“Importantly, hybrid delivery solutions need to focus on security,” says Conn, noting that the 2021 Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office Omnibus Survey found that enterprises prioritise outsourcers that have robust data protection capabilities. Merchants’ Ekhaya solution provides a dynamic, secure environment that uses AI to mitigate a growing multitude of threats.
“Hybrid delivery is about ensuring that each member is able to continue contributing to the success of the team, and feels connected to their team members at all times,” he explains. The Ekhaya solution is built around a secure platform that allows Merchants agents to share content and interact seamlessly, no matter where their office is set up.
Remote Desktop Access
A secure virtual desktop provides all Merchants’ agents the necessary tools to service end-users from their residence. “This was incredibly important for our business during the recent unrest in South Africa, when many of our agents were unable to travel to our locations in Johannesburg and Durban,” explains Conn.
“Productivity is not always about the number of calls taken or the number of resolved queries by the agent. When dealing with hybrid delivery, it is necessary to shift the focus on to the end client and provide agents with the necessary tools to respond quickly and accurately to client needs,” explains Conn.
“CX decision-makers are prioritising locations where high-quality talent is supported by world-class processes and technology to deliver the best interactions. An offshore delivery destination is only as strong as the outsourcers that operate within its borders, and Merchants strives to remain agile and relevant – driving not only our own success, but that of our clients. Hybrid delivery is the future of BPO, and needs to be driven by future-ready solutions,” concludes Conn.