How to Build Strategic Customer Relationships with Fast-Growing Clients in the BPO Industry
Note: This article was originally published on TELUS International blog
By Paul Garcia
I started working for TELUS International in January 2010 as the account manager for a rather small account. At the time, we were actually on the brink of parting ways with this particular customer, a rising star in the social gaming space. However, with very little time to adjust, we managed not only to retain this client, but to build a strong relationship that grew our headcount from 50 to around 2080 in three geographies during the next two years.
Based on this experience, and on the many other successful relationships we have built over the years, our team has created a repository of best practices to apply to current operations, as well as to attract new business to TELUS International.
Here are some of my thoughts on what helped us turn around that struggling relationship, and some of the best practices that have helped us create many other great and thriving partnerships with customers:
Build a True BPO Partnership
Break the mold of the typical client-vendor relationship and build a true partnership between both parties. Challenge each other and make decisions together. Use customer verbatim to build your strategies.
Learn to trust your end customers when they have a complaint about your products and services and empower frontline team members to make the right decisions for them. This also includes proposing changes in corporate guidelines to meet customers’ needs.
Use Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Take advantage of our corporate expertise and transition to NPS to improve products and services for clients and end consumers. High and increasing NPS score should correlate with client happiness (building a true partnership) and with revenue growth.
Realize the Benefits of Social Media and Innovation in Customer Service
Use online tools to benefit not only your interaction with customers, but also within your organization with the use of intranets and social media. We learned how to service customers through forums and client-customer portals, which is something we now offer to potential clients as a TELUS value-added experience.
Create an innovations department to generate new ideas that ultimately improve metrics, generate revenue (even if you don’t manage a sales line of business), and create loyalty programs for your clients. Brainstorming sessions should be a constant.
In order to continuously find ways to improve, try implementing pilots as a proof of concept to new ideas or suggestions to adapt client-established processes or policies that may be hindering customer resolution and satisfaction. As one client recommended reminded us, “don’t be afraid to fail, but fail fast”.
Create In-House Forms
Generate online forms that can be tailored locally and shared with clients. These can be developer-assisted forms (such as a QA customer value-add measurement tool we developed in TI) or regular Google Docs to share data socially in your everyday work.
Develop Peer to Peer Coaching
Use a collaboration model that encourages peer to peer coaching. For example, quality analysts should teach agents how to rate themselves so they can ultimately identify their own and their peers’ areas of opportunity and come up with action plans to improve.
Understand the Needs and Wants of Gen Y
Due to the prevailing demographics in the industry, try understanding the needs and wants of Generation Y to enhance retention, engagement and metrics.
Our experience in building strong and very strategic partnerships with our clients has resulted in an extensive toolbox of best practices that can be applied to a wide range of BPO challenges. And it almost goes without saying that a certain level of cultural alignment is also important to bring out the best in an outsourcing relationship.
I hope this information is useful to you. For my next few blogs, I would like to expand on some of these topics. Your thoughts and comments are welcome. Also, please take the opportunity to download some of our thought leadership pieces on related topics below.
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