Episode 3: Managing your BPO (Five Minutes on the Front Line)

Episode 3: Managing your BPO (Five Minutes on the Front Line)

Five Minutes on the Front Line is a weekly segment hosted by Pathlight CEO Alexander Kvamme and Chief Customer Officer Ramon Icasiano, who is a former CX leader at Earnin, Netflix, Zynga, and Verizon.

This week's episode: Pathlight Chief Customer Officer, Ramon Icasiano, shares his two most crucial tips for managing BPOs. With Ramon’s advice, you’ll be set up for success when it comes to setting performance expectations, communicating with, and getting the most out of your BPO.


Alex: Hello, everyone. Welcome again to Five Minutes on the Frontline. I'm Alex Kvamme, cofounder and CEO of Pathlight. With me, as always, is Ramona Icasiano, former CX leader at Netflix, Zynga, Verizon,  Earnin, and our Chief Customer Officer here at Pathlight. Every week we talk to Ramon about key CX challenges that folks like you are facing and get really fast and actionable guidance.

Ramon, today we're continuing our mini series on BPOs. Very many of us have to deal with BPO's every week. They can be a very powerful tool for serving the customer and scaling quickly, but you need to make sure that they're performing. So what are your tips on making sure that your BPOs, your vendors, are hitting the goals that they need to hit and are serving customers properly and maintaining those SLAs?

I'll turn it over to you.

Ramon: Great question, Alex. I'm going to just give you the audience two points here. First point: stop giving a BPO credit for things that they're supposed to do. Number two, inspect what you expect.

Let me go into detail in terms of giving credit for things that they're supposed to be doing. You've decided to outsource so that means there's already scale and operational needs that they need to take over for you. So that means managing attendance, managing absenteeism, folks are trained, folks are onboarded properly. Those are things that they're supposed to do. If you had decided to keep it in house, those are things that you would have kept a very high standard to.

When you're engaging with the BPO, just be very cognizant where your feet are. If you're talking about issues that they're supposed to do, don't spend a lot of time. Just a "Great, that's awesome. That's what you're supposed to do. I need to talk about how we can improve the product, how our tools can be better, be improved. How do we reduce friction and customer effort based on the information that you're seeing from our customers every single day?" So just be cognizant of where your conversations are, but stop giving them credit for things that they're supposed to do.

The second thing is inspect what you expect. I think there's a lot of data, a lot of tools, that you went out and bought. And each tool provides detailed information around specific behaviors or outcomes that you're looking for. I think the key is for you to take those tools and that data down to a customer level at the most detailed view. Meaning if you see it- if you have an escalation- pull up the ticket. Look at the whole flow. Look who had touched the ticket, talk to the lead. What happened? Really get in there and start peeling back the onion.

And what happens is it's not really the case, per se, that matters. It's kind of the culture and attitude that you bring to the table that, as the client lead or the leader, you are willing to go all the way down into the detail so that when these things occur, they know what to expect from you. And hopefully by doing that over and over, and your teams doing that, inspecting what they expect, that you actually get out of the business of having to deal with these types of issues that really should have been handled in the first place.

Alex: Great. So to sum up, keep a high bar for your vendors. Don't give them credit for things that they should be doing already or that you would be doing internally. One-on-ones should be happening. Coaching should be happening. QA should be happening. Those are table stakes.

Number two, inspect what you expect. Don't be satisfied with an end of week, or end of month, high-level report. Be able to have full transparency and accountability all the way down from the top level to the site level, down to the agent level. And make sure that you've got full visibility into the KPIs that matter, so you are able to have a daily or weekly discussion on performance and make sure that everyone knows how they're doing.

And of course, both of those things tie back into Pathlight. You know, many of our customers leverage Pathlight  to help manage their BPOs and make sure that coaching is happening and they're keeping a high bar there. As well as, of course, giving full transparency into performance from the top down all the way down to the frontline.

Great, okay. That's Five Minutes on the Frontline with Ramon Icasiano. This has been part of our mini series on BPOs. Thanks  everyone. We will see you again soon.