Webhelp’s Customer Solutions MD Andrew Hall reflects on the conversations he’s having with BPO industry leaders about how the solutions we provide continue to evolve as the world changes around us.

One question, more than any other, seems to be currently occupying the minds of industry commentators: “What’s next for BPO providers?

The suggestion here is that the sudden automation and impact of home working will significantly change the nature of the business we provide. Yet from a BPO perspective we are seeing perhaps the biggest adoption of outsourcing in a generation.

In early 2020, we saw many businesses dramatically shift their approach to employee and customer engagement. This was by no means uniform across the sector. To better understand where the market has gone, we first need to identify how companies exist at different stages of digital maturity. Through our research, we’ve identified three groups in which organisations sit.

Group 1: Digital Natives

30% of the market are start-ups – they are digitally native, able to flex and adapt with speed and agility to any crisis or opportunity presented. Their challenge is how to achieve high growth in a cost-effective way. Their platform lends itself well to scale and adoption, but CX is a human based-task and, despite best efforts, will always require a human element. For this group, we have a bespoke offering called The Nest by Webhelp. It understands the unique issues surrounding low-cost growth, and the excellent human conversations that still need to happen. Coupled with a best-shore approach, we introduce AI and other services that support customer engagement, and optimise advisor performance to deliver on a set of unique targeted outcomes.

Group 2: Digital Transformers

35% of the market are digital transformers – brands who have accelerated their journey to digital and omnichannel. While some are much further along this path, a significant number still look to an outsourcer to support their transformation. For these businesses, we bring an organisational design that delivers several things:

  1. Places customer engagement within the fabric of the company
  2. Underwrites and aligns outcomes to gainshare models that share the risks and the rewards, offering much greater certainty of deliverables
  3. Leverages the leading technology, operational performance and best-shoring approach that we offer

Group 3: Established & Resilient

35% of the market deliver mature outsourcing at scale in a sophisticated network of organisations, often with multiple outsourcing relationships and a complex supply chain, in which many now seek to leverage higher value through outcome-based, analytics-driven customer management. Typically, these would be Telco, Grocery and Utilities, along with some high-tech companies.

What each of these groups has in common is a need to optimise their partnerships, to draw more on the investments being made in transformation, people, data and technology, and to recognise outcomes that not only futureproof a business, but also offer certainty around CX performance that goes way beyond traditional cost-to-serve.

Included in this is the question of work from home or office. There is no doubt the world is now different; the standard customer model has changed, and so must the way companies engage their consumers and their people. Home working introduces huge opportunities to engage a more diverse group of advisors, but it can also isolate those who crave an office environment. The reality is that organisations will need to settle into a new norm of blending home and office, to optimise their teams and their performance. For Webhelp, this is another feature of our best-shore approach, and is a component we had adopted long before it became necessary to do so.


Far from seeing a reduction in demand, we are excited to be part of the journey with so many more companies across the different stages of digital maturity. They demand more, and we delight in offering the innovation and creativity to ensure we provide more, and meet the increasing expectation and need for our services.