Business Process Outsourcing. Sounds like your garden variety IIM/Harvard biz lingo. The term BPO, however, is more widely used.
While there were murmurs of a BPO uprising in the late 80s, it wasn’t until India’s LPG movement (Liberalisation, Privatisation & Globalisation) in the early 90s that the BPO industry really caught steam. The BPO sector in India is now a US$47.5 billion industry. Additionally, it is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate(CAGR) of above 10%. India currently accounts for nearly 60% of the global offshoring market for BPO services. Nearly 4 million people are employed in India’s BPO industry, and this number is only likely to rise in the coming years.
What does it mean?
BPO refers to outsourcing non-primary activities to a third-party service provider. In most cases, it helps organizations reduce company cost for that particular service, thereby increasing productivity and overall efficiency. For instance, organisations abroad frequently contract with Indian call centres to handle their customer service needs. There is a different sector of the economy called KPO, or knowledge process outsourcing, which includes outsourcing of services like accounting, market and legal research, web design, and content development, getting highly skilled workers for less money.
The evolution of BPO as an industry
Particularly during the early 2000s BPO boom, students sometimes saw BPO as a last resort for employment while pursuing further education or hunting for better opportunities. Given the degrading nature of the work and long-standing societal norms in India, many people viewed it as a pit stop on their path to another IT career. It’s far from the reality, but the phrase “night shift” started to gain recognition as an option for people who couldn’t handle a day job. In truth, success in a BPO environment requires a lot of tenacity and talent.
According to Wikipedia, the global BPO market is worth between US$120 and US$150 billion, of which Approximately USD 11.4 billion is thought to be accounted for by overseas BPO. India has some 5–6% share of the total Industry, but a commanding 63% share of the offshore component. An expert can now make a base income of $34,200 per month, and as you move up the corporate ladder, your salary will continue to rise. It has developed into a real career option.
Career prospects: a closer look at employee levels
L1 (Level 1)
An executive who earns around ₹15k per month. They have to work for at least a year to expect any kind increment.Any customer’s initial point of contact is an executive, and despite chatbots and AI’s advancements, people will always prefer to voice their complaints to a fellow person. A chatbot may be quicker, available around-the-clock, and cost less money, but it will never be able to fully replace human empathy, cultural context, and emotional intelligence. Even so, there are literally millions of Indians who are qualified for this position, making it extremely difficult to obtain an executive-level position. Promotions and raises are a completely different matter. The parameter of performance is usually AHT (Average Handling Time) and number of CSAT (customer satisfaction) or DSAT (customer dissatisfaction).
L2 (Level 2)
After that, the Senior Executive handles any issues that the L1 lacks the authority or capacity to handle. After taking care of the tickets, they call the clients back, but not before having a solution ready. The difficulty here is to recognise that not all clients may be tech-savvy, so they need to actively listen and explain the problems to them like they would to a child. There is no AHT, CSAT, or DSAT at the L2 level; rather, an L2 is rated simply on the number of tickets/complaints resolved.
TL (Team Lead)
The big boss of this team. Kind of. They lead 10-15 executives, who are under an L2 – and each L2 has a Team Lead above them. It’s the TL’s responsibility to ensure employees meet their login hours and keep their parameters in the green.If a worker’s parameters are off, the TL must identify the cause and, if necessary, give the worker additional training. TLs typically report to Managers, who in turn report to Directors, who are frequently the clients’ first point of contact. Managers typically have 7-8 teams reporting to them.
This is only a bird’s-eye view of a sector that is expected to expand significantly going forward, and job possibilities will be treated with much more respect, as even the advance of technology will never be able to replace interpersonal interaction.
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