Knowing effective leadership skills is critical in any industry, particularly when a business’ operations span multiple cities, countries, languages, and services. Effective leadership is why strong leaders are so influential in business process outsourcing. It’s not enough to know the best practices of an industry. While valuable scopes of this size require far more. An effective leader in this space must understand the nuances of working across cultural barriers and how to take on unforeseen challenges in a global market. Only through solid leadership can a company successfully navigate these daunting waters. So, what makes a good leader in the BPO industry? Here are five effective leadership skills and traits that we embody here at DATAMARK:
Simply put, leaders with good vision can view the possible future they want to create. They can identify a situation and determine how it will impact the future of the BPO industry. Technology evolves, and labor resources come and go. A good leader thinks, “Where will the opportunity be, and where can we offer it?” Back in the ‘90s, Mexico and South America offered great expansion opportunities. In the early 2000s, prospects in India multiplied. In the late 2010s, the call center industry shifted to the Philippines and South America. Right now, businesses are working with a reduced labor market, as many people retired during COVID. This has had an outsized impact in the U.S. and resulted in a labor shortage. A leader needs to identify opportunities in different locations around the world. They then must develop and cultivate them to offer quality services.
The most significant way DATAMARK’s leaders use vision is to find expanding opportunities and avoid contracting markets. Will this business sector allow expansion at 3% for the next five years? This is an excellent indicator of whether that business sector is growing or shrinking.
Effective communication is not judged on words or eloquence but on how your message comes across. Do your listeners truly understand what you said and what you meant? Are they on the same page? The BPO industry presents unique communication challenges to leaders because of multi-country, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural operations. Communication barriers are everywhere, and they’re different everywhere you go. Good leaders in a BPO company must constantly hone their communication skills to effectively communicate messages to all people they work with across languages and cultures.
DATAMARK’s leaders understand that it is their responsibility to communicate effectively. This is why we specialize in multi-lingual contact center services. We’re also strategically located in areas with a strong presence in multiple languages. Given our global economy, and particularly with the rise of COVID-19, many companies have shifted to an overreliance on Zoom and Microsoft Teams. While valuable and essential tools, there is no substitute for face-to-face communication. When in a room with multiple team members, it’s far easier to read their expressions and pick up on non-verbal cues. Are they excited? Are they confused? Much of this can only be determined through in-person communication.
A fundamental aspect of the BPO industry is solving customers’ problems. Companies outsource business functions because they have problems completing them. This can be related to solving the technology, sourcing the people, working with different languages, or something else. A good leader must understand the company’s challenges and how to solve them. Much of this comes with experience and developing a solid team of problem solvers that will always bring new ideas to the table. Ultimately, clients must feel comfortable with the BPO company they work with. Do they understand our needs and have a track record of solving them? If new problems arise, will they assist us outside the initially targeted sphere?
Problem-solving skills and communication are equally important. In many ways, they’re tied together. It doesn’t do you any good to solve problems if you can’t communicate them. Likewise, it doesn’t do you any good to communicate well if you’re not solving the issues you were hired to solve.
The BPO industry is all about people. Quality leaders in this space need to care about those within an organization. The work is labor intensive, so high turnover is disastrous. BPO leaders cannot make business decisions based solely on what country they’re in or what technology is being used. They must make decisions based on what’s best for the team and the people on the ground. Those people will notice if a leader doesn’t care about their people enough. The quality of these relationships will either create loyalty or destroy it.
Similar to how good leaders must build strong relationships, leaders in the BPO industry must focus on long-term partnerships. This then requires teachability and accountability. As discussed before, global markets are constantly changing. Influential leaders must grow and adapt to these changes to better serve their clients. They must also own their decisions and the decisions of their team. Invested leaders balance short-term needs with long-term success.
Cost is not and should not be an essential factor when leveraging BPO services. Generally, if a company is in it for a quick profit bump, the contract becomes fraught with problems. Because DATAMARK is a privately held company, we don’t need to hit financial targets that public companies are held to. Our average contract length is roughly 17 years. This allows us to form partnerships that result in long-term viability. By embracing this and the other effective leadership skills outlined in this piece, our goal is to help businesses continuously drive positive change and growth.