Effective leadership is critical in any industry, particularly when business operations span multiple cities, countries, languages, and services. This is why strong leaders are so critical in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). 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 needs to understand the nuances of working across cultural barriers and take on unforeseen challenges in a global market. For example, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created a very large ripple effect across the European Union. Companies and their people have been dramatically impacted, and nobody knows how the situation might evolve. Only through strong leadership can a company successfully navigate these daunting waters. So, what makes a good leader in the BPO industry? Here are five skills and traits that we embody here at DATAMARK:
Simply put, a leader with a 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. Different projects become outsourced and different countries become more prevalent. 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 opportunities for expansion. In the early 2000s, prospects in India grew rapidly. 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. The U.S. has been heavily affected by this, which has resulted in a labor shortage. It is essential for a leader to identify, develop, and cultivate opportunities in different locations around the world to offer quality services.
The biggest way DATAMARK’s leaders use vision is to find expanding opportunities and avoid contracting markets. The benchmark we use is simple: Will this market segment continue to provide us with at least 20% growth for the next five years?
Effective communication is not judged on words or eloquence, it’s judged 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 always hone their communication skills to effectively communicate messages to all of the people they work with, across languages and cultures.
DATAMARK’s leaders understand that it is their responsibility to communicate effectively, which is why we specialize in multi-lingual contact center services. We’re also strategically located in areas with a strong presence of 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 useful and important 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 needs to understand what challenges a company is facing, and how to solve them. Much of this comes with experience and developing a strong team of problem solvers who always bring new ideas to the table. Ultimately, the client 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 of the sphere that was initially targeted?
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 problems 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 need to make decisions based on what’s best for the team and the people on the ground. If a leader doesn’t care about their people enough, those people will notice. 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 always changing. Effective 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 the most important factor when leveraging BPO services. Generally, if a company is in it for a quick profit bump, for example, the contract becomes fraught with problems. Because DATAMARK is a privately held company, we don’t need to hit monthly, quarterly, or yearly financial targets that public companies are held to in order to meet shareholders’ expectations. Our average contract length is roughly 17 years. This allows us to form partnerships that result in long-term viability.
By embracing the leadership skills outlined in this piece, our goal is to help businesses continuously drive positive change and growth. We are committed to serve, determined to solve, and driven to improve. To learn more about how our wide range of services can benefit you, subscribe to our email newsletter and visit our services page. For specific inquiries, we welcome you to contact us here.
Bill Randag – President
Bill Randag has served as DATAMARK president since 2001, helping customers radically transform, improve and add value to their business processes.
As president, he has guided DATAMARK through a significant expansion into a broad portfolio of outsourced business services, ranging from omnichannel, multilingual contact center services, document lifecycle management, finance, and accounting outsourcing, and process improvement consulting for Fortune 500 companies.
His expertise includes strategy development for the initiation and execution of mergers, acquisitions, and international joint ventures and partnerships. Under his leadership, DATAMARK has expanded its international presence in the US, Mexico, and India.
Bill joined the company in 1993 as Marketing Manager. As his career progressed, Bill assumed increasingly complex responsibilities and leadership roles. He is proud to serve as a mentor and leadership trainer at work and outside of work, helping to develop outstanding leaders in the multi-cultural communities served by DATAMARK.