The COVID-19 pandemic really took a toll on our lives. It has greatly affected not just the economy, but our personal lives as well. Despite the crisis, there were still opportunities for growth in certain industries. One industry that has thrived despite the situation is the global BPO industry.
By 2021, the BPO industry is expected to grow even more with the aid of remote work and technology. In fact, according to the 2021 Forrester prediction, businesses will double down on new technologies and remote work will rise to 300%.
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The Philippine BPO Industry During the Pandemic
In the Philippines, the BPO industry had a hand in easing the country’s economic decline. Established as one of the Philippine economy’s primary legs, the BPO industry has contributed over $26 billion USD in 2019. Unfortunately, this year’s lockdown has accosted plenty of businesses and surged the unemployment rate. However, the BPO industry in the Philippines remained strong by implementing a remote work setup to ensure business continuity. Due to the sustainable nature of the BPO industry, the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) has seen its potential to help reduce the number of displaced workers.
As we’ve seen, the BPO industry is certainly a sustainable solution for business disruption. But before we share the BPO trends for 2021, let’s take a look at the trends that emerged in the BPO industry this past year.
Recap of 2020 BPO Trends
The BPO industry faced various challenges with the threat of the COVID-19 this year. However, the pandemic didn’t stop the industry from rising to the challenge. Here are some of the trends that emerged this 2020:
An Upturn in Remote Work
BPO companies have shifted to a remote work setup to avoid business disruption during the pandemic. In turn, the demand for a remote work structure grew. Since then, BPO companies have proven this remote work strategy to be effective. In fact, plenty of these companies have seen the potential to use it as a selling point to businesses that were negatively affected by the pandemic. One case study has proven the effectiveness of a remote work structure on an actual BPO company. Not only did the case study prove the effectiveness of remote work, but it increased the company’s KPIs as well.
Established Cloud Services
In 2020, outsourcing companies proved to be a reliable cloud service partner. Due to the nature of the remote work setup, businesses rely highly on cloud services to maintain their operations. For BPO companies, it was important to recognize that they offer competitive cloud services to businesses. And that getting a cloud service is a smart business decision for long-term success.
Increased Demand for Conversational AI
Almost every business nowadays is present online. Most of the time, people will not recognize your brand if you don’t have a presence on social media. The same goes for customer service. Customers today demand to have multiple customer service channels to get in touch with your business. With the demand for multiple channels, the demand for chatbots increases as well. Most businesses have seen conversational AI programs as an ideal customer service solution this year. This is primarily because of its cost-efficiency and availability. It can also provide accurate actionable data.
2021 Predicted Trends
This pandemic has drastically affected a shift in lifestyle, business, and work setup. It has also paved the way for businesses to innovate and cater to the shift in consumer behavior. And this is the whole point of the 2021 BPO prediction – following consumer demands.
Now that we’ve seen the BPO trends that emerged this year, let’s look at some of the most promising 2021 predictions for the outsourcing industry:
In response to the pandemic, some industries and businesses grew due to the shift in consumer demand. Industries such as healthcare, fitness, eCommerce, and education were among the ones that have seen massive demand. However, these businesses can only cater to consumers without eventually needing help. This is where outsourcing comes in. By 2021, the outsourcing industry will be seeing a wave of potential clients coming from the aforementioned industries. These industries will be looking to outsource their processes and functions to satisfy and meet the demands of their customers.
Enhanced Cloud Computing Services
By 2021, the BPO industry is expected to move towards more technology-based solutions. This year has shown us the need to have established cloud computing services, cybersecurity, and automation in business functions. BPO companies must enhance their cloud service offers to book tech-forward clients. Businesses will also continue to see the benefits that cloud services have to offer. More than safely storing private data and information, it can improve systems and processes that will increase business efficiency.
Advanced AI and Robotics
Advanced AI and robotics are the most certain predictions in 2021. In fact, according to some investors from Silicon Valley, it’s four times more helpful than the internet. Plenty of industries are starting to integrate advanced AI into their programs and the BPO industry must do the same to compete. Advanced AI and robotics are full of potential since they can be applied to processes and programs where automation is applicable. For the outsourcing industry, it’s a promising endeavor for there are certain processes and programs that can be integrated with advanced AI technology.
The Outsourcing Industry Outlook
2020 proved to be a trying year. Even though the BPO industry survived and managed to grow, there’s still a long way to recover losses. For next year, the BPO industry will be more prepared to give solutions to businesses during a crisis. As more businesses lessen traditional practices and embrace new technologies, the BPO industry must do the same to continue serving clients and revolutionize business processes.