This week has revealed more high street casualties with HMV and Blockbuster, together with disappointing results from M&S. There has been a deluge of reporting from all sorts of analysts, but one thing is becoming clear - a failure to act on what customers are telling us AND importantly how they are choosing to interact will result in catastrophic failure, regardless of your business sector.
This scenario provided the backdrop for CCA’s BPO Council meeting in London on Tuesday evening and our Special Advisors meeting the following day.
What lessons were there for the BPO providers in a climate where largely price driven decisions dictate procurement? How does the industry respond to a loss of competitor advantage when some argue that they are no longer better than in-house operators - only cheaper?
The importance of this sector in terms of economic activity is understood in terms of c200,000-300,000 jobs however much less clear is the value add which can be derived from a partnership in terms of fixing broken processes, reducing failure and providing customer insight in an informed and effective fashion.
A lengthy and involved debate took place between CEOs of the BPO industry and whilst there were differing opinions as to whether increasingly effective automation will result in job losses (one suggestion of 75% of existing employment in 3 years) there was total agreement that the % of outsourcing as a whole will increase as organisations seek to be more adventurous in their propensity to partner, given the current and immediate stagnation of any growth in the economy.
Led By Dave Rumble, MD at Serco Global Services who chairs the Council, the group agreed a need to communicate success and use this to counter the traditional and sometimes mythical views held about the potential of BPO. Critical to this is a commitment to provide case study material and to contribute to an industry wide campaign to improve image.  CCA is delighted to champion this and to assist in moving forward.
The CCA special advisors meeting hosted by Melanie Howard at Shoreditch House in London was attended by Ben Page, CEO of Ipsos Mori,  Professor Carsten Sorensen of LSE and Liz Barclay independent consumer journalist.
"How can CCA products and services adapt to help this industry transform itself in step with consumer needs?" We heard from Carsten how broken processes are destroying organisations chances of a relationship with their customers - his description of random unconnected encounters - tolerated at present, but for how much longer? which provided much food for thought as to the shake-up required.
For more information on outputs and follow ups why not contact the team or visit