BPO, or business process outsourcing, and call center are terms that many people use interchangeably, but there are differences between BPO and call centers. While both terms describe similar situations, they are not the same and should not be used as equal definitions. It would be best to understand the differences between the two options before committing your business to one method over the other. Before you decide, read the following sections to learn the definitions of and key differences between BPO and call centers.


What is a BPO?

BPO organizations are companies that are responsible for completing outsourced work processes from a different company. The initial company will contract out specific processes that the BPO organization then handles. These work processes can include payroll, marketing support, customer support, data recording, technical or nontechnical processes, and more. The general function of BPOs remains the same, but there are three different categories: offshore, nearshore, and onshore. While all three categories of BPOs can get the job done, there are some critical differences. Offshore BPO services are outside and typically not near the initial company’s country; the distance might not be ideal, but offshore services are typically cheaper to compensate. For example, a US company might use an offshore BPO service or vendor based in the Philippines to get the job done for less. Nearshore vendors are close to the initial company’s country, so a US-based company might use a vendor in Mexico as a nearshore vendor. Onshore vendors are within the same country as the initial company, but maybe in a different state. An onshore BPO vendor could be in Montana while the hiring company is in California.


What is a Call Center?

A call center is a subset of a BPO that focuses on phone-based work rather than a wide range of professional services. Call centers, by name and definition, are offices mainly geared for sending/receiving large numbers of phone calls to support a business, though many call centers have added email and chat support to their offered services. The most common call center services include billing and collections, lead generation, customer service, and technical support. However, customer service and technical support are the most common uses for call centers.


BPO vs Call Center

While a call center handles specific telecommunications and related tasks for a different business, BPO handles a wide variety of tasks for a company. Even though call centers have expanded their service menus in recent years, BPOs still cover more categories in terms of professional services. A call center can be classed as a type of BPO, but a BPO is not a call center because a call center’s role and capabilities fit within a BPO, but not the other way around.

Another difference between call centers and BPO organizations is the nature of the work. Call centers focus more on customer and agent connection with the call center agent, so customer service skills are a must. Most call centers focus on interactions between callers and agents, while BPO work is primarily behind the scenes. Even though BPO agents interact with customers less, they should still have customer service training. Some front office and back end processes that BPO companies commonly handle, but call centers typically do not, include:

• Market research
• Technical support
• Sales and marketing
• Collections and recovery
• Data entry
• Surveys
• Payroll and finances

Everyone wants the best for their business, and picking the right support is critical. Opting for a call center over a BPO or vise versa is a significant and nuanced choice. Contact the experts at ListenTrust so we can help you make the best decision for your business.


Get Started by Contacting ListenTrust Today!

For more information, contact Tom Sheppard, VP Business Development, at: tsheppard@listentrust.com.