The first step in determining your success with a BPO provider is to define a clear set of objectives that you expect them to meet. If you can’t define what you expect them to do, you can’t measure it. When setting your expected objectives for your BPO engagement, make sure they map to your business objectives, and don’t be too explicit. Make sure your objectives are broad enough to drive business process improvements across your entire enterprise.
The next step is to ascertain your facility’s present level of performance. You must know where you are starting from if you are to measure the success at the end of your BPO journey. As part of your internal due diligence process, healthcare organizations should accurately measure their current performance to provide a verifiable base from which to develop fair and objective service level requirements for the BPO provider. Therefore, you can establish both the quantitative and qualitative standards of performance that will be required of your BPO provider.
Here are attributes of a BPO engagement to help you define your success:
- Customer satisfaction — The most important factor to consider in a BPO engagement is, are you satisfied with your results. If you aren’t satisfied with the engagement, then no matter how many objectives were met, it is not considered successful.
- Financial savings — BPO in many cases provides a financially compelling alternative to providing the services in-house. Most engagements identify this as a key objective. If the BPO services are not improving your bottom line, they are not successful.
- Service delivery and quality – Service delivery and quality aren’t usually used in the same sentence, but they should be. Your objectives for the BPO engagement should be as specific as possible when documenting your expectations on delivery and quality. To make this a truly deliberate requirement, add a metric that tracks the number of requests you have to make for a specific service to be addressed and then document how your request was handled. This adds the quality aspect to delivery.
- Scalability to meet your needs — Your BPO partner needs to be positioned to meet your growth requirements. An important measure of their success was how quickly they were able to ramp up their staff and skill sets to meet your changing needs.
- Stability and variability – Your BPO provider needs to provide a stable operational environment even in situations that are variable. Some of the most successful BPO ventures are with components of IT or applications that are sometimes very stable, but often provide variability that must be dealt with “on the fly.” Was your BPO vendor able to handle these situations?
- Predictability – You should expect predictability in your BPO services. Establish metrics around what you define to be “predictable” and measure your BPO provider against them.
- Competency and staffing — Competency and staffing are strategic BPO business issues. Did your BPO partner provide competent staffing and the appropriate skill sets to meet your specific needs?
- Ability to react to changing requirements — BPO is sometimes associated with an increase in formality, which manifests itself in the form of “red tape.” When your business requirements changed, was your BPO partner able to respond to these changes in a timely manner?
If you measure your BPO engagement against the foregoing attributes, you should be able to define your particular level of success.