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Help! featuring Tom Luther

Released on JUNE 21, 2024

The 1965 Beatles hit, Help!, was written during the height of Beatlemania. Released a month before their famous record-setting concert at New York’s Shea Stadium that drew over 55,000 screaming fans, it went to #1 in both the UK and US and was the fourth of six straight #1 singles in a row for the Fab Four. The little band from Liverpool was now the biggest band in the world. John Lennon’s lyrics display an honesty about his uncomfortable relationship with fame and was a favorite of Lennon’s. A year later, the Beatles would stop touring altogether.

Taken in another context, the lyrics of Help! sound like a growing company that’s realized it can no longer rely solely on its own people, processes, and technology. Whether it’s answering customer inquiries or securing the right technology, lots of companies start looking for help as they grow. Outsource Consultants has been lending a helping hand for over a decade. This week, I chat with Tom Luther, Director of CX Advisory & Partnerships, about technology strategy, adoptions, and how leveraging a BPO can help with both.

We discuss:

  • New Customer Experience Technologies
    • AI Noise Cancellation
    • Automated Post-Interaction Notes
    • Automated Quality
  • How to afford new technology adoption
  • How outsourcing impacts the P&L, HR, and CX
  • Why outsourcing doesn’t mean offshoring
  • How to get great results from nearshore/offshore outsourcing
  • The future of BPOs

Connect with Tom on LinkedIn

Outsource Consultants

Music courtesy of Big Red Horse


Rob Dwyer (00:01.254)
Tom Luther, welcome to the show. You are Next in Queue on this special edition of Bald in the Beard. Is that what this is?

Tom Luther (00:10.276)
I like it. Yeah, I like it. We can run with that. But we probably the bald, the bald, the bald and the bald and the beard is a perfect fit for you and I today.

Rob Dwyer (00:12.742)
Ha ha ha!

Rob Dwyer (00:19.27)
Yeah, the bald and the bald and the beard. You have a show called the bald and the beard. That's why I bring that up. Before we get into the topic that we want to get into, let's learn a little bit about you and a little bit about what you do with outsourced consultants.

Tom Luther (00:39.716)
Yeah, sure. It's, I was just telling my wife last night it's next month will be 20 years. I've been in the contact center space. spent my entire career in some capacity, whether it's been running centers globally, consulting for CX strategy and are my current role now with outsource consultants, really consulting on the labor and tech strategy from an advisory perspective. so I've been blessed to be in the industry for 20 years and I've really been amazed.

to watch what has changed and what has yet remained the same. So it's been a milestone. You never sign up as a kid when you're little to say, when I grow up, I'm gonna be a call center leader. You just don't think about that, right? You wanna be a professional athlete or a doctor or a lawyer or something of that nature. But I've been blessed to be in it for 20 years and it's been really exciting to see where it's been and where it's going.

Rob Dwyer (01:31.142)
Yeah, yeah, that's great. And you're so spot on. I hear that story so many times, and it's also my own story. So let's talk a little bit more about outsourced consultants as an organization. What kinds of things do you do? I know you're on the technology side, but what all does outsourced consultants do? Who do they work with?

Tom Luther (01:53.092)
Yeah, sure. So outsource consultants for a team of about roughly 40. The thing I really love about our team is how deep and broad our experience is. At 20 years in the contact center space, I'm one of the younger ones on the team in terms of experience. So it's really great to work with so many people that have great deep backgrounds in this. We just passed our 11 year anniversary last week.

So congratulations to Corey, Kotlarz who built this organization 11 years ago. He's our president founder. Simply put, Rob, we are the world's largest agnostic outsourcing advisory firm. That's a mouthful, right? Simply put, we help brands of all shapes and sizes that are considering outsourcing find their perfect match. You know, we have...

Rob Dwyer (02:18.15)

Rob Dwyer (02:32.838)

Tom Luther (02:45.284)
Hundreds of partners in the US, we have hundreds of partners in Latin America and several hundred more in EMEA and APAC. So we really have scoured the planet for the best and brightest BPO's out there. So when companies think they're coming to us with something very unique, typically it's not. Typically we've seen it, we have partners that have done it and we've spent 11 years really vetting to find the best partners out there. So...

When companies come to us, our process is pretty simple. We spend a good amount of time understanding your deepest requirements. We take those requirements and we push them against our hundreds of partners. And our algorithm will essentially pull out what we feel are typically your five to 10 best fits. We complement that matrix with a financial model because, again, being a former operator myself, the P &L is everything. So...

We will essentially show you here's where your annualized spend is today in -house, and here's where it would be with partner A, B, C, D, and E. We then will continue to lead them through the vetting process if they want to spend time with those VPOs. Great. Ultimately leading to site visits, hopefully commercials, and ultimately a selection of the partner of their choice. One other thing I'll mention about what I think makes us different is we don't go away day two. We have someone with a background like

like myself, sit on every account to hold MBRs, QBRs, to really make sure that that relationship gets off to a great start. And that is completely pro bono. There is no cost to the BPO. There is no cost to the customer. It's our investment in the longevity and the stickiness of the relationship, because we have relationships with both sides. It's just another layer of accountability. It's another layer of progress. And all of the outputs and all of the process that I mentioned,

earlier on, that also is risk -free, cost -free. So we're very different from a consulting perspective in that we offer completely risk -free, cost -free advisory and outputs, which I think makes us very different than the average firm out there.

Rob Dwyer (04:56.646)
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I know I just had this conversation the other day when it comes to if you're considering outsourcing, the number of companies that are out there can be overwhelming. And you can't just pick any outsourcer to help you with your specific needs because size, expertise, technology, like all of these vary.

roles play a role in defining a company that's the best fit for you or companies, right? There's probably more than one, but finding the ones that really will be great partners for you is not something that's easy to just do on your own. If you're a business leader considering options and I think most people are number one surprised at how many options there are and number two haven't

really thought through a lot of the variables that will make a difference and potentially make or break a relationship, that you have the expertise of having done this matchmaking process so many times to be able to think through those things for a partner and say, you know what, this is something you really should consider. And here's why. Here's why it makes sense for you.

Tom Luther (06:20.388)
Yeah, no, that's a great point. I think we've taken a lot of time and something I failed to mention earlier that I think is worth noting is our database that we've built. We have roughly, roughly 60 different requirements per BPO. So I like to tell people, we know everything, but their shoe size. and I think that's important, right? Getting to know truly the nooks and crannies of the BPO. So as we are trying to make that perfect match, we absolutely can hone in on very specific thoughts.

you made, you made a really important point that I want to, that I want to touch on there around, making the wrong decision. A lot of leaders, in the past, and I'll, I'll, I'll circle back and just my own life of 10 years, 15 years have had a negative experience with outsourcing. and when I ask them one simple question, it typically is identified as to why did you go on your own? Did you, did you try to make the decision in -house?

your procurement and legal team likely ran an RFI, RFP, very little experience in outsourcing, certainly not, a deep expertise of the world that's around them with BPO. And you ultimately selected the wrong partner and it hurt your customers. It hurt your internal customers. there's a negative connotation about outsourcing. So we like to take the guessing out of it. And I think that's the beauty of our process with it being completely risk -free, cost -free is look, it will not hurt you one bit.

to take the time to go and get the appropriate answers to the test. You're going to know who the five to seven are. You're going to have the accompanied business model. What C -suite member is going to tell you no to going and doing that homework. That way you're taking the guessing out of it. And I literally had a procurement leader tell me about six months ago, Tom, look, we Googled the top 10 BPO's in South America. And that's how we went about it. And I'm like, wow. You know.

Rob Dwyer (07:51.686)

Rob Dwyer (08:15.11)

Tom Luther (08:15.908)
Nah, I was a little kind, I was a little kinder than my reaction than that. But at the end of the day, we're that agnostic flashlight. We want to lead you down to the point of doing the appropriate homework because you're right. There are thousands of BPO's out there. There are some very niche players out there that can do exactly what you're looking for, but you won't know about them when you do a common search. so it absolutely, pays to not fly alone.

and to use someone that has a really worldly view of the available options that are out there.

Rob Dwyer (08:50.726)
Yeah, absolutely. And just from my own personal experience, having filled out that sheet for Outsource Sheets that's online, the questionnaire that you guys provide for a prospective partner, ooh, take some time because you're going to need it. You guys really do dig deeply into all facets of the business so that you can really help your...

customers make an informed decision and get the right people in front of them. But we're not here necessarily to talk about outsourced consultants. We are here to talk about another challenge. And this, look, you can't go an episode on this show without talking about technology. And that comes in all.

shapes and forms, but we're at a point today in the contact center world where contact center leaders, they often are not getting bigger budgets.

but they're tasked with delivering better experiences for agents, for their customers. And that can be a real challenge, yet there are technologies out there. So let's start by talking about just some of the technologies that you see that are out there that maybe don't have the biggest adoption that are not in every single contact center, but can make an incredible difference.

for agent experience and or customer experience. What are some of your favorites?

Tom Luther (10:42.052)
Yeah, that's really good. I mean, there's companies like...

We'll shout out Krisp AI, I think on this one. I think Krisp does a really good job. They're known for noise cancellation and contact centers. I mean, we've all called a call center and we've heard the roar of the neighbors around the agent and how difficult it can make the interaction between you and I sometimes. That is completely taken away with Crisp, Krisp, They can completely cancel that. And again, I know other companies.

offer this type of technology, but I just recently saw them at a conference and thought it was really neat, but what was even, I think, more special, and again, other companies do this, not just Krisp, but I think what's cool is these days, and if you've ever been a call center agent, you can relate to this, after call work notes can be a real thorn in the side. It's...

you know, hard to sometimes capture everything that happened on the call via memory or via back in the day notes on desk, which we know are kind of a no -no now. But just making sure that, you know, those notes are captured in a succinct way in an automated fashion, that is a pretty cool technology today that's saving the notes on the account automatically and succinctly. That's going to save you 30 to 45 seconds in handle time.

And you and I both being call center guys, that feels like an eternity that allows that agent to get back in queue and start working additional interactions even faster. And it's accurate, right? The AI is pulling the words that were said and putting them in a succinct way on the account. So those are two really cool things that I think between the noise cancellation and the succinct wrap -up nodes, a little more simplistic in nature, but very helpful. If we're talking bigger budget,

Tom Luther (12:41.732)
I would say the automation of your quality department. We all grew up in the five calls per agent per month was what people felt was a standard, a standard statistically valid sample of calls, even though I think you and I know it's really not an agent works 20 shifts a month, 40 calls a day. They're taking 800 calls a month. And we're saying, Hey, we're going to rely on your performance on five to seven phone calls that was scored by another human.

you know, the, the automation of QA and the scoring of 100 % phone calls really gives a much broader view of someone's performance from start to finish. And it is significantly cheaper than the human labor. Now I'm not, I'm not insinuating that you cut your entire QA staff because I think someone still needs to deliver that feedback. I still feel there's nothing better than human to human feedback.

But allowing AI to record all of the phone calls against a predetermined scoring format takes the bias completely out of it. And it really allows us to capture the entire performance of the agent. Some quick math, right? You have 10 QAs. They're making 50k apiece. You're at a half a million dollars in the P &L. That's a tough pill to swallow.

And you can automate that for about a tenth of the price of that annually. So that is a major P &L mover for not only BPO's, but any contact center leader that's looking to improve their P &L, as well as their data set and process. So the automation of QA is a very simple way to get into the AI world that I think will greatly improve your P &L and your process.

Rob Dwyer (14:28.614)
Yeah, and to your point, if you have shared agents and you're doing that sample size and they have lots of skills, you are not getting a clear idea of how they're performing across all those skills. I've seen agents with over a dozen different skills assigned to them in the BPO world. And if you're getting five calls or even 10 calls a month and they've got over a dozen skills, guess what?

Tom Luther (14:47.076)
Mm -hmm.

Rob Dwyer (14:56.454)
you've absolutely missed some of those skills. You're not even assessing their performance in some of those skills. You have no idea. It becomes a total black hole as far as what their successes and opportunities are. So I'm absolutely with you on that. But obviously, right, there are technologies that we can adopt that can make things better.

What if I don't have any money? How can I, as a contact center leader or a business leader who has a contact center, how do I come to my CFO or my CEO and say, hey, I want to go out and get this technology and it's going to make things better, but it's going to cost me X. And they're thinking, hey, we're already struggling with

profit margin because wages have gone up and our costs from other vendors have gone up and you want us to add something to that. How do I make that case?

Tom Luther (16:04.9)
Yeah, that's one of my favorite questions right now. I think it's extremely pertinent to why we're here today. I mean, you nailed it. Companies are being asked and pressed to do even more with less than ever. There's fewer resources. You're allotted. There's certainly less budget. There's less time. We're just so busy. Priorities are different depending on the department you're talking to. But let's look at it a little bit more broadly.

My personal opinion, again, one man's opinion is we are in the middle of a recession, whether we want to admit it or not. The war to find good, reliable labor has never been more difficult or expensive. The companies that we talk to are just desperate. We've tried everything. We've tried races. We've tried career pathing. We've tried...

daycare centers, we've tried a new cafeteria, we've tried gamification. I mean, I've been doing this a long time. And any leader that's ran a center knows how many different ways you try to retain your employees. The reality is we're in a very tough time. Call center in the United States specifically, it's a tough sell right now, especially to some of your younger workforce. I viewed it as a gift. It was a blessing. You learned communication, you learned conflict resolution, you learned...

verbal and written skills. I mean, I think it's a wonderful job for the younger workforce. but a lot of people aren't seeing it that way these days. So in addition to having attrition problems, there's, there's hiring problems and thus service levels impact the customer experiences impacted the customer churn happens. I mean, we can continue to talk about the dominoes. so how do we fix that? And to your point, how do we afford the technology at the end brand?

that's going to hopefully allow to streamline process and drive a better CX. And outsourcing absolutely is your ally in this particular question. I mean, for a myriad of reasons. One, outsourcing tends to cost less depending on where you're at in the globe. It's flexible and scalable. You can be a little bit more flexible and scalable with your talent.

Tom Luther (18:19.876)
on when you need them, what days of the week, what hours, seasonality peaks, et cetera. They can offer enhanced journey sometimes due to the specialized staff and staff focused on driving elite journeys. You can go and find an outsourcer that has a team of 15 -year insurance professionals that you can plug and play that are very skilled. And sometimes hiring those people directly off the street can be a challenge.

When we when we outsource, we typically see a five to 10 percent savings in North America. Obviously, when you dive into nearshore, you know, your Latin America is that number is thirty five to forty five percent savings per hour per person. And when you jump into kind of more of the Far East, that number becomes more sixty five to seventy five percent per hour per person. So if you're looking at a pretty good sized contact center, that adds up to hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars of annualized.

tangible hard savings. We can look and say, I'm paying A today and I'm paying B tomorrow and show the board, look, if we outsource 50 seats here, guys, we're gonna save A, B, C, and D hard dollars. And because I know our focus on CX investment is like fifth on IT's priority list, I would like to go and create savings through outsourcing.

to turn around and use those budgeted dollars to fund the technology to drive our journey against the roadmap even faster. Let's now deduce all what just happened. The CFO's thrilled, right? Because you've created a pool of cash, you've taken a red P &L and potentially moved it into the positive. HR's thrilled because they're tired of the game of trying to market and hire and...

get people through drug and background to only have them fail or missing service numbers pressures on us. So they're happy and the CEO's thrilled, right? Your contact center now is improving their PNL, improving their staffing and ultimately hopefully able to go afford the right to purchase technology that can drive CX faster because they actually went out and created a budget of their own. So long winded answer there, but I think it's important that we kind of take a look at what's going on in the world.

Tom Luther (20:35.94)
and then ultimately how outsourcing is helping.

Rob Dwyer (20:38.598)
Yeah. I mean, you talked about outsourcing in the US. And I think a lot of companies, when they think about outsourcing, they're not thinking about that. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Because I think a lot of people, when they hear outsourcing, they think offshore. They may be thinking near shore, but they're just thinking outside of the country. They have concerns about all kinds of things, right?

Culturally, can they hold a conversation the same way? They may have concerns about accent communication and all those things, which we can talk about how technology can assist in that. But you just talk about why someone would outsource in the US if they're already in the US. Why does that make sense?

Tom Luther (21:26.98)
Yeah, I think I saw a really cool t-shirt at a conference a few weeks ago and it said outsourcing equals offshoring. And I had the big no mark for it. And I wanted to go up and take a picture with that guy because I couldn't agree with it more. And you nailed it. Outsourcing absolutely does not mean offshoring. There's wonderful BPO's, near shore, onshore, certainly offshore. As I shared a little bit earlier, Contact Center is a unique career choice.

I think why other countries have done so well with their retention and thus their cost and their ability to continue to grow relationships is because they've been able to retain. BPO's I think have done a wonderful job going out and finding people that want to make this a career path. I've made it a career path, you've made it a career path. It has been a wonderful career for a lot of people. But when you're coming out of...

You know, maybe you're a young professional and it's not something you want to do and your heart's not really into it. And you don't have the best leadership team and training was poor and you have a bad experience that equals. I want to get out of here as fast as possible. And I think BPO is what they really do is I think they, they take a lot of tender loving care in terms of their hiring practices, their training and onboarding practices, their ongoing coaching and development. And they usually have pretty competitive pay and great rewards and recognition, including career path.

BPO's won't survive if they don't have great employee retention. Because again, people are outsourcing to typically improve their staffing. And if it puts them in a little bit better cost position, that's wonderful too. But it's really about how do I get to a point of stability? And BPO's like yours, I think have done a great job holding onto their people. We haven't been able to do it at the end brand.

I've given you a chance, Mr. Outsourcer, you've knocked the cover off the ball. Service levels, handle time, resolutions, whatever metric we want to talk about, that's going to lead to more trust. That's going to lead to more opportunity. That's going to lead to your portfolio growing at the Outsourcer. But again, it's not easy, right? Running a United States BPO, you have to do all the things from hiring to rewards and recognition that I just mentioned. You have to do that every day because employees have a lot of options these days.

Tom Luther (23:49.156)
They can go right down the street and start tomorrow somewhere else. So it is a, it starts from the top. Right. The, the, the leader and his team need to be servant leaders. They need to really put those employees on a pedestal, invert that pyramid, put the employees at top and kind of always have the guidance that you're working for them. And I, I think you'll typically see pretty good results.

Rob Dwyer (23:49.382)

Rob Dwyer (24:09.638)
Yeah, there is, of course, the opportunity if, right, I maybe am only going to realize that five to 10 % of savings and I crushed the numbers and I like that. I mean, that's not going to pay for the technology that I ultimately want. How can I go near shore offshore and yet have some confidence that I'm going to get?

the kind of performance and experience that I have typically experienced with US -based agents. How can I feel confident that I'm going to get that?

Tom Luther (24:52.26)
I'll give you two different answers because I think there's there's two different ways to look at this. You had mentioned earlier dialect concerns. There are some brands that are absolutely tried red, white and blue. My customers are expecting to talk to United States customer service agent. They have the right to do that, right? And that's why we have so many wonderful partners here in the U .S. I would coach them that if dialect is a concern that let's absolutely keep the voice work.

here in North America where they're talking to someone that they can clearly tell is a United States citizen that has a very clear and easy to understand individual. And let's take some of the non -voice work, the chat, the email, the social media support, the SMS response. Let's put that near shore offshore. So more of a hybrid strategy, Rob. That can really keep you happy from a dialect perspective.

and still give you some really nice savings because you're going to outsource nearshore, offshore, and you save yourself 35 to 65 % per hour per person because the reliability is off the charts and they're great at following process. So do I really care about their dialect if it's non -voice work? Of course I don't. Sometimes they, you know, leaders of centers and brands have to be coached around that. Your customer will have no voice interaction with this individual.

Rob Dwyer (26:10.534)

Tom Luther (26:19.428)
Now for customers that absolutely are interested in offshore or nearshore for everything, but still have some dialect concerns, there are some really neat accent neutralization software that's on the horizon out there that's non -robotic, non -latency, you know, over 50 plus languages, right? That can make that agent in Kenya sound like Tom from Ohio.

It's amazing. And there's been companies that have tried it over the years. There's been latency. It sounded robotic. Just the voice work that has been done by some of these companies is amazing. And again, over video, it shows slightly, but it's video. You're not on video 99 % of the time with a consumer. So the consumer will never tell. So again, that...

You can do a complete voice replacement to make it sound like a desired part of the world. Or you can do what they call soften the tone. I really think this is neat. You know, India, right, wrong, or indifferent. Sometimes when you get an Indian help desk agent, they're doing a wonderful job servicing you. But sometimes the dialect can be very heavy. And sometimes it's hard for American consumers to really pick up.

There is a soften functionality within this technology that will essentially make that person sound like they've been a westernized US citizen for 15 years. It's a softer Indian accent. It's a little bit more easier to the ear. It's easier to understand what's going on in the interaction. And at the end of the day, the agent, it's still their voice. They're just putting a little bit of softening on it. So that's been very well received as well.

So that accent neutralization, whether you're looking to take work from the US and put it somewhere else, or you're just looking to soften work that's already overseas somewhere to make it sound a little more westernized, that to me is the future. That's pretty slick technology.

Rob Dwyer (28:28.678)

Rob Dwyer (28:32.902)
One of the things that we haven't touched on, but I think makes sense to talk about, particularly as you were talking about splitting work, right? So maybe I have voice work in the U S and I have non -voice somewhere else in the world. That also gives you some flexibility when potentially events happen that are outside of anyone's control where I can kind of shift work around, right? Sometimes you get a large weather event.

or you get a mass power outage, or you get a mass ISP outage, whatever the case may be, it gives a company some flexibility to keep their customer service, customer support operations running, maybe not at 100%, but still running. And that business continuity is...

It's not a nice to have anymore. I mean, we're in a 24 seven world and people expect to be able to call at 4 a and get an answer or to chat at 4 a and get an answer. And having, you know, your different support people in different places around the world can absolutely help support.

Tom Luther (29:53.764)
Yeah, you nailed it. It's not a nice to have. It's a necessity. You absolutely have to have a business continuity redundancy plan. Whether that's different parts of the US, right? Different weather patterns, different parts of the states or whether you have operations onshore, near shore, offshore. You're right. Disaster can strike at any time. time. I heard Discover card recently and I,

Don't want to out Discover card here, but I heard a commercial where they said 100 % US based only operations. They better have one heck of a redundancy plan. If something goes on in the power grid in different parts of the US where they're at. And they tried to, I think, position it as we're keeping our jobs here. And I think the message, at least to this consumer, didn't hit home. I'd much rather have someone say, you know what, regardless of channel.

Whether you call me, you text me, you hit me on social media, you email me, I can respect, or excuse me, expect that you get back to me in the time that you promised or a time that's acceptable. I should be able to call you if I realize something funny in my bank account at three in the morning, I happen to wake up and see it. I should be able to expect real time, wonderful customer experience. It's going to allow me to get off that call feeling a little bit better about the situation.

And it's amazing to your point. It's we're halfway through 2024 and there are solar companies that are fairly single threaded that shut off at eight to five. And they wonder why customers are going elsewhere. They're going elsewhere because they, they need you. They need you at all times of the day, not just what's convenient for you. So we can talk about that topic forever, but I think that it's a necessity.

Rob Dwyer (31:29.254)

Rob Dwyer (31:39.078)
Yeah. And you hit on something there. I'm curious with Discover, like what kind of traction they've seen with that marketing effort. I think it's an interesting marketing effort. I think as people who are kind of inside the business, maybe it hits a little differently with us versus the average US consumer. But I am curious to know, you know, what that has done for new business and existing business.

Tom Luther (31:59.748)

Rob Dwyer (32:08.742)
I have no inside info, I can't tell you, and I don't keep track of their stock price, so I don't know how that's performing either. Feel free to comment on this episode if you've got some insider information that you think Tom and I should know. Tom, what haven't we talked about today that you think is important to bring to this conversation?

Tom Luther (32:33.892)
I would say, I mean, there's a lot that's, that's a big question, Rob. I, I think, I think besides cost savings and performance lift, there's a lot of things to love about outsourcing. I mean, candidly outsourcing is recession and labor proof. like anything in life, you know, customers will lean on others.

Rob Dwyer (32:40.902)

Tom Luther (33:03.076)
who have outsourced before them, and if they didn't have a world -class experience, natural trepidation occurs, as I shared much earlier, and that leads to slower decisions, more financial pain, more customer pain, customer churn. But again, what that friend of a friend didn't tell you, and I hinted on this a little bit earlier, is that they went alone in their search when finding the appropriate solution. They decided to do their own research.

They Googled this, I shared the top BPOs, they ran that RFP, they talked to three BPOs and they thought they went through a judicious process to find that outsourcer of their dreams. Again, not necessarily to plug us, but please use an organization that takes the guessing and hoping out of that equation. You know, as I shared, we've spent over 10 years building the most robust database in the world of wonderful world -class BPO practices.

The data points on every BPO and our practice completely take the guessing out of it. Your customers deserve it, right? Your board deserves it. Your stock price deserves it. Everybody should be looking at the experts to help them, whether they're looking at technology or they're looking at outsourcing, have an expert help you. That's not to demean the intelligence of your internal team. You've got wonderful procurement, legal and IT and technology teams. Excellent people.

but they aren't in this business every day. They aren't in the weeds, understanding GEOs, understanding the capabilities, helping you put together a world -class strategy. So long -winded answer to say, don't fly alone, use that expert. They will help you make the right technology decisions and the labor decisions because there is a marriage between the two when you're ultimately trying to drive towards your dream CX.

Rob Dwyer (34:28.23)

Rob Dwyer (34:51.43)
I love that one thing that I will just mention is when we talk about. Trying to adopt a new technology. By going to an outsourcer, potentially they already have the technology. And so by getting into that kind of relationship where most people think of it as people, right? I I get people to answer the phone to engage.

chats or answer emails and those kinds of things. Along with that, a good outsourcer is going to bring their tech stack with them and allow you to leverage that. So maybe you're a small business that hasn't used live chat before. You're like, hey, I'd like to use live chat, but my solution doesn't have that. I'm going to have to make this big investment to get live chat.

Well, gosh, guess what? If I go to just about any outsource provider, they've already got live chat, right? You don't have to make the big investment. You can leverage their technology, take advantage of it, and have the people that are manning those chats and engaging with the customers. So there's that additional way to look at.

Tom Luther (35:58.66)

Rob Dwyer (36:13.766)
technology adoption, sometimes it's easier because the BPO already uses it and it's kind of baked into the price.

Tom Luther (36:24.132)
Yeah. And you just, you just jarred another, I think thing that we need to talk about that we haven't. And that's BPO's historically. And I can say this, I've been this guy, you've probably been this guy too, were a little more frugal in nature in the past, right? BPO's we drove our business on being reliable and a little bit, a little bit cheaper. And that was how we sold to customers. Those days are, are fading quickly.

Right. BPO is now more than ever realized they have to differentiate if they want to grow the business and or win your business. They have to have the technology and the processes in place that you don't already. Right. That's when you really think about outsourcing, that's really what we want to do. We're doing the people today. Our belief is that over the upcoming years, it's going to be the technology as well, because, you know, let's I'm not going to mention any customer names, but I've been a part of.

Rob Dwyer (37:15.494)

Tom Luther (37:19.716)
scorecards before where there's 25 BPO's on it. Somebody's chasing 25 liters of BPO's and their performance is around. That is just, to me, ludicrous. So you're starting to see BPO's shrink the number of BPO's that they're doing. Ultimately, I think the BPO's that have a diversified labor strategy, onshore, nearshore, offshore, coupled with world -class AI technology, RPA strategies.

that could eventually drive more self service efficiency to drop head count. Those will be the BPO's that I think brands lean on to drive CX forward. Because again, hiring has continued to be cyclical. It's very hard to do. It's very expensive. It's a bleed on the internal P &L. Push the outsourcing of not only the labor and the tech to a strategic partner, not just a BPO vendor that's cheap.

Send it to a partner that understands your vision and has the technology to go deliver on your short and long term CX strategy. To me, that's the future play.

Rob Dwyer (38:22.63)
Yeah, I'm with you. Well, listen, Tom, it's been great to talk to you. I'm glad that I could bring the beard to the conversation. Neither of us brought the hair, but I mean, what are you going to do? I rely on other guests to do that. If people want to get in touch with you, we'll have your LinkedIn profile down in the show notes. For those of you who are looking at the show notes, you can also get to Outsource Consultants website.

Tom Luther (38:28.228)
Yeah, man.

Rob Dwyer (38:51.398)
from there as well. So if you need help with technology or outsourcing or you just have questions, feel free to get in touch with them. And I'm sure they can spend some time with you and help you understand what options you are. And if you want to use them to help you identify some great options, they can do that as well. Thanks, Tom. And I really appreciate the time today.

Tom Luther (39:20.58)
Yeah, Rob, thanks for having me. It's been a good time. Thank you.