CX Insight Magazine

October 2022

How To Get The Most From Your Customer Experience Outsourcing Partnership

by Pete Tapley, Vice President, Customer Experience Innovation, TELUS International

Tips for finding the right partner and structuring your relationship to ensure long-term business success in challenging times. 

Change is in the air.

It’s not just the falling leaves, shorter days or cooler temperatures that are typical this time of year in the northern hemisphere, but rather a fundamental shift in how businesses operate. Among the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign exchange pressures, armed conflicts, rising interest rates, and fierce competition for top talent, companies are in a state of flux as they try to accomplish more with less.

Businesses are evolving out of necessity, and so are their outsourcing partnerships. In the past, buyers primarily focused on leveraging multiple service providers for cost reduction and risk mitigation. However, new research commissioned by TELUS International found that half of the surveyed enterprises have reduced their customer experience (CX) provider footprint over the last 12 months, with 51% using a single provider, and 44% engaged with only two to three providers.

Enterprises are rethinking their existing customer experience partnerships to form fewer, stronger, trusted relationships that encompass an increasingly wide range of capabilities. Given the trend toward consolidation and the pressures to stretch budgets even further than before, companies need to structure their remaining outsourcing partnerships in such a way that ensures they have the right people, processes, and technology in place to deliver on their customer experience vision today and well into the future.

Survey Says: Fewer CX Partners, More Outsourced Services

The business process outsourcing (BPO) consultancy firm Ryan Strategic Advisory conducted a survey on behalf of TELUS International that gathered insights from 668 global executives with strategic decision-making authority over contact centers within their organizations. In addition to learning that the majority of leaders today are selecting and working with fewer CX partners, the survey found that companies are outsourcing more services overall. Survey respondents indicated that they have engaged a single CX partner for complex services such as artificial intelligence (67%), digital IT (68%), content moderation (72%), and digital CX (77%).

For many leaders, an offering that includes end-to-end customer experience solutions is a baseline requirement when it comes to their outsourcing partnership. Nearly 40% of the executives surveyed indicated they would leave a CX provider if they were unable to provide all the complex digital CX services they needed.

In addition to the scope of their offering, executives highlighted three important factors when considering contract renewals with an outsourcing partner:

  • the ability to scale (69%)
  • the ability to meet KPIs consistently (65%)
  • the ability to meet language requirements (61%)

These factors work hand-in-hand. Scaling often requires additional language requirements to meet growing international demand and to serve new markets, and the ability to consistently meet KPIs can be considered a standard expectation with any service level agreement.

More surprising, perhaps, is that cost was not listed as a prominent deciding factor in renewals. In fact, less than half (41%) of survey respondents indicated competitive price was important in their decision-making. Leaders today are prioritizing quality over cost with the understanding that sacrifices in customer service can end up being more expensive to businesses in the long-run. This does not mean that cost is irrelevant, but, rather, emphasizes that the real value lies in a partner with a diverse offering and the ability to deliver.

Six Ways to Get More from Your CX Outsourcing Partnership

As the research suggests, executives are looking for more in their outsourcing agreements.

Smart buyers look for a partnership that will capitalize on industry expertise and experience, leveraging unique resources and skill sets to drive their customer experience further, faster. The following are some of the strategic ways executives can get more from their CX partnerships.


Co-innovation happens when two or more organizations work collectively to develop products, services, and/or solutions. Working with an external partner brings new perspectives that enable companies to predict and meet consumer demands at an accelerated pace. As an added benefit, co-innovation also tends to reduce risk through the sharing of resources, best practices, industry insights, and cross-industry experience.

Given the fast-paced and competitive business environment, digital solutions are enabling leaders to get an edge on the competition. But it’s not always possible or even ideal to develop those solutions single-handedly. Working with a CX partner can help to accelerate digital transformation and solve problems more efficiently by bringing unique perspectives and out-of-the-box solutions to the table.


The right CX provider will strive to understand your customer journey inside and out. Their team of experts will be able guide and support your business strategies by breaking down barriers, connecting disparate organizational silos, and identifying the right priorities to enable a successful business transformation. They should also be able to provide robust customer journey mapping that aims to simplify touchpoints to reduce cost and effort for a seamless experience across channels.


Your CX partner is nothing if not an expert in employee management. Tap into that wealth of knowledge to help facilitate customer-centric cultures, streamline operations, and reduce attrition by sourcing, managing, and training top talent.

As a prerequisite, you will need to ensure strong cultural alignment between your company and your CX provider. The more that a company’s stated values match with its real culture on the ground, the higher the team member engagement and the lower employee attrition. Long-tenured, experienced, and engaged employees serve as exceptional brand ambassadors for your company, delivering better customer outcomes and leading to stronger business results.

Co-Innovation Case Study: iLabs Center for Innovation

iLabs is TELUS International’s formal R&D initiative focused on redefining the ways in which humans and technology interact. Working alongside our clients, we leverage a wide array of leading-edge technologies, including augmented intelligence, big data and analytics, cloud computing, blockchain, and more to create disruptive CX solutions.

Recently, our iLabs team helped one of the largest U.S. broadcasting and cable service providers upgrade their ordering solution. Their initial progress was hampered by the complex order flows that lacked basic functionalities like upgrades, porting, back-end system integration, and the onboarding of new affiliates and partners.

Our teams worked collaboratively to develop an end-to-end solution that featured a unified user experience for both contact center employees and in-store sales representatives, as well as a flexible interface framework that could be integrated with third-party systems. As a result of this co-innovation partnership, the client’s sales conversion rates increased by approximately 15% and order completion rate increased by an impressive 7%.


Fast-growing companies need to be agile and smart with their time and resources. An experienced outsourcing partner will be able to ramp up your operations by leveraging their global footprint, along with the tools and expertise to forecast and meet demand. What’s more, if you are planning to enter new markets, an outsourcing partner can set you up for success with a multilingual, follow-the-sun model of support, ensuring help is available to your customers whenever and wherever they need it.


With a wide range of intelligent automation solutions at their disposal, a CX partner can help find extra efficiencies — a benefit that shouldn’t be overlooked in a challenging economic environment. Many businesses who have acted upon the automation opportunity have seen exponential year-over-year cost savings.

The goal, however, should not be to introduce tech for tech’s sake, but rather to work with your trusted outsourcing partner to discern how AI and automation can make things faster, easier, and better for your customers and team members alike. Robotic process automation
(RPA), for example, is an application that is commonly deployed to free up time for your CX teams by handling repetitive tasks with consistent results, around the clock and at scale. Teams that deploy RPA solutions can then tackle more fulfilling assignments that bring out their strengths and keep them engaged.


Analyst firm IDC found that nearly half of buyers (47%) named “customer experience benchmarking and best practices” as an essential capability when it comes to CX providers, and rightfully so. When seeking a new partner, do not forget about intangibles like broader industry experience. A top-tier CX partner will have earned experience in your industry and in others, too; the idea that makes a big impact for your business may come from an unexpected industry or source. And if your business is fortunate or new enough to have never experienced challenging times before, you can lean on the knowledge of a provider who has.

Embrace Change and Initiate Opportunity

Winds change, as do the forces that act on every business. Success comes to those who do not wish them away, but to those who adapt. You know that change is in the air. You must change with it. Harness those winds and propel your business forward with a CX partner that brings scale, technology, and expertise to help you deliver the optimal customer experience.


Pete Tapley
Vice President, Customer Experience Innovation

About the Author:

Pete Tapley is a seasoned outsourcing professional leading sales across TELUS International’s global industries group. Driving digital CX innovation, Pete and his team partner with companies looking to transform and create disruptions in their industries via customer experience, trust and safety, digital IT, and/or artificial intelligence solutions.

TELUS International is a leading customer experience innovator that designs, builds, and delivers next-gen digital solutions.

Learn more at telusinternational.com

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