Mergers and Acquisitions: Navigating your BPO Through a Pandemic

6 minute read, posted on 11/11/2021, by VXI Marketing

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have long been part of both the progress and survival of all multinational companies. Business entities have weathered several crises in modern times, such as the stock market crash of 1987 and the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, several corporations and multinational organizations that had endured previous financial catastrophes through experience were able to weather the situation, but a health crisis was an entirely different monster and no one had an instruction manual on how to survive it. For some entities, a merger or acquisition has taken a perennial backseat while they gave other significant and critical areas of their business a much-needed overhaul.

Nevertheless, 2020 has proven that no health crisis can stop certain M&A activities. The biggest deals in the US include the $30 billion acquisition of Willis Towers Watson by AON, US$21 billion acquisition of Maxim Integrated by Analog Devices, and US$21 billion acquisition of Speedway gas stations by Seven and I.

In the Business Process Outsourcing services (BPO) industry, business industries in the thick of the pandemic have adopted customer service solutions to enhance client relations and improve quality assurance. The rising cost of employment has driven businesses to seek cost-effective BPO and call center outsourcing provider solutions. An offshoot of this occurrence is the steady intensification of M&A activity this 2021.

Post-Pandemic Mergers and Acquisitions

THE spirit of the BPO industry might have faltered during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but the industry clearly showed heightened optimism about market growth and regulation the following year as call centers have demonstrated that it can withstand a potential financial catastrophe brought about by a health crisis.

On the other hand, site visits and face-to-face conferences have been rendered almost impossible by the COVID-19 pandemic. M&A levels in the United States fell by more than 50% in the first quarter to $253 billion compared to 2019, but most of those transactions were entered into or closed earlier in the quarter before the crisis spread worldwide.

According to a Capstone Partners study, mergers and acquisitions activity in the BPO & Contact Centers industry exhibited resilience through the pandemic with 27 deals announced or closed in 2020. This stability was largely due to an extremely active Q4, which accounted for 40% (11 deals) of 2020 transactions. M&A activity in 2021 to date surged, with transaction volume matching 2020 full-year levels (27 deals) as buyers’ appetite rose for sector-specific back-office functions. Of note, finance companies, insurance providers, and law firms constituted the greatest demand for specialized outsourced services due to the vast amount of sensitive, proprietary data collected.

Easing Transitions

Change is constant in all businesses, most especially in the BPO industry. Management conversions, shifting policies, and all sorts of crises can hit business entities at any time. Changes have to be made to adapt to the transformation and ensure that every single person in the company is on board, and nothing is as delicate and complex as managing a contact center through an acquisition. Here are some guidelines that can help you navigate your team and your company in the difficult—and sometimes dark waters of mergers and acquisitions.

Teamwork

Businesses do not stop when a merger or an acquisition is in place. Business changes and adjustments do not happen in customers’ eyes. Some customers could not care less about what is happening to your business, as long as they are getting the customer experience they expect from you and their money’s worth. That time-tested adage business as usual must apply here, and mergers and acquisitions should never affect the day-to-day operations of your business. While changes brought about by the M&A are in place, ensure that your employees are still performing their functions. Working with each other bring efficiency, allows individuals to learn and innovate faster, and can create a healthy environment for competition even amidst an M&A. Teamwork raises much-needed morale and send a message to everyone that we are all in this together.

Inventiveness

There might be times that certain areas of the business might be touched upon. Anticipate these occurrences and keep your employees trained about what to do while these are happening, suggest answers, and allow them to create solutions on their own. More often than not, strange occurrences brought about by mergers and acquisitions should be temporary and your operations should be back to normal. However, for permanent manifestations in your operations, train your agents on how to handle change and specific tasks that will complicate your operations. Coach your customer service representatives about difficult conversations with customers that will likely have questions about the M&A that’s currently happening.

Agility

Champion your team’s operations. Parties involved in the M&A will have their eyes fixed on your processes, metrics, and performance. Ensure that everyone is in tip-top shape and be certain that you can account for every improvement or dip in your team’s accomplishments. Be ready to show them what your team can bring to the table through dashboards and data. Also, in a show of transparency, demonstrate what your team can do in terms of improvement.

Integrity

Speaking of transparency, there is a difference between the information that you show to your potential clients AND your employees, but the integrity remains the same. Meet with your leaders and management first and discuss what is happening, who are the parties involved, when it’s going to happen, and how it will affect every single employee. Allow them to share their ideas and misgivings and ideas about the act, and be prepared to answer every single question. Collaborate with your frontline team next, and do the same thing. Ask them about their doubts and how they think they could affect their lives moving forward. Incorporate their ideas into the decision as much as you can. It’s important to connect with your most influential employees to do a temperature check on everyone every so often.

Excellence

The doubt that comes with an M&A coursing through a company can bring about pessimism and some (or most) of your employees may not be able to adapt to the changes. The chances of your company getting through the M&A unscathed may rely on your company’s culture. The values, ideals, attitudes, and goals that characterize your organization are the key to everyone’s success in this M&A. Having an excellent company culture heightens morale, decreases attrition, improves recruitment efforts, and increases productivity. Even you have to admit that these sound pretty good during mergers and acquisitions.

During drastic adjustments like an M&A, nobody gets left behind. Allow VXI to help guide you and your company during your difficult times. We are a customer experience company, passionate about designing solutions that augment our clients’ business processes to deliver higher revenue, greater profitability, and happier customers. Contact us and allow us to provide you with the VXI experience!

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