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Finding Customers for a BPO Startup

Altaf Khan

© Altaf Khan 2005-2006

Finding customers for the services of a new outsourcing business is difficult - doubly so if all of them are situated thousands of miles away. The process of identifying those customers and then getting business from them requires a lots of preparation and patience. Here you will find strategies that can improve your chances of finding (and retaining) high-value clients.
Finding offshore customers for a BPO startup is a difficult proposition. The real challenge, however, is delivering and meeting the expectations of those customers!

First things first - how to go about finding customers? The question that you need to ask yourself is why some company should outsource work to you? You should have answers ready to at least the following questions:
  • Can you give guaranteed service levels in the contract?
  • Do you have a proven track record in outsourcing? Show them your customer list and testimonials. As a startup, you may not have such testimonials. In that case, you should highlight the outsourcing-related experience of your startup team.
  • Which BPO sector do you specialize in? Customers prefer specialists over generalists.

You will not be able to entice steady, well-paying clients unless you have satisfactory responses to these basic questions.

Before you make a pitch to your prospective customer, try to understand how their business works and be ready to tell them the following:
  • How can they make more money or save more money or get more business or enhance the quality of their service or improve their product by outsourcing to you?
  • What processes do you have in place to assure the quality of your services? Express your commitment to things like COPC and/or Six Sigma and/or even ISO9000.
  • How are you going to manage their overall risk of outsourcing?

Here are a few more suggestions:
  • Always offer free-of-cost trial-runs of your services to prospective customers
  • Instead of comparing Pakistan with other outsourcing destinations, talk about Pakistan’s strengths and explain how you are going to manage the drawbacks/risks.
  • Get in touch with Pakistani expats and other personal contacts situated in foreign countries.
  • Register your company with PSEB, PASHA, and Web sites like, and
  • Write to offshore companies in India, Philippines and other popular BPO destinations and see if they would like to develop a partnership with you.


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BPO from Pakistan:
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Why Pakistan?

2nd Fastest GDP Growth

The economy grew 8.4% during the year ending June 2005. This growth is second only to China's 9.5%.

FDI Growth

Foreign direct investment grew by 34% in the telecom sector, 18% in financial services, and 14% in oil & gas during 2004-05.

Ease of Doing Business

World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index ranked Pakistan 60th and India 116th among 155 countries. On Ease of Starting A Business, Pakistan stood 38th and India 90th.

High-Quality HR

A large number of CSR's in call centers possess college degrees.

Low-Cost HR

Companies here enjoy a wage-advantage of around 30% over India. The turn-over rates in call centers are less that half of those in India.

Attractive Infrastructure

Technology parks in major cities provide subsidized infrastructure and international connectivity.

Supportive Policies

Foreign investors are allowed 100% ownership of equity in IT/ITeS companies along with 33% annual depreciation of equipment and 100% repatriation of earnings.

Neutral Accents

Accent neutralization for local speakers of English is substantially easier than all other Asian outsourcing destinations.

Western Experience

Executives at local BPO firms often have worked and received their degrees from universities in the US, which is Pakistan's largest export market.
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