Interactions at the Boundaries of Organizations

One of the challenges of Business Process Outsourcing is that although the outsourcer often provides services which touch the client organisations end-users, they are one step removed from those end-users by the contracting and reporting relationship between them and their client.

The client-outsourcer relationship is defined by the SLA, which almost invariably consists of a combination of easily quantifiable measures of service transactions that are often only tangentially related to a good service end-user experience. This particular characteristic of the BPO relationship can become an impediment to designing disruptive technology, which is unlikely to succeed if it does not make the perspective of the service

Video: Agent Performance Indicator

end-users a central concern.

 Whilst cost reduction is important, it should not be at the expense of service end-user or those services are likely to fail. In other words, if the focus is on satisfying clients on a cost basis while not truly trying to understand whether a end-user experience is being delivered, there is a substantial risk that the BPO provider actually undermines their business. Moreover, increasingly, organizations interact with their service end-users through a wide variety of media and modalities. 
 It is beyond doubt that these different modalities have offered organizations a great opportunity to deliver new kinds of services, while at the same time achieving a substantial reduction in operational costs.  However, many organizations have adapted to these new communication technologies only slowly and typically have created different departments to handle different modalities of customer interactions. 
As a consequence, these different modalities are rarely integrated into a holistic customer experience.

With our research we look at building a successful all-encompassing service to the end user, which is a challenge that requires a new approach to user research that combines ethnography, data analytics, and design evaluation.