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SYKES Business Process Outsourcing Glossary

Looking to learn a little more about what we do? We've compiled a comprehensive list of common BPO terms and definitions so you can stay in the know.


Outsourcing is the process in which an organization recruits a third-party provider to perform functions otherwise handled by its internal staff. When an outsourcing partnership is formed, the third-party hires, pays, and oversees the employees providing the service (often customer service or product manufacturing), and the client is billed for the outsourced work. While outsourced agents and back office support employees are managed by the third-party vendor, the tasks, operations, and/or services are performed on behalf of and under the name of the partner.

When organizations set out to expand or scale their current business, reduce costs, or become more competitive (without losing focus), they turn to outsourcing suppliers to handle tasks outside their in-house core competencies for a number of reasons:

  • They are experts in specific industries and possess innovative capabilities to keep up with industry trends and emerging technologies.
  • They design and manage tools that reduce inefficiences and costs both for the supplier and the partner.
  • They can tap into a global marketplace, meaning the client is unbound by languages, time zones, or other geographical or cultural barriers.
  • They are flexible, allowing them to adapt quickly to changing industry landscapes while ensuring they stay committed to the client’s success.

SYKES is a global outsourcing leader, with 55,000+ employees in more than 20 countries, trusted by some of the most recognizable names in the communications, financial services, technology, healthcare, travel, and retail sectors to perform their core competencies with expert delivery. Our end-to-end service platform engages customers at every stage of their journey, beginning with digital marketing and acquisition and leading to customer and technical support, up-sell/cross-sell, and retention.

When it comes to outsourcing in the 21st century, brand engagement and digital services capabilities are paramount. And when companies pivot on the fly, outsourcers must be able to pivot with them. SYKES is able to do both. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and the experience our brand partners trust, outsourcing is not simply a delegation of organizational work, but an extension of the organization itself.