Outsourcing is so commonplace that it can be easy to assume it’s a simple way to succeed. After all, when so many businesses are outsourcing an increasingly diverse set of functions, surely it’s almost risk-free? Sadly, while outsourcing is a great success for most businesses, it does, sometimes, go wrong. However, approaching the decision the right way can help ensure the best outcomes.
One of the most important parts of the decision is selecting the outsourcing company to partner with. This can be a complex decision; like any business partnership, there are multiple factors that can affect the choice, from the terms of the contract to the personal relationship between key contacts. However, several factors will help to narrow the selection.
Despite the ease of global communication, geography might be one such factor. Choosing outsourcing in a convenient time zone does not just make contract management easier; it may also have an impact on quality. A call centre, for example, might struggle to attract the best staff for your project if they have to work the nightshift for it. India, for example, is well located for many European customers, with the time difference meaning the high-quality staff can be attracted for daytime and early evening shifts.
Even more important will be the company’s specialisms. The days of generalist outsourcing providers are over, and it pays to identify a partner that knows your sector. In some cases, for example, regulated businesses like finance, it might be essential since your outsourcing company will already know the legal requirements they have to meet. This might also have a geographical component since some regions are increasingly associated with particular specialisms.
Another factor is price. From the earliest days of outsourcing, price has been a key driver, with businesses taking advantage of low labour costs to start the modern industry in India. But chasing the lowest price is likely to increase the chances of failure. The majority of modern failures are a result of paying too little. The difficulty is that, when costs are too low, it becomes impossible to attract staff of sufficiently high quality. This results in difficulties like poor communication or errors in processing that inevitably impact business processes and profitability.
This is not to say that significant savings are not possible. Outsourcing to the Philippines, a popular customer services destination because of the exceptionally high level of English fluency, can still achieve savings of up to 50% without sacrificing quality.
Finally, having identified a good partner, it is important to think about the contract requirements. Of course, a high-quality outsourcing company will have the expertise to help with this, assisting in setting the parameters that can ensure high-quality service within a framework that delivers for both the client and its customers.
Outsourcing is a critical decision, and it’s crucial to get it right. But approached properly, the benefits can be enormous, realising significant savings and enhancements in service provision and customer satisfaction. As thousands of businesses — and their customers — have found, there’s no looking back when they get the outsourcing decision right.