Article : 8 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outsourcer
Author: Alan Graham, Mindpearl
Since outsourcing first became popular, locations such as the Philippines and India have dominated the market with possibilities of low rates and reduced operational costs. This focus on cost alone can come at a price: many businesses have had their contracts withdrawn as a result of a series of qualitative problems. This has provided the space for companies like Mindpearl, with a holistic offering, to move forward in the market. So what should you be looking for when choosing an outsourcer for your contact centre?
A good outsourcer will be open to a visit in person - regardless of the fact that this may involve several thousands of miles of air travel. This is always a worthwhile investment.
You must have heard this before: if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is!
The best contact centre outsourcers do not over-promise and do not mislead. They are absolutely competent about the services they provide. They should be crystal clear in their explanations of what happens when, for how much and why. Competence is really the key word in this business.
8 KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER:
2. Management team
3. Motivational factors
5. Right mix
8. Resilience, Continuity, Disaster recovery
The importance of experience cannot be overstated!
It is important that a contact centre outsourcer has experience and lots of it. Companies who are looking for an outsourcing partner should ask for references from other customers and investigate what similar types of work they support for other companies in the same industry.
Remember, whoever you choose, they will be in direct contact with the heart of your business—your customers!
When considering an outsourcer it is necessary to review the Management team you will be dealing with. There are two equally significant dynamics to consider: the strength of the management team and the organisational structure of their business.
A contact centre outsourcer needs to have a very strong Management team, since the strength of this team could mean the difference between successful assimilation and a poorly run project.
A solid Management team will be able to ensure low turnover, protect your brand by taking the time to work closely with you to understand your culture and vision and maintain open lines of communications.
What should you be looking for in their organisational structure? A Flat organisational structure is ideal.
A Flat organisational structure is where most middle-management levels in an organisation have been eliminated, thus bringing key stakeholders in direct contact with staff and customers. Flat organisations benefit from most of the advantages enjoyed by small companies, such as faster response time to changing conditions and customer preferences.
When it comes to outsourcing your contact centre, you want to know that whoever you are dealing with has their pulse on what’s happening in the frontline of their business and yours. You also want to know that they can respond quickly and with ease when the need arises. Have a closer look at the ‘red tape’ required to initiate a process or policy change within the outsourcer’s organisation. Have a look at who you will be required to deal with on a daily bases. This could save you from endless difficulties in the future.
In short, the experience and knowledge of a company’s Management team and access to key stakeholders is a critical consideration!
So, when choosing a contact centre outsourcer does it come down to price, location, quality, experience or service excellence?
It depends on the commercial drivers of your business, and it depends on your own tolerance and your markets’ tolerance for inconvenience and/or cultural misalignment. Clearly understand the key drivers influencing this decision and weigh it carefully.
Finding a balance between quality and price is the ideal, for long term sustainability.
Be realistic when it comes to outsourcing.
One size does not fit all – therefore it is almost always a combination of options and careful management of the perceived risks that delivers a correct, appropriate and balanced solution. Consider how flexible prospective outsourcers are? Ask for references! A client is more likely to give you an impartial picture.
A mixture is vital; in order to cater for the various drivers motivating or deterring clients from outsourcing and to ensure business continuity.
When looking at an outsourcer, consider whether they have enough sites, sufficient varied resources to embrace your brand, are they offering a value-adding proposition, and are they culturally aligned to your market – the options are endless.
Your motivational drivers for outsourcing your contact centre will determine the right mix for your business!
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Transparency in all dealings is of critical importance for you to gain confidence in your outsourcer. Do they involve you in the recruitment process? Do you have access to daily reports? These are just some of the questions you should be asking.
Communication plays the most crucial role in the success of any project, especially, when it involves outsourcing. A good outsourcer will have effective communication channels internally, as well as with all clients. Ask about their standard reports. Do they have client web portals?
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Resilience, Continuity, Disaster recovery
In our experience, when organisations choose to outsource projects (particularly offshore), they are naturally sensitive to any possible risks. The potential outsource provider is tasked therefore, not only with presenting an attractive commercial proposition, but more fundamentally with demonstrating to the client that their service is in safe hands. Natural disasters are often unpredicted or at best come with limited warning. Business continuity planning is a mandatory requirement when looking for a contact centre outsourcer. Ask for case studies! Nothing will put your mind more at ease than seeing how a potential outsourcer has dealt with major natural disasters in the past.
Contact centre outsourcing has become a major business trend globally to ensure sustainability. It is a great way to significantly cut your overhead, but do your research. Understand your drivers in wanting to outsource! Remember you are looking for a partner, not a supplier. Through working in partnership you ensure that your brand is always protected. This means price cannot be your only deciding factor. Experience, strength of the management team, access to key stakeholders, diversity, flexibility, transparency, business continuity and communication is key.
When you find this in a contact centre outsourcer the end result to the customer experience is an authentic and seamless contact with your brand!
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Mindpearl designs, implements and operates multi-channel contact centre solutions around the world.
Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
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