What do outsourcing relationships need in order to survive? Practically, both parties need to allot sufficient funding on the outsourcing endeavors—the client investing money to keep the vendor’s operations going and keep the resources (manpower, skills, facilities) in top shape. In return, the investor reaps bigger profits and stronger customer ties, thanks to the vendor’s services.
While money undoubtedly plays a crucial role in keeping a business process outsourcing (BPO) contract alive, it doesn t solely fuel the business relationship. There are other elements that clients and vendors must develop together in order to keep the outsourcing deal from failing.
Define and align goals
This is a fundamental step in any undertaking, whether business-related or otherwise. In the outsourcing world, however, defining goals requires more than just knowing what result others expect you to put out there. Since outsourcing relationships are multi-faceted, each component must be clear about its collective and personal objectives.
Everyone involved should know what the ultimate goal is. Is it higher sales? Is it excellent customer service? Once this main objective is determined, each role must have smaller, individual goals that will lead to the biggest target if put together, aligned, and achieved individually. In a telemarketing campaign, for example, the agents’ goal is to get people to buy the marketed goods, while the leaders strategize, train, or monitor the selling activities. There are other roles whose goals are to find leads, produce marketing materials, or keep technologies up to date. By knowing how their goals affect others and accomplishing these on their level, everyone reaches the main aim, which is to boost profits from sales.
Determine possible mistakes and threats
This is another fundamental step that should be dissected and dealt with on different levels. Mistakes could come from the outsourcing client, the service provider, or the agents, so each player must know what errors they could commit on their part in order to avoid making these.
The clients and the high management must work together in educating each other about detrimental practices and outsourcing misconceptions to be properly guided in their decision-making and management setting. These leaders must also employ an error reduction plan to minimize agent mistakes and use past blunders as basis for improvement.
Unexpected events, particularly disasters, must be given ample attention as well. Disasters can threaten equipment, people, and even intangible assets like databases. In call centers, these could come in the form of data theft, poor connectivity, or staff unavailability due to weather conditions. Know what could possibly threaten your remote office to be able to come up with business continuity and disaster recovery plans that will keep operations unhampered should something untoward strikes.
Establish a communication approach
Active and positive communication is key to a successful business relationship, especially in an outsourcing deal where it s normal for parties to come from different backgrounds and cultures.
The clients must establish a communication channel to use when contacting high management and the smallest outsourced staff. Scheduled calls and interactive conferences are good since these allow agents to anticipate and outline the messages as well as let them relay their concerns on the spot. Stationing a liaison officer could also work well, depending on the management setting agreed upon.
What’s more important, however, is that you and your provider understand each other’s lingual or cultural differences and time or location constraints to be able to work out a plan to stop these from hindering effective communication.
Once a good communication approach is establish, it s now easier to identify threats, but most importantly, it gives everyone a clear idea on what role to carry out.