Outsourcing can help fast-growing companies remain lean and agile while providing them with cost-effective access to a global talent pool. But it will only work if you outsource the rights tasks, to the right partner, and then manage that relationship effectively. To make the most of your outsourcing investment:
#1: Outsource tasks not core to your business
This may sound like common sense, but it's still worth repeating. Core means any business process or task that is closely connected to the creation or delivery of the service or product you are responsible for. Here's a simple example: if you design t-shirts, don't outsource the design to a partner. Focus on making the best possible designs by outsourcing the billing, customer support and other activities that are necessary to run your business but that don't impact your actual product or service.
#2: Chose a partner with a corporate culture similar to your own
Similarity in corporate cultures is not just about getting along. It means you share values and understand one another beyond the scope of your SLA. If your partner does not understand your values it's quite likely they won't have the same priorities, concern or focus as an internal team would. They should. At TaskUs we're a firm believer that your outsourcing partner should act like an extension of your internal team, which means that when it comes to your brand and culture we need to "get it." Similar corporate cultures implies the ability to respect and care about the same things you do, which ultimately impacts quality, productivity and the health of the relationship. Keep in mind that your outsourcing partner's culture doesn't have to be identical to yours: it's equally valuable to have a partner who can absorb your culture and values as well as live them. At TaskUs, for example, we immerse employees in a client's brand before ever allowing them to work on the account. If a specialist doesn't demonstrate the ability to live up to both our values and our client's, they're not selected for that account.
#3: Spend time up-front with the outsourced team
Most companies that engage in outsourcing don't take an "out of sight, out of mind" approach, but it can be alluring to go that route. Don't. You shouldn't feel compelled to micromanage your outsourcing, but you should definitely work closely with your partner at the beginning to train them on your business and brand, the service you want them to provide and, quite simply, to get to know them. A good partner will be capable enough to take it from there, but the early stages of your outsourcing relationship should focus on building rapport, creating transparency and communicating goals and objectives clearly.
#4: Have a point person on your team in charge of managing the outsourcing relationship
Trust us: Putting one person in charge of managing the outsourcing relationship is not just a good idea, it's imperative. A lack of clear ownership can cause confusion, delays and generally defeat the purpose of outsourcing by turning the whole affair into a full-time job for your organization. Empower the point person to make the decisions they need by setting clear objectives.
#5: Set measurable goals for success and assess them regularly
We're big fans of setting clear, measurable goals with our clients but not every BPO is. It's also not uncommon to encounter companies that have no idea what they want to achieve with their outsourcing operation. Setting realistic and measurable goals will help your outsourcing partner deliver the value you need, and it will help you determine whether they are delivering the value your paying for as well!
#6: Lean on your outsourcing partner to help you optimize processes or innovate
Put simply: don't just treat your outsourcing partner like a vendor. It's not just about respect, it's about getting the most out of the relationship. The days of "lift and shift" outsourcing are coming to an end. These days your outsourcing partner can be a really powerful tool for strategic growth. Ask your outsourcing partner for help. Empower them to innovate. Every time TaskUs has been allowed to do so we have not only exceeded expectations, but also helped clients unlock hidden value. It leads to far better relationships and is, in our humble opinion, the way outsourcing should be done.
- Not sure if you're ready for outsourcing? Use our Outsourcing Readiness Checklist to find out if it's time.
- Find out how modern businesses are using outsourcing to scale effectively.
- Find out how you can avoid the pitfalls of growth using outsourcing.