Across industries, businesses turn to BPO service providers for two main reasons: To meet aggressive performance benchmarks and revenue goals, which, more often than not, require additional staffing volume and support through outsourcing customer service; and to keep internal teams lean, meaning they neither have the resources nor the proficiency to provide customer service that they require.
Addressing these needs through outsourcing and offshoring come with their own set of concerns, which are usually focused on how organizations can ensure that performance targets are hit efficiently—without compromising on the quality of service delivery.
Given these factors, there are three factors companies must look for when deciding on a BPO service provider, particularly if they are to go with offshore outsourcing for their customer and technology support services. Check these three off your list, and you can bet your bottom line that you’ll get a partner that will stay with you as you pursue your long-term growth goals.
1. Business Alignment. First, it’s critical for an offshore BPO and outsourcing partner to understand what a client’s business goals are, and how their partnership intends to meet those goals in both the short and long term. While performance benchmarks are certainly important for training and staffing, it’s also important to understand the client’s long-term business goals as an outsourcing partner, and how to add value to that long-term strategy. After all, there’s a difference between recruiting for a company whose focus is acquisition, versus a company whose focus may be retention, for example. Also key to this alignment process is a foundational understanding of your BPO service provider’s organizational chart -- who are your go-to resources when you need to have issues escalated? Who do you contact for day-to-day operations?
Once your campaign has kicked off, ensure that you consistently meet your business goals and benchmarks on an incremental level through an effective performance tracking system. To achieve this, have an open conversation with your outsourcing partner about the methodologies and technology support services that’s being used for project management, so that you’re able to gain visibility into the process without micromanaging the team -- after all, one of the main advantages of offshoring is having an outsourcing partner that can act as a self-sufficient and efficient entity with the ideal depth of interaction and involvement you want baked into the relationship.
2. Sourcing and Training the Right Talent. Easily one of the biggest challenges for most organizations is the cost and time associated with recruiting and hiring the appropriate people, and this is no different in outsourcing and offshoring, wherein the process of attracting and hiring the right talent is absolutely crucial—hence the importance of having the right cultural alignment. Moreover, to ensure that the hiring process is not reactive (resulting in poor matches and lost revenue) or inefficient (putting delivery at risk), it’s critical to have a shared and detailed understanding of the job requirements and skill sets of the individuals being recruited for the position. It’s also important to have a clearly organized database of people capturing this information, with a system of assessment -- for example, using tests and other competency-based programs to analyze whether a prospect is correct for the role in an objective way.
Having an appropriate hiring profile is also helpful in finding different sources and avenues for recruitment -- whether through physical locations like college campus recruitment and job fairs, or through online recruitment via advertising and social media campaigns.
Once hiring is done, apply these two critical components to successfully retain and grow your team: Develop the right training design methodology, followed by strategic training materials to support it.
Work with your BPO service provider partner to ensure that you’re leveraging your hiring profile to develop the right kind of training (physical, trainer-led or on-demand training) with guidelines that take advantage of your employee’s strengths. Another important thing to note is that you’re appropriately documenting internal processes so that onboarding is as streamlined as possible. Be aware of the way information is shared, and any knowledge that might be colloquial. Properly documenting training and other workflows helps mitigate any miscommunication and speeds up the on-ramp process.
3. Culture. This is arguably the most important factor when deciding on an offshore outsourcing partner, because without the proper cultural alignment, it will be difficult for your organization to establish your business goals and find the talent that suits your needs. Naturally, communication is the bedrock of this alignment process, and plays a critical role in establishing the correct hiring profile and maintaining the level of brand fidelity that the client and their customers expect. Crystal clear communication is critical for a successful implementation plan, and should be so from the get go.
Remember: culture is within the control of your outsourcing partner. When deciding on which BPO company is right for you, check in to see what they do to ensure that their teams are integrated with your own, as well as the measures they’re taking to help their teams stay motivated and committed to performance. Attrition is a huge concern for most outsourcing companies, and while unavoidable to a certain degree, it’s a good indicator of your outsourcing partner’s commitment to their employees to see what they do in order to mitigate it.
Ultimately, ask yourself: How does the outsourcing company you’re evaluating make sure their teams are feeling valued, challenged, and prepared for growth?