Two decades ago, outsourcing was perceived as an ethically fraught business strategy that could cause more harm than good. But these days, the practice of relegating certain activities and processes to skilled offshore workers can help business owners improve their service proposition while focusing on growth.
Although outsourcing can create major advantages for small businesses, it’s critical to have the right controls in place.
Here are three tips for developing a stellar outsourcing strategy while keeping your customer relationships intact.
Find the right suppliers
Like any recruitment process, finding an offshore provider who can deliver on your requirements calls for equal parts research, due diligence and care. Start by asking for recommendations from within your own network as well as on social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
Once you’ve identified a suitable prospect, make sure you source client testimonials and check references before you sign on the dotted line.
If you apply the same criteria to your offshore hires as you would to traditional candidates, you’ll set the stage for stronger working relationships.
Communicate expectations clearly
When you’re outsourcing, it’s important to clarify your expectations upfront, as well as your performance metrics.
Do you want your customer data to be processed quickly and accurately or are you more concerned with exemplary customer service than you are with speed? Make sure you communicate your expectations in writing, and schedule regular Skype meetings to check in on progress while accounting for the fact that dealing with language or cultural differences can mean going the extra mile.
Although it’s important to assume that your offshore hires won’t automatically understand what you’re trying to achieve, building respect and trust is also paramount.
The Australian outsourcing sector is set to be valued at $2 billion by the end of 2015.
Use time zones to your advantage
In February 2015, IBISWorld reported that the Australian outsourcing sector is set to be valued at $2 billion by the end of 2015. And although the cost benefits of outsourcing are well documented, there’s less emphasis on how working with professionals in another time zone can work magic for your business goals.
Organising your workflow so that your offshore hires can complete key tasks once you’re done for the day can help you maximise productivity and provide a higher standard of customer care. It’s also vital to factor in potential clashes when it comes to meeting deadlines.
There’s no denying that outsourcing can grow your profit margins and help your business evolve. However, putting the right measures in place is key to outsourcing success. How do you go about working with your offsite providers?
Neha Kale is a freelance writer and editor who covers business, technology, arts and culture for publications in Australia and overseas.