As a business owner, there is never enough time during the day to get everything done. In between dealing with clients and working on business strategies, you are likely overworked and overwhelmed. This is where outsourcing comes in to save the day and help you deal with the stresses of office life.
If you are interested in using one of the many BPO companies (business process outsourcing companies), you are probably wondering how to choose one that best suits your needs. Below is some helpful advice on how to choose the best outsourcing partner to meet your requirements.
Define your goals
The first step to take when searching for BPO companies to meet your needs is to clearly define your goals. This means looking carefully at what you want the company to do for you in terms of work and what you want to get out of the business relationship.
If you have vague expectations like “increase our profits” or “create something that customers will love”, then the outsourcing company will not know what you want them to do. Your goals will need to be clear cut and achievable. For example, you could ask them to help with improving customer service by boosting your call centre abilities or you could ask them to improve your website with a software upgrade.
Check the company’s experience
Once you know what goals you want to achieve with the BPO companies, you will need to check their experience and reliability. You can do this by finding out the company’s number of projects executed, types of clients worked for and expertise for knowledge-intensive tasks.
It is important to interact with the team members who you will be working with so you know what their experience is and how they will handle working with your team. Think of this as a mini “interview”, but try not to micro-manage the team. Prepare questions relating to the tasks you will be assigning them and ask for references from previous clients so you know what to expect from the outsourcing company.
Inspect their access to communication, software and technology
Outsourcing has come a long way in the past few years. With the advancement of technology, software and infrastructure, it easier than ever to find reliable BPO companies who will not fall behind due to unstable technology.
You will need to ensure that the company you choose to work with has easy and reliable access to communication software such as emails or Skype, and that their phone lines and computers are up-to-date. If they do not have access to the correct communication, if their phone lines are constantly down and if their computers make a Commodore 64 look modern, then you might want to reconsider your choice.
Understand the contract
One of the most important steps to choosing an outsourcing company is to understand the contract before you sign anything. You should obtain legal advice in order to clearly identify who the intellectual property will belong to once the work is completed.
Generally, you will retain intellectual property once the contract is over, but you must be sure of this before signing. In the case of business process outsourcing, all the documents will belong to you. But if they are providing any IT support, customer service, or other “commoditised work” that is not unique to your business, then the ownership of these software tools will belong to them.
Look at financial stability
While this might not sound like the “right” thing to do, it is important to check the financial stability of the outsourcing company. This is because you will need to be sure that your partner has sufficient working capital to maintain their business and not leave you hanging if they need to close up shop.
If you are outsourcing a complete business function, such as business processes or data capturing, you will need to carefully assess the risk factor of the outsourcing company. You need to look at how reliable they will be with delivering their promises, and this reliability often depends on the financial health of a company.
Check for cultural compatibility
It is important that the outsourcing company understands your company’s culture and personality. This is especially true if you will be using BPO companies for call centre outsourcing, as they will be dealing with your customers on your behalf.
You will need to look at how the outsourcing employees interact with your own staff, how frequently they interact and if the outsourcing company prefers to work independently or collaborate. Checking for cultural compatibility will help you to choose a company that fits well with yours in order to diminish employee conflict.
Ensuring that the outsourcing company’s culture is similar to yours will give your customers a seamless experience and will make your administrative duties much easier. Once you have examined the BPO companies who you are interested in, you will find yourself with more free time to focus on what matters most: building your business.