How to Avoid Outsourcing Disaster

Outsourcing done correctly can be a boon to your business. You’ll benefit from cost reductions! Having a highly trained team on tap to handle your company’s support needs makes a huge difference.

You will also have the ability to scale up (or down) as needed, reducing the load off your internal staff allowing them to focus on their core competencies and increasing their efficiencies. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

But there’s a flip side to outsourcing; and if you aren’t prepared, it could lead to disaster. When clients are unhappy, your company stands to lose thousands of dollars in revenue, and your credibility could be damaged. If the outsource partner is not performing well, clients will let you know.

To avoid common missteps that can lead to costly problems, follow these five tips:

  1. Do your research: After you have identified your company goals, narrow your search to three or four companies and compare services offered, fee structures, and their culture to make sure it’s a good fit. Focus on value provided, not who is the cheapest provider.
  2. Include your internal staff: Outsourcing takes a load off your staff, but also presents challenges. Your internal staff needs to be involved and must understand how to collaborate with external contractors.
  3. Communications: Failure to communicate clearly is a recipe for disaster. Electronic communications are fast and easy, but a text message with an emoji will not relay the same message as a well-written email or phone call. It’s critical to put a communications system in place, and make sure your team – both internally and remotely – are following the same guidelines for effective communications. Hold regular meetings and include key players. Use video conferencing so you can attach a face to a name. Provide a summary of all discussions and meetings by email to provide clarity.
  4. Manage the KPI’s: Be sure to measure the work being done. If not, you won’t see the results you want. Discuss the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) upfront and have a way to track those metrics. Remain hands-on to train the outsource team thoroughly on expectations, KPI’s, and how you want the work to be done. It’s equally important to be open to the outsource team’s ideas and expertise.
  5. Grow your relationships: Each time the outsource team answers a support question, they represent your company. So, take the time needed to get acquainted with the people on their team, and don’t focus solely on the role they fill. Building relationships remotely is no different than in person: ask about their families, their dreams, their pets or their latest vacation. Show you care and you will build loyalty.

By following these tips and incorporating them into your plan to outsource, you’ll avoid many of the common pitfalls and potential disaster!

Micah Laughlin

Micah Laughlin is the founder of Canvas IT and a leader in technology management services, supporting organizations of all sizes and helping them to thrive in spite of IT challenges and organizational changes. His first-hand experience with Service Desk Outsourcing companies led him to create a better way of doing IT outsourcing, the way he’d want it done. Today his philosophy carries on at Canvas IT as he creates a custom solution for each client just the way they’d want it done. Micah’s service desk management philosophy has supported dozens of growing businesses, adding value to the IT services they provide. Prior to founding Canvas IT, Micah spent more than 24 years managing IT operations – with 18 spent balancing the need for open, flexible systems with the restrictions of the highly-regulated healthcare industry.

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