How To Select An Outsourced Service Provider
A great way to increase productivity with your IT department is to outsource routine tech support calls that come in from customers and employees and pull your high-level IT professionals off task.
Outsourcing can save your company thousands of dollars a year, increase response time for customers, and keep you ahead of your competitors. You may think: Sign me up! This sounds like a smart move to make.
Before you pull the trigger, there are some key things your management team needs to address. Proper planning, preparation, and execution are needed to reach your desired goals.
Here are the top five tips to consider before hiring an outsource company.
- It’s time to get specific. What are your goals for outsourcing? Toss out all of your vague ideas about “improving customer service” and really define what your company wants to accomplish.
Outsourcing is a business strategy that needs to be given the same rigorous planning as developing a new product line or expanding your market share into another region. Make sure you include your existing IT team into these conversations, since they are familiar with customer/tech support needs.
- Choosing the right outsource partner. Once the management and IT departments have developed their goals, it’s time to find an outsourcing company. Look for stability, a proven track record, case studies and client references. Document clear goals and expectations.
Make sure you do your due diligence and contact each of those references. Asking tough questions to a prospective company will lead to a highly productive relationship. Consider the size of the outsource company. Big is not necessarily best! A smaller, but stable, outsource company may provide a better personal level of service and be more flexible in accommodating your unique needs.
- Details, details, details! Once you’ve selected an outsource partner, there will be a contract to sign. It’s critical that you understand the contract and have your legal counsel review it. You’ll want to be sure that there are solid non-disclosure agreements in place and any intellectual property rights are secure. Negotiate to get the agreement that makes the most sense for your company.
- Ramp up your communication skills. Getting a remote team up to speed on your company, customers, software requirements, product lines and all the other myriad of details requires superb communication. Thoroughly document your procedures and communicate expectations clearly. Working with an outsource partner located in the U.S., greatly reduces the potential for misunderstandings based on language.
- Time zones. Make sure you have tech support coverage when you need it. Consider time zone differences. For example: if your company is located on the East Coast but your outsource company is in California, you’ll have to wait until at least 11:00 am ET to talk to someone.
Outsourcing can ramp up your company’s productivity and save money. Choosing the right outsource partner needs to be done with careful consideration. If you take time to research and develop each of the steps outlined above, you’ll reap the rewards.