Choosing an outsourcing provider offers benefits to many businesses when done right. With outsourcing, you can focus on your core activities and delegate the non-core ones to the provider. This way, you can free up not only your time but also your resources. It is a cost-saving measure as you do not have to worry about usual expenses like salaries, benefits, and utilities.
Finding the right outsourcing provider can be notoriously confusing. Given the plethora of outsourcing companies to choose from, it is vital for your company to find the right outsourcing partner to minimize risks and potential costs. When learning how to choose an outsourcing provider, there are some questions you need to ask in order to find the right provider.
- What Is Their Track Record In The Industry?
- Can You Speak To Their Former Clients?
- Do They Have A Portfolio of Work?
- What Is The Level of Quality They Can Offer?
- How Much Are Their Fees?
- Do They Have A Contract?
- What Hardware or Software Are They Using?
- Is Their Company Culture Aligned With Yours?
- Does Their Team Have The Expertise In Your Area?
- Can They Be Flexible To Suit Your Business Needs?
Let’s get on with it.
1. What Is Their Track Record In The Industry?
Knowing the track record of your potential partner is very important. Long term success is one of the criteria you should be looking for when choosing an outsourcing provider. If the company you have in mind has been in the business for 20 years and has never been driven out of business, it means they have been successful with their clients and will be successful with you as well. It is a sign of their experience with handling different types of clients.
In any industry, nothing can replace experience and this holds true for the outsourcing industry. Working with a company with a good track record will give you peace of mind knowing that the project you will outsource will be in good hands. Their track record will speak for them that they can be counted on to effectively handle the project you gave them.
Eventually, you can build on that track record in developing the trust that is necessary for you to proceed with the partnership. You can always check important details about the company to determine their expertise and track record in the industry.
2. Can You Speak To Their Former Clients?
Speaking to previous clients will give you an idea of how the provider works. Ask them for detailed and honest feedback about the provider’s strengths and weaknesses. Find out if they faced any problem working with the outsourcing firm and if so, how was it resolved. Check their satisfaction level. How pleased were they with the quality of service and management skills of the provider?
Look out for churn rate on their previous clients. If they don’t have a solid reputation for customer satisfaction, chances are they will fall short of your expectations as well. The testimonials from their previous clients will provide proof of how they work. You need to be confident that the provider will be able to fulfil their obligation to you in case you choose them as your partner.
The experience of their former clients is an indication of their trustworthiness. Look to partner with an outsourcing provider that delivers the best solutions. If you had earned the trust of your customers, in the same way you would want your partner to have the same level of trust from you.
3. Do They Have A Portfolio of Work?
One of the best ways you can gauge the quality of service of your potential partner is through their portfolio of work. When screening a candidate provider, ask for samples of work done by the provider. This will help you make a realistic assessment of their quality standard. It will help you confirm their potential and knowledge of the industry.
By looking at their portfolio of work, you will be able to see the kind of service the provider has rendered over the years. What types of clients have they handled? Don’t just look at the quantity but the nature of their experience as well. Many outsourcing providers will use the number of clients they have handled as a selling point but you shouldn’t be deceived and look for the quality instead.
Lastly, you should take a look at how they were able to treat their customers. You can check customer testimonials on their company website. How were they able to add value to their clients through their work? This way, you will be able to know what you can expect from the provider.
4. What Is The Level of Quality They Can Offer?
Ensuring quality from the outsourcing company should be one of your top priorities. It’s easy for the quality to become lost during the entire hiring process. As a business owner, you want to ensure that you will be working with a quality partner. Most outsourcing providers will claim that they are the “best” in their field but how do you know that?
When outsourcing, the level of quality can become a cost for worry in a variety of ways. To ensure quality, make sure that you set expectations upfront. At the first meeting, you need to tell them what you want to achieve and ask them if they can deliver results. If you want quality, don’t rush the hiring process. At the onset, set the bar high and see if your target provider can meet or exceed the level you set.
When searching for an outsourcing partner, take your time in screening the candidates. You want to hire someone whom you are confident can deliver the job. Don’t settle for a candidate you are not comfortable working with to save you time and effort. If you think the candidate you have in mind isn’t fit for the job, you can always go back to the drawing board and find another potential partner.
5. How Much Are Their Fees?
According to Deloitte, 70% of businesses say they outsource for cost reduction. By outsourcing, you can save on the costs you will pay when hiring a full-time employee. Aside from that, the outsourcing provider will shoulder all other fees like utilities, medical, rental space, training, and others. Outsourced freelancers will usually charge an hourly rate for the work they will do.
With outsourcing, you just pay for what you need. Whether it’s just one function or a hundred, hiring an outsourcing firm will deliver savings for your company. Also, it will help improve your efficiency and profitability. If you are just starting out with outsourcing, you can try out a few functions first and then gradually expand depending on your need.
When searching for an outsourcing provider, you should make sure that the fees they are offering match your outsourcing budget. Also, ensure that they declare their fees upfront. If they can’t, it is a virtual red flag that you should be aware of. Always check the terms and conditions before affixing your signature on the contract.
6. Do They Have A Contract?
An outsourcing contract protects both you and the provider from any unfavorable situation that may arise during the partnership. While you may already have an agreement with the outsourcing provider about your expectations from them, it is important that you put it into writing. The contract will not only contain work expectations but also the scope of work, quality parameters, timeline, pricing, and others.
There are legal issues that may arise from the partnership and this should be stipulated in the contract. Examples of issues that should be documented include the following:
- Required deliverables
- Scope of work
- Service Level Agreement (SLAs)
- Work Schedules
The contract should indicate the responsibilities of both parties and what they can expect from the deal. It should identify the specific and precise task descriptions that will serve as the primary reference for the two parties. As the contract may involve legal procedures, make sure that you consult legal experts.
7. What Hardware or Software Are They Using?
Another important factor you should look at when looking for an outsourcing provider is technology. What platforms are they using? Is their equipment up to date and functioning smoothly to effectively execute the service or the product? Today’s new breed of customers are more tech-savvy than ever and they demand the same from businesses.
Your company may not have the right equipment and technology to keep up with the demands of your customers. For this reason, it is important to make sure that the outsourcing provider you want to partner with has the hardware and software to help you deliver better customer service.
Check if the provider is well-versed with the hardware and software they are using. Make sure that the provider adheres to exceptional standards in these platforms as it could help you make an informed decision whether or not to do business with the provider.
8. Is Their Company Culture Aligned With Yours?
When choosing an outsourcing provider, it is important that their company culture is aligned with yours. Any partnership would not work if the company culture of the business partners is not aligned with each other. The outsourcing firm will serve as an extension of your company so it is important that you have to be on the same page with your provider for the partnership to work.
As your business partner, the provider should share your values, understand what motivates you, and should share your values and business goals. When selecting an outsourcing firm, do research about their company culture.
Culture defines your team and your business approach. For this reason, it is important for the outsourcing provider to be aligned with your culture. Company culture encompasses the way you interact with your customer, their goals, and how they communicate with each other. Compatibility of cultures is important for building a strong partnership.
9. Does Their Team Have Expertise In Your Area?
When looking for an outsourcing partner, you need to establish their industry experience. How do you do it? You can ask the candidate how many projects they have completed and how intensive they are. Make sure that the members of the team also have the qualifications and expertise in the kind of project they will do for you.
Next, assess their experience in handling project management and quality control. What are their methods in resolving issues? This will help you understand how they will handle your project. It is best if your outsourcing partner has accreditation in areas like project management and quality control.
While the outsourced team will still need to undergo some training and onboarding. Teams who are lacking will have a longer time to adjust and will prolong the necessary processes, slowing down your company’s progress.
10. Can They Be Flexible To Suit Your Business Needs?
Somewhere during your project, your requirements may change. For this reason, you want your potential partner to be flexible with your outsourcing needs. For example, if you need additional manpower for a new department, will they have a ready team to onboard and train quickly? Make sure that your outsourcing partner can adapt to any changes in your business.
Also, there might be a shift in your company goal due to new programs or protocols, you want to make sure that the outsourced team can be trained for an easy transition. Having the flexibility to your business needs can contribute to the success of your business goals. Partnering with a flexible provider can help ensure a smooth and continuous business process.
A flexible outsourcing provider will help ensure that your preferred processes and systems will enhance your business operations instead of slowing it down. To make the partnership work, both you and your partner should be open to suggestions from each other. This will allow you to achieve the best results possible from the partnership.
Finding the right outsourcing partner can be a daunting task but it does not have to be. Finding answers to these questions can help make your choice less stressful.
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