The foundation of outsourcing lies in compatibility between a BPO company and a client.
How would any relationship work if there is no compatibility between parties? Should we even mention how easily a whole partnership or even results could collapse because you choose the wrong collaborator?
Trust, respect, and understanding are a must when you have a business partner. So the question is, how to determine did you find a perfect fit for your company - the one that will not just scale your business but the one that you are compatible with?
Such a complex topic, so let’s get into it.
Steps to Determine Compatibility With a BPO Company
There are a lot (like really a lot) of questions you should ask yourself and your future outsourcing company if you’re planning on taking it to the next level. There is no room for unexpected random mistakes.
Everything you can prevent, prevent now.
Define Business Objectives And Requirements For Outsourcing
“Oh, well I wanna scale my business.” Nope, not enough.
Start by defining the core problem. What is something that is bothering you for a while that you are sure you can’t solve in-house? Is it something that outsourcing can potentially help you with? If yes, you’re already on a good path.
Now, how do you think you can solve that problem? Write down a step-by-step guide on how outsourcing could help you with this problem.
Of course, if you’re not sure how you could do it, you can always consult with your BPO provider. But the thing is, you are the only person that knows everything about your company.
This way you will know what you need, what to expect and what’s the priority. The more specific you are, the higher the chance of finding the right BPO partner.
Research And Identify Potential BPO Provider
We know it’s easier, but don’t just click on the first Google search result. Put a bit of effort into the process. You might wanna avoid the potential drawbacks of outsourcing - and choosing the right BPO vendor is a good way to start with it.
While searching for an ideal BPO provider, keep in mind this core problem you come up with. Imagine having an interview with an actual employee. You would prepare every question for every potential situation ‘cause you want to be sure they are the ones. Do the same for your future outsourcing company.
Don’t rely just on Google. You can ask your colleagues and other external collaborators if they know any outsourcing company that could be a good fit for your business. After all, word of mouth is still the most effective type of marketing.
Try to learn more about their qualities. This involves evaluating the provider's performance history, level of technical proficiency and capacity for providing high-quality services.
Evaluate Outsourcing Provider's Portfolio
After you make a list of all companies that seem okay, you need to keep digging a bit deeper. Their portfolio (especially Case Studies) is the number one thing you might want to go through - project by project.
Pretend like you’re checking a CV or portfolio of your potential employee.
- Did they assist some other businesses from your field or niche?
- For how long are they ‘in the game’?
- What do clients say about them?
- What is their reputation?
- What type of workflow do you need and what type can they provide?
- Can you see yourself working with them?
Don’t take these questions too literally. You need to ask what is relevant to your case.
Determining Cultural Compatibility with Your BPO company
Everything that is not directly related to the outsourcing service is part of the cultural compatibility. From a geographic perspective to simply creating a workflow, everything matters and everything is individual. For example, some companies prefer working with collaborators from the same time zone, while others prefer getting up in the morning and seeing an empty to-do list.
Communication and communication platforms are other things you should determine in advance. Do you need someone that you can just text, or do you, for instance, need daily meetings and video calls?
The best-proven strategy from our past is the omnichannel approach. That means you should be in touch with your partner via email, text, phone, etc. Establish what is your communication routine and implement that way of thinking into the collaboration. Sometimes this includes project management systems, so try to balance that as well.
Determine Financial Agreements
Let’s be honest here - everything we do in business, we do for money and our own good. So why would we hide anything?
And don’t be honest just to yourself, be honest to your BPO provider. It’s okay to have a limited budget or a goal to spend less money on the workforce (or if you just want to save money). At this point, there’s a big chance you already have in mind how much you are ready to spend, depending on your expectation.
Take a look at the pricing structure, payment periods and degree of financial transparency of your outsourcing company. So, right after you set an upper line for the labor cost, check what exactly you will get for that price.
The pricing structure should be transparent and comprehensive, and you should make sure you are aware of all the associated expenses, including setup fees, maintenance costs, and any other fees.
The best way to set an agreement is to determine right away how much you can invest. In most cases, outsourcing companies will be honest with you and give you the best offer depending on your price.
Legal and Regulatory Requirements
Every state has a different law, every country has different laws, and even every company has its own legal policy. The point is, it’s unnecessary to write paragraphs and paragraphs about it.
Is this something you need to check before setting an agreement? Absolutely yes. But you need to do it with them and not just by yourself researching the internet.
Best practices for Outsourcing
We covered a step-by-step guide. Now, we will give you a few tips and tricks you should know before outsourcing the workforce.
#1 Have a Clear Governance Model in Place
A governance model is a structure that defines the roles, duties, and decision-making processes for the outsourcing project. In short, when you decide what you want to do, decide how you would do it.
A quick tip you can follow is to make an effective outline of the workflow when starting a new project. Depending on the nature of the project and the client's needs, this may involve agile or waterfall approaches.
#2 Build a Strong Relationship with BPO Vendor
Building a strong partnership with your outsourcing collaborator is like building a romantic relationship - you don’t want any secrets between you two, right? Having a strong relationship can result in better communication, more trust, and better work performance.
How to do it?
- Establish communication channels
- Create a healthy, collaborative environment
- Talk about your goals, weaknesses and problems
#3 Maintain transparency throughout the outsourcing process
You should be transparent about your business processes and workflows. Make sure to supply the essential information to the outsourcing provider. That’s the best-proven way to get quality service.
On the other hand, your outsourcing provider should be open about their capabilities, limitations, and any potential challenges that may develop. Transparency guarantees that both parties are informed about the project's progress, any developed issues, and how they are being resolved.
#4 Review and Monitor Vendor Performance
To monitor vendor performance, you can develop a set of performance metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) that are consistent with the goals and objectives of the outsourced project.
For example, if your specific goal was to increase customer experience on the website with some brand-new type of service you just outsourced, note metrics like the number of visits, number of new messages or customers, etc. How often should you check for this stuff, well it’s up to you.
#5 Don’t Review and Monitor Vendor Performance
“But you just said -”
Yes, we know. It may sound contradictory, but bear with us for a moment. One of the primary benefits of outsourcing is the time it frees up. After all, why enter into a partnership if you can't trust them at all?
Of course, it's essential to periodically assess their performance and ensure they're delivering as expected. However, striking a balance between oversight and trust is crucial.