Latest News  

TELUS International Europe: Launching your first customer support outsourcing project? Avoid these eight pitfalls

When properly planned, outsourcing your customer support can bring a boost to your business. It can help expand operations, reduce costs and even improve customer relationships

2017-04-19 23:02:31





Grégoire Vigroux
Vice-President Marketing of TELUS International Europe

But transitioning from in-house to external, or adding new capabilities through outsourced services, requires extensive planning and clearly defined expectations.

Deloitte's 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey found that 78 percent of companies feel positively about their outsourcing contracts. However, it also identified eight common areas which can cause outsourcing partnerships to sour, and their benefits to deteriorate over time.

These common errors afflict large companies as much as they do start-ups. Here's how to avoid them.

1. Establish clear goals and guidelines


Like all relationships, a successful outsourcing partnership requires ongoing communication, and defining needs and expectations upfront is critical. "The first pitfall is not specifying what you want correctly," says Simon Tarsh, managing director of Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Companies should set clear expectations of the outsourcing contract, both internally and with the outsourcing partner from the get-go. These living documents of purpose can be a useful reference as the relationship progresses, helping determine where things have gone off-track or where the scope of work needs to change.

Stan J. Lepeak, global research director of management consulting at worldwide professional services and auditing firm KPMG, agrees. "When organizations undertake outsourcing efforts, they have a set of goals they'd like to achieve, but ensuring they have the governance in place to meet these goals is quite challenging," he says. "One often undertakes the effort with specific goals in mind, but after going through the lawyers' legal and other regulatory hurdles, six months later there's a bit of a disconnect between what you'd like to do and what has been agreed upon. "

2. Leave room to grow


One common cause of dissatisfaction in an outsourcing partnership is the outsourcing provider's inability to scale and keep up with changing needs of the company. This is especially true for start-ups growing at a rapid pace.

To help curb this dissatisfaction, Tarsh encourages companies to consider how their needs might change over time when selecting an outsourcing partner. "Many companies start with something small that they want to accomplish and they start with a small provider, but as they get bigger they realize that provider often doesn't have the scale to grow. Matching expectations is pretty important," Tarsh says.

By ensuring the outsourcing company has capabilities beyond your initial need, companies can avoid having to re-start the time consuming and costly sourcing process prematurely.

3. Reactive vs. proactive service


According to Deloitte, 46 percent of outsourcing providers wait to be told that improvements need to be made rather than making proactive suggestions. However, the very terms and conditions of an outsourcing agreement might inadvertently force providers into a reactive position, by being too limiting or overly focused on cost efficiencies.

True partnerships don't just happen. They need to be built and nurtured, with expectations established upfront. Lepeak suggests monitoring for proactive service throughout the outsourcing relationship."It's a full-time job to manage outsourcing, to ensure a periodic assessment of the progress. You can't go on autopilot for three to five years. There needs to be a living set of commitments and documents," he says.

4. Identify the provider's innovation strategy


One of the core expectations of outsourcing is that the new relationship will help the company stay ahead of competitors. This requires fostering innovation, but Deloitte reports that 33 percent of companies find that outsourcing partners lack the innovation to keep up with changing business needs.

Tarsh suggests spelling out the terms for innovation in the agreement. "For example, a trend in 2017 is towards robotic process innovation — replacing people doing transactional tasks with automated processes. That may reduce the revenue and profitability for the vendor," he says, creating an obvious conflict.

Instead of putting the outsourcing company in the awkward position of working against its own best interest, companies should build-in incentives which promote innovation. "That can be either more business, or the opportunity to charge differently, or sharing in the savings of innovation. The way in which they are incentivized must be clear in the contract," Tarsh says. Innovative initiatives should be collaborative, with clear governance on both sides, he adds.

5. Ensuring the outsourcing partner has a sound recruitment and retention strategy


The right people can make all the difference when it comes to success, and it's important for companies to partner with an outsourcing provider with a proven track record of nurturing and maintaining staff. The right outsourcer will focus a lot of attention and resources on ensuring employees are continuously supported and engaged.

For a BPO provider like TELUS International, which operates contact centers around the world, that means ensuring the programs the company offers in its regional locations are in line with the aspirations of the local workforce. For instance, TELUS International's university programs help team members in the Philippines and elsewhere get Bachelor's or graduate degrees on site while working full-time. The results of this people-first approach is increased agent engagement, loyalty and superior performance.


6. Ensuring best-in-class training practices


Deloitte reports that 23 percent of companies find their outsourcing suppliers rely on unqualified resources, meaning inadequately trained or skill-tested staff.

Tarsh suggests companies include standards for training practices in their original agreement, which can be confirmation of specific skill sets, testing and vetting processes, as well as documentation of standard operating procedures. "We do sometimes set out qualification requirements by level [of responsibility]. Typically, there is a ‘train the trainer' approach in which leaders come to the onshore locations to look at the people who will provide the training," he says.

7. Auditing for compliance


Deloitte finds that 25 percent of companies must terminate their outsourcing contracts due to a lack of leading practices for quality and operations management.

The adage "trust but verify," should be a mantra of good outsourcing practices. Before signing agreements, and as part of the ongoing relationship management, it's important to ensure the provider maintains a high degree of operational integrity. "[Companies that are outsourcing] have to have structure for auditing," Tarsh says. "A good supplier should tell them some of that information, and their auditors have a role in that too."

Companies should confirm their outsourcing partner's compliance to internationally recognized standards, like ISO, which are audited by objective third parties. They should also expect their outsourcing service providers to comply with international documentation requirements which will not expose the company to risks.

8. Ensuring systems continuity


An outsourcing partner should act as an extension of your brand, and ensuring a high level of continuity across both organizations is key. However, Deloitte finds that 22 percent of companies were forced to cancel their outsourcing contracts due to a lack of internal integration.

Lepeak warns against failing to assign the right in-house staff to work with the outsourcing provider. "As an example, the outsourcing company can do your payroll; that's straight-forward. But in the case of human resources for talent acquisition, you need to have more control of those activities, and that's a struggle. You need smart people, who know how to run things, to manage those types of outsourcing providers," Lepeak continues.

Organizations looking at finding a provider to provide turn-key services need to hire the right in-house personnel for oversight.

Bottom line: Manage change and mind the details


For organizations looking to outsource for the first time, change management is often critical. "If you previously performed many tasks internally, and you're now planning to do them externally, you need to know how you will manage the change in your organization" says Lepeak. By using a formalized and detailed change management approach, companies transitioning to an outsourcing model will minimize disruption and reap the full rewards of the partnership.

For more information on creating an engaged outsourcing partnership, including key factors affecting relationship value, download the "Achieving Maximum BPO Value: How Smart Buyers Structure Contact Center Relationships" white paper by Everest Group and sponsored by TELUS International.

"Keep up-to-date with the latest thinking about BPO, ITO and Contact Center solutions. Each month, TELUS International, a global provider of contact center outsourcing and BPO solutions, shares insights on the latest customer service trends."

Related articles: www.telusinternational-europe.com /
www.telusinternational.com


0 COMMENTS ^ Go back to Top
WRITE A COMMENT ^ Go back to Top
 
Your email address will not be published.
Nickname
Email
Comment
Validation Code
   
 
 
NEWS
EY announces new global talent programs to prepare its people and its business for the future of work

EY recently announces a series of new global talent programs designed to prepare its workforce and its business for the future of work, including LEAD, a new global model for career, development and performance

 Read Full article »
Societe Generale European Business Services invests in innovative solutions made by Romanian start-ups

Societe Generale European Business Services, part of the international group Societe Generale, had ended its first corporate accelerator program dedicated to start-ups in Romania – Catalyst 2.0.

 Read Full article »
SAP launches free online courses for teens passionate about technology

SAP announced it has prepared several free online technology courses to be launched this fall for young and teens passionate about technology such as: Teens Get Coding! And Teaching Programming to Young Learner

 Read Full article »
Oracle gains cloud revenues up 51 per cent to 1.5 billion US dollars in new fiscal year's Q1

Oracle Corporation announced fiscal 2018 Q1 results, with total revenues up 7 per cent from the prior year to 9.2 billion US dollars. Cloud plus On-Premise Software Revenues were up 9 per cent to 7.4 billion US

 Read Full article »
Stefanini names Farlei Kothe as vice-president for EMEA

IT solutions developer Stefanini announced the naming of Farlei Kothe as vice-president for EMEA region. The new manager will coordinate the company's software development division from Bucharest.

 Read Full article »
Endava marks 10-year presence in Iasi and plans growth countrywide

British company Endava marks ten-year presence at Iasi, in North-Eastern Romania and also announces the opening of a new office in United Business Center of Palas Iasi compound.

 Read Full article »
Portland Trust celebrates 20-year anniversary with start of last phase of Oregon Park, Bucharest

The central European property developer Portland Trust and US based Ares Management are embarking on the final phase of Oregon Park, their new office park in Bucharest. This event coincides with the company 20

 Read Full article »
WBE: Which EU country is most at risk of cybercrime?

Computer users in South Eastern Europe may want to review their digital security after new research revealed they are the most vulnerable to cyber crime, a press release of Website Builder Expert (WBE) states.

 Read Full article »
GE opens new software center in Bucharest, looks for highly skilled IT specialists

GE announced that it speeds up growth for its software and digital resources in Romania and kicks off the recruitment campaign for GE Power's Grid Software Solutions (SWS) center in Bucharest.

 Read Full article »
DB Global Technology creates new technology hub, digital workplace floor and event venue

DB Global Technology S.R.L. (DBGT), Deutsche Bank's technology centre in Bucharest, has inau-gurated a new research and development hub, a digital workplace floor and a state-of-the-art event venue, according t

 Read Full article »
 
MOST RECENT VIDEO
 
 
MOST READ ARTICLES
» GE opens new software center in Buchar...
» ROMANIAN OUTSOURCING AWARDS FOR EXCELL...
» HIpark, a new office project of 21.000...
» DB Global Technology creates new techn...
» Stay updated on People in Shared Serv...
» Molson Coors started to grow its busin...
» Romania, Europe's third and world's 13...
» Endava opens fintech hub and doubles n...
» Genpact's COO: Staying ahead of the cu...
» Capgemini to develop, deploy, and main...
 
EDITOR CHOICE
TELUS International Europe: How big banks and fintechs are working together to innovate the customer experience

Comparing financial technology (fintech) companies to legacy financial institutions can invoke an image of David and Goliath. Fintech firms may be small, particularly when compared to the established titans of

 Read Full article »
Wipro launches automotive center of excellence in Romania

Wipro Limited, global information technology, consulting and business process services company, announced the launch of an Automotive Center of Excellence (CoE) in Timisoara, Romania. This CoE will help Wipro d

 Read Full article »
TELUS International Europe: The convergence of customer service and digital marketing/NewGen technologies: What does it mean for businesses?

Technology shapes the way we educate, communicate, conduct business and advance science, all while maintaining significant influence on the global economy. But the way we engage with technology is changing

 Read Full article »
Stay updated on People in Shared Services and Outsourcing Forum, October 19

Outsourcing Today organizes the third edition of People in Shared Services and Outsourcing Forum, on October 19, 2017 in Bucharest at Caro Hotel.

 Read Full article »
Preparing for the new future

Business shared services in Romania is by nature a flexible, mobile and diverse community and in this context, local markets develop their own particularities to address the global changes, to adjust to new dem

 Read Full article »
Latest News  
 
about us | newsletter | contact | members area
Copyright © 2015 by Diplomat Media Events Design by Diplomat Media Events