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Customer Contact: Choosing the best outsourcing partner

  • Publish Date: Posted 10 months ago
  • Author:by Neil Johns

​When selecting an outsourcer to manage or scale your operations, it is vital to choose one which is the right fit for your business's specific needs, particularly in the Customer Contact arena.

Aligning with an industry partner which is able to provide professional staff who can offer sound customer service experience will instil trust and ultimately encourage repeat loyalty and buy-in from customers.

This has never been more apparent in light of recent events, where the Government hired a private contractor to manage its crucially important call centre based Test and Trace programme, wasting millions of pounds in the process.

This blunder resulted in a selection of school-leavers and students failing to be trained or upskilled to a standard where they should have been operating as “experienced clinicians”, all while receiving the minimum wage.

During the first hour of the first day, three of the young tracers contacted people who had just lost someone they loved to Covid-19. The people they spoke to were in extreme distress. After these calls, all three tracers “were distraught and crying”, and unable to work for the rest of the day.

This might well be an extreme example of the consequences of selecting an unsuitable outsourcer, however it starkly highlights the need to do your due diligence when selecting a partner, to identify one whose workers possess the necessary skills and qualifications to successfully undertake the task in hand.

With this in mind, we decided to explore the subject in more detail. Neil Johns, our Customer Contact Director, reached out to our LinkedIn community and asked them to share their views and experiences with us.

In our poll, we posed the question: Which criteria has the most significant impact on your decision when choosing the best outsourcing partner for your business?

The results showed that while finding a business with a similar ethos is considered beneficial, the most influential factor when choosing an outsourcing partner is specialist industry knowledge. A possible surprising outcome from our poll was the evidence that the expenditure element of the decision process is seen to be the least important, with the reputation of an outsourcing business coming in close behind.

We discuss the results in more detail below:

Specialist knowledge (39%):

Identifying a partner with specific specialist knowledge relevant to your business is key to the success of a project. This result is not surprising given the demands of the modern consumer and the need to maintain a great customer experience in an ever competitive market.

Therefore, it is vital to have reliable, professional staff in place who know and understand both your business and the wider industry you operate in, meaning they can seamlessly blend in to your company culture and give your customers the service they expect and deserve.

There is nothing worse for an organisation’s reputation than having workers who fail to comprehend your commercial goals, ambition and direction. This lack of commercial awareness will trickle down and impact negatively on customer care and, ultimately, your revenue margins.

Shared values (27%):

Any business will want to foster a good relationship with their outsourcing partner to ensure they are on the same page in terms of their attitude to getting the job done. Having shared values will go a long way towards achieving this and will save time in the first instance.

Finding a partner who shares your company’s ethos will guarantee that they are fully invested in the success of the project and also means that workers can hit the ground running without having to gen up on the business’s beliefs and approach to working beforehand.

Reputation (18%):

A good outsourcing partner will have a respectable and reliable reputation so it is important to do your research first. Take the time to read reviews, check out social media channels, speak to colleagues and peers and request case studies where possible. Adopting these steps means you will have more chance of finding the right fit the first time round.

Cost/Expenditure (15%)

What we have observed in recent times is a shift in the importance of costing as a factor when choosing an outsourcing partner, now being regarded as less significant than other deciding aspects. Clients now work towards partnerships being based on mutual desired outcomes for the greater good of both businesses rather than the bottom line of who is most cost effective.

Given the nature of our poll results, we would be keen to hear from our contacts in the Business Process Outsourcing arena and gauge whether the responses ring true for them and reflect what their own experiences with clients look like.

If you would like to discuss either the subject matter of this poll or your Contact Centre outsourcing requirements in more detail, please feel free to get in touch with Neil directly: njohns@merje.com