Obstacles & Challenges
If you hear the word “outsourcing” and instantly recoil, you’re not alone. In fact, many business leaders are extremely hesitant to outsource business functions for fear that the horror stories they’ve heard might come true for them. We’re pleased to tell you that these myths about outsourcing usually are NOT true.
While we won’t pretend that every outsourcing partnership ends in sunshine and rainbows, we can say confidently that outsourcing has improved significantly over the years and that, when done right, it can help your business reach its goals more quickly and cost-effectively than you otherwise could.
In our blog What is Outsourcing and Should You be Doing we dive into some of the biggest reasons why companies choose to outsource and some of the most common reasons they avoid it. In this blog we’ll dive into the top 5 outsourcing myths, and the truth behind the real outcomes.
Top 5 Outsourcing Myths:
- Outsourcing Myth #1: When you outsource, you lose control over project deliverables and results.
- Outsourcing Myth #2: Outsourcing means cheap labor from overseas partners.
- Outsourcing Myth #3: External teams won’t represent your brand as well as an internal team will.
- Outsourcing Myth #4: Outsourcing projects end up costing more with no guaranteed outcomes.
- Outsourcing Myth #5: Your business or customer data won’t be as secure when shared with a third-party.
Outsourcing Myth 1: You lose control over project deliverables and results.
Truth: When you outsource you’re able to be as hands-on or hands-off as you choose.
Businesses can outsource nearly any function, and it’s clear that some functions may need more collaboration and communication with the BPO or outsourced service provider than others. For example, if you’re outsourcing a cut-and-dry function, like accounting or more back-office day-to-day operational tasks, you may not need to be as heavily involved with your outsourced partner.
However, if you’re outsourcing for an important project or for a function that is constantly changing - like customer service or a project to build a new company website - you may need to be more involved with what your partner is working on.
Pro Tip: When considering outsourcing it is critical to select the partner that is the right fit for your business and the service you need them to provide.
Take a read through our blog 3 Lessons for Selecting the Right Contact Center Partner for tips on choosing the best partner for your team from the start.
Once you’ve carefully researched and selected the right partner for your business and needs, you can set up a meeting cadence that works best to meet and discuss project updates and assess progress and performance.
If yours is like most businesses, it is probably constantly changing. When outsourcing a function like customer support, you’ll need to ensure your partners are kept abreast of any new product or business updates that your customers may ask about. In this situation, it’s important to keep in close communication with your contact center to ensure that their agents have the most up-to-date training and knowledge about your business and the services you provide.
Beyond that, if you plan to continue using a BPO for an extended period of time (sticking with the example that a business may consistently use a contact center for customer support), you’ll want to make sure that you have meetings on a regular cadence to discuss performance and give feedback about how well they’re hitting your KPIs and areas where you’d like to see improvement.
Good contact centers will want this feedback and it will ultimately lead to a stronger, more trusted partnership for both sides.
Next time you hear that outsourcing will cause you to lose control of your project or function, remember that the level of control is entirely up to you.
Pro tip: If you want more control over the direction of your project or function, make it clear during your partner selection process - even before you sign them on as your partner - what your expectations are for your internal team’s involvement.
Setting expectations up front will help both you and your contact center better understand what to expect going into the relationship and will help you both aim toward the goals that will deliver the best end result.
Outsourcing Myth 2: Outsourcing means cheap labor from overseas partners.
Truth: Outsourcing doesn’t have to mean cheap labor from overseas contact centers.
We’ve heard this misconception so often that we even wrote a blog exclusively on why this isn’t true: read Why Outsourcing Doesn’t Always Mean Cheap Agents Overseas.
The truth is that outsourcing really doesn’t have to mean involving offshore partners at all. While many businesses find this to be a more affordable alternative to US-based solutions, there are hundreds of thousands of BPOs across the United States - and the world - that can provide the level of quality you’re looking for at a price you can afford.
Even if you do choose to outsource to an offshore partner, many quality BPOs offer 24/7 services and multiple languages to break down the language, cultural, and time zone barriers that many people fear.
Pro tip: If you’re having trouble finding a partner to fulfill the function or need of your business there are companies, like ArenaCX, that offer match-making services to help connect you to the perfect partner or partners to meet your needs.
Outsourcing Myth 3: External agents won’t represent your brand as well as your internal team.
Truth: When properly incentivized, your outsourcing partner is eager to serve your brand as well as if it were their own.
In our opinion, this is the biggest problem with the traditional model of outsourcing.
In the past, contact centers had little incentive to deliver the high quality results your business is looking for. To get great outcomes you had to rely almost solely on the integrity of your partners to deliver on their promises.
But, as we’ve mentioned, outsourcing is evolving and new ways are emerging to give your partners a reason to perform to their highest level: Introducing a portfolio approach.
Using a single BPO can be risky for any business, which is why we recommend using a portfolio approach to employ partners, particularly relationships with long-term vendors.
By applying a portfolio approach you’re giving a portion of your business to each partner you have in your network, and have the leverage to give more or less of your business to each partner based on their performance and the level of success they’re achieving for your business.
In our blog, Are You Taking too Much Risk with Your Outsourcing Partners we dive into the details of using a portfolio approach for contact center partners in the customer service function.
We think of it like investing. You wouldn’t invest in a single stock so you shouldn’t invest in a single partner. Diversify the reliance on your partners like you would rely on the diversification of your assets within a mutual fund.
This keeps you protected from any unexpected events that might disrupt your partner from performing the services you need when you need them.
Outsourcing Myth 4: You’ll be paying more for hours worked without guaranteed outcomes.
Truth: Outsourcing can be extremely affordable - often less expensive than internal staffing - and result in impressive outcomes.
If you’re considering hiring an agency or contact center it is likely because you’re lacking the internal capacity or specific in-house expertise to complete a certain task or function.
Often, hiring an external team is much more cost-friendly and much less time consuming than the rigorous process of writing up a job description, interviewing candidates, training team members, and then paying out salaries and benefits.
Here’s an example. Consider that you need a self-service knowledge base built from scratch. This might require a dedicated team of web developers, designers, and assorted support staff to complete the project.
Perhaps you have some folks in-house who know how to accomplish the goal, but their day-to-day responsibilities leave limited time to commit to building a knowledge center, pushing the project’s completion date far into the future.
In this instance, it might make more sense to hire an experienced external team to complete the project in a much faster time frame. Not to mention that this is what these folks do every day so they have the know-how and experience that your internal team may not.
Rather than putting extra strain on your in-house team to learn how to be CX designers, engineers, and customer service experts on top of their day-to-day tasks, giving the work to an experienced team will likely end up costing much less in the long term with a finished product more quickly available than if you were to keep the work in-house.
When considering the outcomes it is so important to do your due diligence when selecting the right partner(s) and the right tools to help you monitor and measure performance in real time.
Here at ArenaCX our goal is to take outsourcing partnerships and guarantee real results. That’s why we’re focused on outcome-based outsourcing, where our exclusive smart software makes it simple to monitor performance and gain insights in real time about KPI-performance.
This up-to-date knowledge allows the partner(s) in your network to “compete” for your business and work harder and smarter to produce the best results. We don’t believe in long-term commitments, so you’re free to swap partners if your KPIs aren’t being met. When you’re not forced to stick with a partner through a lengthy contract, your partner has much more incentive to deliver on their promises knowing you can leave them at any time.
If you aren’t using ArenaCX’s real-time performance-monitoring software or outcome-based outsourcing solution, you’ll want to be especially careful in your partnership selection process, making sure you’re being straightforward from the get-go about the level of involvement you’d like to have throughout the process.
I’ve said it before, but it’s important to repeat: Set up a meeting cadence that makes you feel comfortable and reassures you and your team that your partner is delivering the quality job you’re paying for.
Outsourcing Myth 5: Your data is less secure with a third party than if you kept it internal.
Truth: BPOs must put into practice rigorous security measures - sometimes making your data even more safe with them than it is even internally.
There are two security fears that brands typically have when considering outsourcing: 1. The security of their own data about their company and 2. The data of their customers (if they’re outsourcing a service - like customer support - where sharing that information is necessary).
The good news is that, when doing business with BPOs that require you to share the data of your customers, they are required to have security measures in place and often a very detailed back-up plan if ever they do experience a rare data breach.
These security measures should all be transparent to you as you’re evaluating whether the partner is a good fit for your team.
Regarding your own data security, it all comes back to trusting your partner. Of course, you should have them sign an NDA so that they are contractually bound to keep your internal business information confidential, but ensuring that the company you choose to do business with has a strong track record of happy, trusting clients is another critical piece.
As long as you double-check that they have the right security measures in place to cover the sensitivity of the data you’re sharing, and you do your due diligence to research the company and their current and past client’s satisfaction with security, don’t let this fear keep you from growing your business through outsourcing.
We hope that these myths haven’t scared you out of trying outsourcing in your business. While there will always be some level of risk, the benefits of outsourcing usually strongly outweigh the horror stories that have become less and less common as the industry continues to evolve.
If you’re interested in learning more about how ArenaCX is modernizing outsourcing, watch this short video on how our Contact Center Marketplace works, or start a chat with a member of the ArenaCX team.
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