Once you’ve decided it’s time to appoint a business process outsourcing partner, the next step is to choose which one to hire. And with thousands to choose from it can be a daunting call to make. So what are the questions you as a business owner need to ask so as to make the most informed choice?
1- Do they have the expertise and credible references?
A little research will go a long way in finding the right outsourcing partner. This is the first thing you would want to do. Find out how long the company has been in business? Whether they have worked on a project similar to yours in the past? How many offices do they deliver and operate from? Search for them on Google and other social media platforms to understand their brand image. Find out their history and business experience.
Importantly, ask for references, check their staff retention rates, learn about their work culture, get to know how many contracts they are able to renew at the end of their contract periods, and ask if they have UK-based support staff.
As far as references go, check how long their clients have been with them and if they have referred them in the past. Contact the referees and find out their levels of satisfaction. It will also be helpful if you ask for the providers’ strengths and how they deal with work issues and problems.
2- Do they have quality and information security measures in place?
We perfectly understand that quality compliances are only a good general measure and the best outsourcing vendors should have quality built into their genetic codes. However, it doesn’t hurt to find outsourcing partners that follow globally-accepted standard models like ISO. Find companies which are certified by the latest, revised ISO standards as these adopt a process oriented approach and emphasize on measuring process performance and effectiveness. Other than helping measure and improve quality standards, it also ensures that the company follows defined processes and abides by quality parameters set by the regulating body.
In terms of quality, ensure that your outsourcing vendor delivers similar or better output than your own internal resources. Don’t settle for anything less!
3- Do they speak the same language as you? Are they on the same page?
Many an outsourcing deal has been marred by poor communication. There is research-based evidence which says that 38% of outsourcing deals fail because of a lack of cultural congruity between the outsourcing company and its client.
We suggest you spend at least a fortnight with your supplier to get a first-hand experience of their work ethos and culture. Get involved with them; attend the staff meetings; interact with your extended team. This is the best way to experience their work culture.
4- Do they have the best IT infrastructure and latest technologies?
ISO 27001 is an official method for an outsourcing company to demonstrate the robustness of their IT capabilities. However, the next best would be to visit to your outsourcing partner’s workplace and find out if they use the best IT Infrastructure and high-end technology. A personal visit helps you understand if they have the proper technology to handle your project. It will also help you analyse and understand their processes, methodologies and workforce employed to run your business process.
5- How do they report?
Look for a company with a proven track record; companies which provide reports on a daily, weekly or bi-weekly basis. These reports help you monitor performances of people who work on your process and take action as the work happens. The only thing that should change when you outsource is the location the work is being processed at.
6- Have they won any rewards and recognition for their work? Are they affiliated with any regulating bodies?
Awards and industry recognitions are a good general measure to learn about the reputation of your outsourcing vendor. Research says that companies, just like employees, perform better if they are recognized for their accomplishments. Also, awards say a lot about the quality of an organisation and the strength of the management team.
7- Are they a registered company?
Last but no less important than the first, before choosing your provider, take some time and learn about the owners of the company and which laws does it operate under. It is recommended therefore that you choose a registered outsourcing partner.
So now that you have established what to look for in an outsourcing company, it must have become a lot easy to link your requirements. Right? Well, honestly, at first glance most suppliers might seem to serve the purpose. Nevertheless, before you hit the road don’t forget to perform a due diligence on their financial stability, track record, data security measures, reporting tools, industry recognitions, the country laws to which they comply, and most importantly their quality of service.
With careful planning and evaluation you should find the most capable supplier and enjoy the benefits of outsourcing.