What Outsourcing Mistakes to Avoid

For every successful outsourcing project, there’s another one that gets abandoned or regretted for not yielding positive results. It is for the latter reason that outsourcing as a business strategy has gained a bad reputation.

Worst, this in turn is hurting the whole outsourcing industry – be it BPO, global IT sourcing, and the likes – which then lead businesses to veer away from a BPO solution that could potentially help it in the long-term.

If BPO companies will just be honest, there are firms in the global outsourcing industry that deliver subpar services. Sometimes, however, the outsourcing partner is not the one to blame — but the poor outsourcing practices by the client are at fault.

If you are planning to outsource or you are already running an outsourcing project yet not seeing the results you want, you may want to consider the following:

Be a skeptic, but not a cynic.

Many people use these two words interchangeably. But to be skeptical is different from being cynical.

The word “skeptic comes from the Greek word skeptikó, which means to investigate and to inquire, while the term “cynic” comes from the Greek word kynikós, which translates to dog-like and currish or quarrelsome.

Using the modern definition of these two, a skeptical person is someone who refuses to believe something unless presented with factual evidence, while a cynical person thinks without any rational basis to reason the worst from the get-go.

Outsourcing, like every other business solution, needs ample time to start showing positive results. But if you hold back on the project because of a conscious or unconscious bias against outsourcing, you might be hindering it from reaching its full potential and from bringing in profit for your business.

This kind of approach will cause more harm than good. The thing is, while no one is advising anyone to turn a blind eye, keep in mind that a healthy amount of trust is vital for the well-being of any business partnership.

Trust is what keeps the gears of an operation running smoothly. The relationship between an outsourcing client and an outsourcing services provider is not an exception.

Have a clear plan.

Another mistake that most outsourcing first-timers make is not having a well-drawn plan before approaching a BPO company. Outsourcing without preparation and plan is almost like running into battle without donning an armor.

The prospect of getting an outsourced partner in the BPO sector is risky already. Without any conscious effort to plan might just harm your business. That is why even before you start looking for an outsourcing partner, draft a roadmap and explain the whys and hows you want things to proceed with a BPO partner.

List down the tasks and the processes that you want to outsource. Make sure you have carefully laid down the number of people that you want to hire for your project and then clarify your price range.

Determine beforehand how much you are willing to shell out and ask yourself if your outsourcing plans are aligned with your vision, goals, and ambitions. This way, you can keep track of your project’s progress, and be able to see which parts are doing great, which parts could do better, and which aspect to address.

Finally, ask yourself: will outsourcing to my preferred partner help you achieve record milestones?

Hire enough staff.

One of the supposed advantages of outsourcing is its ability to run processes smoothly and produce results promptly. These are not advantages that you would be able to enjoy if you give tasks that your small outsource team could hardly handle.

Treat well your outsourced staff from your provider as if they were your own employees. Avoid giving workloads that will burn-out your outsourced staff.

The key would be to be reasonable when it comes to the number of people you are hiring and the tasks you are going to give them to accomplish a particular project.

If you are unsure about how many would be needed, you could always ask you outsourcing partner’s opinion.

Do not Set Very High Expectations

Outsourcing is not a magical spell that can erase all your troubles away in one go. Outsourcing your customer services wouldn’t miraculously increase the number of your customers, nor would outsourcing your finance and accounting suddenly increase your ROI or ease off your taxes away.

As a business process, outsourcing has been proven time and time again to bring in innumerable benefits, but there are still limitations to what it can do. Anticipate sensible and practical results so as not to set yourself up for disappointment.

Avoid the Miscommunication Trap

No matter how good your plans for your project are, and no matter how skilled and experienced your outsourcing partner is, you would get nowhere if you and your staff are not on the same page.

Miscommunication is something that outsourcers suffer from more times than can be counted, and though this common workplace problem is often ignored or downplayed, this isn’t a something to be taken lightly.

Since so many outsourcing providers are located offshore, usually in countries far away from where your company is based, cultural and language barriers are issues to contend with in more ways than one.

Here is why it is imperative that you spend even more time and effort when it comes to reaching out and getting the details of your project across. Without clear communication, vital mistakes could be committed, leading to a loss of profit if not to the downright end of the project.

Do not Micromanage

Control is a good thing … when done in moderation. Taken to extremes, it can lead to your employees feeling held in their necks. What’s next is that productivity suffer and your investment gave no pay offs.

Simply put, micromanaging is the act of obsessing over every minute detail of the work process in the workplace. It is detrimental to your agents’ morale, hindering them from taking initiatives, dampening their confidence, and ultimately tiring them out.

The adverse effects of micromanaging are so widespread that it is now considered to be one of the top reasons why employees leave their respective companies. Even outsourcing providers, with their deep pool or talents, are not immune to this.

Give your agents room to breathe. Let your outsourced staff grow into their responsibilities. Be a mentor who guides, rather than being your agents’ tyrannical boss they fear. Not only will this improve performance, but it will also encourage a positive relationship between you and the people working in your project.

Opt for Quality Services

One of outsourcing’s main attractions is that it is almost always less costly than running processes in-house. But truth be told, there is still a very pronounced distinction between companies that offer premium services from those who offer dirt-cheap services.

Many first-time outsourcers fall to the trap of going for the outsourcing provider that offers the lowest rates and regret their decisions later on.

This business process has been proven time and time again to bring in innumerable benefits, but there are still limitations to what it can do. Anticipate sensible and practical results so as not to set yourself up for disappointment.

Finally, Outsourcing is like a Marriage

Outsourcing gone wrong is not only costly, but it can also be said to be a dangerous mistake. With these providers, you get what you pay.

When you sign with them, you are signing away your right to demand quality service that your project requires. A more harmful consequence when you happen to be outsourcing your company’s core processes would be you spending twice or thrice the initial amount you paid to fix the damages wrought by the cheap, subpar services you have availed. If that is the end you are project, the risks of outsourcing are just not worth it.

Outsourcing is a two-way street and both parties must agree on mutual terms and conditions that will share the responsibilities and roles each party will play. Do not assume just because you have outsourced a particular process and are already free or have your hands washed off or cleaned off it by extra responsibilities

Such mentality has led to the downfall of many outsourcing projects. So before you place the blame entirely against your outsourcing partner, check yourself if you are ready to submit to the fall, make sure that you are doing your part and hat you are not doing things that are detrimental to the success of your project.

So once you plan to outsource, be sure at the very least, that you are going into a partnership with a provider that you are sure 100% will help you reap positive results for your company.