How do you make sure that an outsource relationship is set up for success from the start?

How do you make sure that an outsource relationship is set up for success from the start? image
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Getting off on the right foot is critical when you kick-off a new relationship with an outsource partner. Having confidence that your new partner has a great on-boarding process can help ensure that you know your business is in safe hands. So what should you be looking to your outsource provider to deliver in these critical early days?

The first thing your service provider should be doing is identifying and ‘pairing’ with the key people in your business and building those important relationships. Here at Arise we look to make sure we’ve got a clear understanding of roles within the client, and how we can make sure that our people have responsibility for guaranteeing the satisfaction of critical stakeholders. This allows us to get a well-defined understanding of the business, and also understand which stakeholders our ‘partners’ are reporting to internally. It also means that we can set mutually agreed expectations – and roles are clear from day one. Having a crystal-clear understanding of WHO is responsible for WHAT between a client and outsource partner is absolutely critical to avoiding any degradation in service quality caused by operational ‘gaps’. We regularly encourage our colleagues to go and work from a client’s offices, in order to get to know the team and the business. We also host new starters from the client team - giving them valuable insights into the role we play for their new employer. 

 Secondly, an outsource partner should clearly set out their quality and Customer Experience standards and defined timelines for delivery. One thing we have found over the years is that, surprisingly, a shorter on-boarding process can actually be easier, but it’s critical that there is a clear plan defining how long system changes or recruitment of the right agents will take. We recently completed the on-boarding of a new client from another outsource provider in only 6 weeks end to end – including fitting out a new office building, new system requirements and recruitment. With such tight timescales, HR needs to be brought into the plan as early as possible to make sure they are primed and ready to recruit candidates with the right skills and capabilities. 

 And finally, any partnership between a BPO and their client needs to run both ways. Trust in each other’s expertise needs to exist so that the right level of challenge can be built into the process. A client should not expect that their outsourced partner would accept without question any change or request. In order to be a true partner, any supplier needs to fully understand why any particular business change is needed. The service provider may have relevant learnings from other client engagements which could add value to your particular situation. 

 What is key throughout any out-boarding process is that the client/outsource partner relationship needs to be based on very clear two-way communication and mutual trust. Often you will be trusting us with a vital part of your business – let us help you to build a successful partnership, that will deliver real benefits for your business.

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