5 top tips for finding the perfect outsourcing partner

The experts at Echo Managed Services explain 5 tips for finding the perfect outsourced services.

In 2013, the outsourcing sector employed 3.3 million people – equivalent to 10% of the entire UK workforce – and accounted for 9.3% of the British economy. Since then, the industry has shown no signs of slowing down. In the third quarter of 2015, £2.3bn worth of outsourcing contracts were signed – an increase of 69% on 2014.outsourcing

The outsourcing sector incorporates a multitude of different services, from IT Support and catering, to contact centres and debt collection – and can provide a cost-effective, specialist and efficient service that can often scale up and down in-line with demand. With this in mind, Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing at specialist outsourcer Echo Managed Services, gives his five top tips on selecting a trustworthy and reliable outsourcing partner.

1. Innovation is key

Selecting an outsourcer that’s a specialist in its field can bring new ideas and innovation to the table that others close to the business might not have even considered – it’s amazing how those away from the everyday running of a business can provide a fresh perspective. Outsourcers that are willing to challenge the status quo will be able to provide food for thought on current business processes and how they could be streamlined, made more efficient, and improve outcomes for customers.  Innovative outsourcers are more likely to go the extra mile to make suggestions that will benefit your business, and work with you to implement them. Look for those challenging the norms and providing real added-value.

2. Don’t forget agility

In a challenging and competitive business world, where customer expectations are continuing to rise and the pace of change continues to intensify, companies that stand still are at risk of losing out. As a result, you’re going to need an outsourcer with an agile structure and culture that is able to act quickly to keep up with change – one that is willing to evolve alongside your business. This could involve adopting new technologies and ways of working to create competitive differentiation through service innovation, or scaling operations up and down depending on what’s going on – in seasonal periods, or when unexpected demand hits, for example.

3. Finding the right balance

While new technologies are opening up a sea of opportunities to businesses, it’s crucial to implement them because you should, not just because you can – a balanced approach often works best. For example, in the world of customer contact outsourcing, where an array of technology is available, it’s important to really understand what your customers want and then match your approach to their requirements and your business objectives.

The latest multi-channel technologies can offer speed and convenience, but be mindful that in certain situations the human touch will be more appropriate and preferred by customers. An expert outsourcer will advise you on what will work best for your business and customers, in varying situations.

4. Long vs. short-term considerations

Whilst price considerations are important when choosing an outsourcer, selecting the cheapest one, although tempting, might not always be the most advisable decision – especially if you’re looking for innovation, specialist insight and a long term partnership. Consider all elements of an outsourcer’s service offering, not just the cost, and you’ll find that it’s often worth spending a little more to build a collaborative relationship with an outsourcer that can really add long term value and a positive return on investment.

5. The face of your business

Perhaps most crucially, it’s important to remember that outsourcers are ultimately an extension of your business, so must be able to provide a seamless brand experience. Selecting one that can represent and care for your brand as if it were their own is vital.

Take outsourced debt collection, for example – a difficult and challenging environment that can make maintaining customer relationships tough. Here, a customer-centric approach that engages customers and protects a client’s brand can go a long way towards maintaining customer experiences, so that once debts are cleared, customers are more likely to remain favourable towards your business, and loyal in the years to come.

Ultimately, it’s crucial that when selecting an outsourcer, you are confident they are specialists and can add value to your business. Collaborate with your chosen outsourcers, not only to give you peace of mind that the job is being done thoroughly, but also to increase agility and innovation capabilities.

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