Five Tips for Thinking Inside the Box for Your Next Outsourcing PartnerRobert Coolidge
Many businesses often realize that certain tasks they’re performing in house are inefficient, wasting time and resources and are far removed from their core competencies. Encompass has been on both sides of either selecting or serving as a business partner, so we have gained a lot
of best practice knowledge over the decades. When searching for the ideal B2B partner to assume responsibility for any of your pain point functions, here are some in-the-box questions to assist with your outside-the-box strategies.
- Customer Service – Can you rely on the supplier to be responsive to your needs? What about your customers? Is the supplier trustworthy enough to serve the lifeblood of your business? Be sure to check them out through the Better Business Bureau, professional references, social media and other channels to get a strong sense of their integrity and service culture.
- Key Performance Indicators – How does the supplier plan to measure the successes and challenges of your program? Before implementation, you and your supplier must agree on the standard metrics by which your business will be evaluated. Furthermore, you should have on demand access to reporting on these KPIs to have full visibility to how well (or not so well) your partner is managing your program.
- Technology – Can your partner integrate with your operating systems? Depending on the nature of the work they’re doing, having direct connectivity could help expedite certain processes and also provide visibility to valuable data. Plus, to provide visibility to program KPIs, your partner must have the technology to track and report on comprehensive data sets.
- Communication – Whom can you contact when something goes wrong or you need immediate assistance? Always insist on a single point-of-contact to serve as your “go to” liaison for issue resolution. If you’re faced with an angry customer or process failure, you don’t want to have to call six people before finally making contact with someone who can help. Additionally, you should be able to have regular business reviews with your supplier to discuss any issues, assess performance and share ideas for enhancements.
- Value-added Services – What does the supplier offer your business (and customers) beyond the basics? Ideally, your partner will include many different complimentary services that help enhance your program and streamline processes – from revenue sharing opportunities to technical assistance. But be wary of those that nickel and dime you for every touchpoint; value-added should be just that, not a means for additional profit generation.
At Encompass, we are particularly focused on providing as much “bang for the buck” as possible through streamlined pricing models. We offer many different services – such as e-commerce portal development and system integration – at no extra charge.
However, selecting the right partner should never be just about price. Pricing can usually be somewhat flexible, but a potential supplier’s way of doing business is pretty much set in stone. While aggressive pricing may be hard to resist, marginal service can end up costing you much more in the long run.