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  • Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

    My company has finally made the decision to outsource some administrative service procedures that are repetitive and time consuming. These jobs will potentially go to a firm in India, but there are some significant issues that could be a deal breaker. The advantage of the outsourcing is that we will be able to keep up with the increase demand in the informational flow of the service, the disadvantage is that many of these processes are in English and they now will be going to non native speakers, this is problematic since the processes deal with several terms that are inter-changeable but similar. The other downside is the time difference, on the one hand we can process around the clock, but on the other hand the out sourced portion will require either additional late shifts to field customer service calls because of the time differences. It seems like such a great deal on paper and the cost is right but I have grave misgivings on what the effect will be on the back end- has anyone gone thru this process and is it worth all the planning to make it happen? I just would hate to get in a contract that in the end might be a poor decision. Is a limited contract the answer? or Phased implementation?

  • #2
    Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

    I've done a few outsourcing jobs myself. I have worked overseas and managed a call center. So I know what you mean when you entrust an outside party and it is not up to par with the level of quality that you require.

    It's going to be a difficult thing to handle. You need to find a reputable company that can handle the work load at any given hour, and, these employees need almost perfect English. It's going to be a daunting task as I know first hand that only a select few people outside of the States, have a full grasp of the English language, and the culture. Anyone can have the perfect English accent, but being able to relate to a customer and make them feel comfortable is going to be difficult.

    Anyone can read off of a script, but true customer service is going to be personalized (non robotic).

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    • #3
      Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

      You do not have to fret over those "issues" because after decades of operating, most Indian BPOs have already upped their standards. Just try to outsource administrative work that's within their forte. For example, IT and web design, accounting and other KPO services are within their areas of expertise. On one hand, if those administrative tasks involve copywriting, outbound or customer service calls, you'd be better off outsourcing those services to countries capable of neutralizing their English accents (i.e. Philippines, Balkan states).

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      • #4
        Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

        If I were to decide, I would first check on the advantages of outsourcing in terms of financial gains and market potential as well. The main objective of the business is primarily to earn profit so I would focus on that angle. As you have mentioned, in outsourcing to India, you "will be able to keep up with the increase demand in the informational flow of the service" therefore I don't think you have an alternative to that. The downside you are thinking is the displacement of local workers that would add to the unemployment problem maybe. But patriotism aside, your focus on your business and not on the economy of your country. Besides, outsourcing is the fashion in the whole world so you can just go with the tide of change.

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        • #5
          Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

          The time difference shouldn't be an issue. If you want people to be working 24-7 then you can make that quite clear and the contractor can tell you if they can or can't do it. I know freelancers can work any time so that requirement that they be working day and night shouldn't be much of a problem.

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          • #6
            Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

            Originally posted by joshposh View Post
            I've done a few outsourcing jobs myself. I have worked overseas and managed a call center. So I know what you mean when you entrust an outside party and it is not up to par with the level of quality that you require.

            It's going to be a difficult thing to handle. You need to find a reputable company that can handle the work load at any given hour, and, these employees need almost perfect English. It's going to be a daunting task as I know first hand that only a select few people outside of the States, have a full grasp of the English language, and the culture. Anyone can have the perfect English accent, but being able to relate to a customer and make them feel comfortable is going to be difficult.

            Anyone can read off of a script, but true customer service is going to be personalized (non robotic).
            Outsourcing is risky that way because you don't pay them as much, the work quality is often lackluster but you're sacrificing quality for better finances. Outsourcing is not the best thing to practice long-term because your company can get a bad reputation, I've worked a few outsourcing jobs here in Romania because the minimum salary here is ~$250 and I was managing to earn twice as much. Of course you would pay people from India even less but it helped that I know English nearly perfectly.

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            • #7
              Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

              Originally posted by Fuzyon View Post
              Outsourcing is risky that way because you don't pay them as much, the work quality is often lackluster but you're sacrificing quality for better finances. Outsourcing is not the best thing to practice long-term because your company can get a bad reputation, I've worked a few outsourcing jobs here in Romania because the minimum salary here is ~$250 and I was managing to earn twice as much. Of course you would pay people from India even less but it helped that I know English nearly perfectly.
              That's the whole point of outsourcing. It's cheaper. Quality control is going to be the hard part. These aren't western people and they don't know how to address customers like westerners. You need western style management. I supplied that so I know first hand how it is. I'm a westerner that trained call center employees. Every single one of these employee had to be trained in how to address westerners properly as reading off a script has no warmth or friendliness to it.

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              • #8
                Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

                Most of us in the western world don't consider the Philippines part of it. I have gotten Filipino call centers before and I know right away it's an outsourced call department. They are just as easy to spot as the Indian ones. I love it when somebody from India claims to be Natalie from Texas when they answer. People from different parts of the USA have very different and very identifiable accents.

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                • #9
                  Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

                  There is this cable, internet, and telephone services provider in my country which had a call center which provided a very good service The customer service reps were efficient and knowledgeable of these services. The company discontinued the call center here and outsourced that aspect of their setup to another country. I am not saying the new reps were inadequate but there was this problem that when they spoke it's wasn't easy to understand them. they spoke English but their speech was difficult to decipher and the were not as knowledgeable of the-the company services as the locals were. After numerous complaints, the company brought back the call center locally as it was before.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

                    Well I am not sure that phased implementation would really work in a lot of cases, especially if the main difference is the time zones. You are correct in your worry that it might come back to you and hurt you in the back end, even though it looks good on paper, and I would say that the best thing to do is look for someone with experience in the matter. If you can find someone in your field or your industry who has been through these issues before, then you can really find some guidance on what exactly to do with the outsourcing issues. I am curious to hear any follow up.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

                      I personally went for phased implementation for my business and also asked for a trial service for at least 2 to 3 days, in order to better understand the communication of the workers.

                      Also, make sure you check the reputation of the company whom you are outsourcing to, as that would ensure that you have an idea about the quality of work which is done in the company.

                      Directly signing the contract for multiple employees at once is not a good idea in my opinion.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

                        Non native speakers perform just as fine, those minor slang and terms can be easily explained to them and provide a cheat sheet for all the key terms you desire to include in their vocabulary to handle administrative service procedures as desired.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

                          Originally posted by Pandora View Post
                          My company has finally made the decision to outsource some administrative service procedures that are repetitive and time consuming. These jobs will potentially go to a firm in India, but there are some significant issues that could be a deal breaker. The advantage of the outsourcing is that we will be able to keep up with the increase demand in the informational flow of the service, the disadvantage is that many of these processes are in English and they now will be going to non native speakers, this is problematic since the processes deal with several terms that are inter-changeable but similar. The other downside is the time difference, on the one hand we can process around the clock, but on the other hand the out sourced portion will require either additional late shifts to field customer service calls because of the time differences. It seems like such a great deal on paper and the cost is right but I have grave misgivings on what the effect will be on the back end- has anyone gone thru this process and is it worth all the planning to make it happen? I just would hate to get in a contract that in the end might be a poor decision. Is a limited contract the answer? or Phased implementation?
                          I've worked in and around outsourcing myself. Definitely worth the effort if you can get the process going correctly and consistently. Its not gonna be easy, you'll have to monitor and tweak things every now and then.

                          If your uneasy with a commitment, I would say a trial period, if that option is available, would be your best bet. You should check with the BPO if they can do that for you. Also, consider 2 - 3 other options, you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket.

                          If English proficiency is the problem, outsource to the Philippines.

                          Hope this helps.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Outsourcing Issues That Need to Be Overcome

                            "the disadvantage is that many of these processes are in English and they now will be going to non native speakers", there are plenty of people out there who speak English. I'm sure you can find a manager who can be taught in English, and he or she will be the person to train every body else.

                            Some of the things that you think will be bad might not actually be, in time you will be able to tell if it was worth the change.

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