Outsourcing has never been more mainstream and for good reasons. Businesses can now achieve far more than ever before, all without hiring new staff and taking on additional overheads.
However, without the right approach, an outsourcing partnership can end up being more of a hindrance than anything else.
Once you have narrowed down your outsourcing partnership choices, there are a few essential questions you should be asking before you settle on one.
Key Questions to Ask a Potential Outsourcing Partner
1. Can You Provide Proof of Your Track Record?
Can your outsourcing partner provide you with feedback from existing and past clients? Even more importantly, are they willing to? Reading through testimonials from past clients is not always enough though. It’s much better to actually speak to people who have experience working with them. Get in touch with at least five clients to get a better understanding of what you can expect should you choose to work with them.
2. How Will You Manage My Account?
Assuming you have an understanding of how your account will be handled can set you up for frustration and disappointment. Asking how your account will be managed not only gives you greater peace of mind but you also know exactly what to expect. Find out how day-to-day requests will be handled, how you will communicate, and the turnaround times you can expect.
3. What Security Measures Are In Place?
Before taking on a potential outsourcing partner, find out more about the reliability of service providers as well as their infrastructure. What security measures do they have in place to protect sensitive data? If something happens to go wrong, what steps are in place to ensure minimal downtime and losses?
4. What Costs are Involved?
Next, you want to move onto the cost of their services and what you are receiving on a monthly basis. Are there any hidden costs you should be aware of? How will prices escalate over time and how often? How easily can you switch, or upgrade services based on your needs? All these questions will affect the final cost.
5. Can You Offer More Details on Your Expertise and Experience?
You may already have a general idea of what a potential outsourcing partner can offer. However, it also helps to have more details on their specific expertise and experience. You never know what other services your business could benefit from now and in the future.
6. What Makes Your Services Worth the Investment?
Lastly, find out why a particular outsourcing partner feels they stand out from their competitors. Think of this as their elevator pitch – the unique reason why you should pick their services over somebody else’s.
Working with an Outsourcing Partner
Once you settle on an outsourcing partner, how you work with them matters right from the start.
An effective outsourcing relationship is built on clear communication, realistic expectations, and a clear scope of work. Doing so from the start sets the tone for the rest of the working relationship.
Make a point of communicating regularly. This way, you ensure that you’re both working towards the same objectives and timelines.
It’s also highly recommended that you get any discussions in writing, giving both parties reliable reference points throughout your project.
With a strategic approach, outsourcing can be a cost-effective and efficient way to scale your business. Understand that partnerships will evolve and change over time. However, when the working relationship is launched from a stable and consistent foundation, growth occurs easily and naturally.