Think Strategic Service Partner, Not Outsourcer
The SSPA has historically not done a lot of research on outsourcing. This is definitely an area where we encourage SSPA members to collaborate and share best practices–we don’t pretend to have all the answers to the incredibly complex issues of what, where and how to outsource. As a chief service executive from one of our largest members said, “We have 400 analysts whose full time job is analyzing outsourcing contracts and identifying best practices, and we still don’t have it figured out.”
I’m happy to announce that this Thursday at 9am PT I am moderating a webcast with SSPA member John Laino, Director of Enterprise Support Planning for NetApp, who is reprising his well attended and highly rated presentation from our recent Vegas conference, “How Strategic Support Partnerships Can Become Keys to Success for Technology Companies.” Click here to register!
I will be sharing what I’ve learned about successful outsourcing from speaking with SSPA member companies, for example:
- Primary selection criteria should be quality, not price. I still receive inquiries from members asking me, “Which outsourcers offer the lowest per-interaction price?” I don’t know, and I probably wouldn’t recommend them. You definitely get what you pay for, and any company that ignores quality to get the cheapest contract price they can find will end up with rising customer churn as a result.
- “Writing a check” does not resolve you from responsibility. This was the attitude that got a lot of companies into problems with the first wave of “low price” outsourcing contracts in 2001. The outsourcer is providing you with support employees that fit the profile you requested, in the location you requested, for the price you requested. Getting them trained, keeping them motivated, and monitoring their ongoing quality is still largely your responsibility.
- Facetime is key. The best results happen when the core support organization puts in “face time” at the outsourced facility, even for offshore locations. Making those employees feel like valued members of your extended team is critical, and one way to do that is having an in-person presence so they know who you are, what your corporate culture is, and how important your customers are to your company success.
I’ll share some benchmark data related to adoption of outsourcing by SSPA members, trends about what issues are being outsourced, and the mix of onshore vs. offshore outsourcing. I’ll also draw on our committee report earlier this year, “Talent Management in Emerging Markets: Best Practices for Attracting, Developing and Retaining Talent in India,” to make some recommendations about training priorities.
The sponsor of the webcast is Convergys, NetApp’s service provider, and a new SSPA partner. I’m thrilled to have a global outsourcing leader as part of our partner community, and happy that they count several SSPA members among their success stories.
I hope you can attend the webcast on Thursday; if not, it will be listed on our website afterwards to view OnDemand. Thanks for reading!