Preparing to outsource.

When outsourcing a contact centre operation for the first time, there are several steps that must be taken to ensure success. A robust procurement and contracting process is essential.

When dealing with such an important decision as outsourcing, you must understand clearly why you have chosen to outsource, the benefits and the risks of doing so, the available options and the financial models and implications associated with the decision.

Research consistently reveals that the main reason for outsourcing contact centre activity is to focus on core competencies, reduce costs and improve quality and effectiveness.

It also shows that, where outsourcing did not work successfully it was because the client organisation outsourced for the wrong reason, for example:

• Failed to specify its requirements clearly, resulting in inappropriate implementation based on assumptions, not agreed facts.

• Did not allow the service provider enough of a profit margin to enable it to provide an adequate service

• Failed to give sufficiently skilled management of the service provider, leading to an irreparable emotional gulf between the two organisations.

In addition, many companies seeking to outsource expect too much too soon. The cost savings from any outsourcing contract are likely to be maximised over many years as processes and operations are refined and improved. A good working relationship, essential to optimise such savings, needs time to develop.

It is vital, therefore, that the company:

• Identify the parts of the business that are non-core and thus appropriate to be outsourced.

• Establish robust reasons for outsourcing and demonstrate the business case for it in order to understand the fully loaded cost implications and return on investment.

• Evaluate total outsourcing against other options for achieving your objectives.

• Define meaningful measures of success and set realistic expectations of the outsourcing contract.

• Commit the appropriate level of experienced resource to managing the outsource relationship.



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