• 8 Signs Your Outsourcing Partnership is in Trouble Part 1

    With this article we are starting a series of posts on the topic of strategic outsourcing and managing outsourcing partnership. The starting point of our discussion will be the major indicators that you need to track and keep an eye on in order to monitor the “good health” of your outsourcing partnership. Let’s start with the examination of the first 4 signs indicating that your outsourcing partnership is in trouble, or at least that it is performing at a suboptimal level.

    outsourcing partnership

    1. Decreasing end-customer satisfaction

    A clear indication that something is not functioning right in your BPO partnership is the consistent decline in customer satisfaction scores. Another indicator for decreasing end-customer satisfaction is the increasing customer attrition post interaction with a particular service provider or facility. Increase in the number of calls escalated also indicates eroding performance.

    Still, before putting the blame on your BPO provider you may want to examine if the decreased satisfaction or increased customer attrition is caused by the underlying product/service, versus it being a function of poor customer service. Also, make sure that you and your BPO provider use the same performance metrics. For example do you ask the same CSAT questions?

    2. Increasing agent attrition/staff rotation

    High attrition rates are common phenomenon among the contact centers. Still, pay attention whether any changes are taking place in the delivery team either due to agent attrition or staff rotation to other accounts. Remember, above average attrition or staff rotations indicate that either your service provider is losing ground on the labor market, or that your account is not as important to your BPO partner. Either of these situations is likely to impact the service quality of your account.

    3. Measuring success exclusively through savings and efficiency

    When the relationship is focused mainly on minimizing cost and maximizing efficiency customer experience and satisfaction gets lost in the equation. It is often the case that even though all metrics are “green” and service levels are being met, users remain dissatisfied.

    Savings and efficiency are of great importance as they form the basis of most outsourcing deals, so don’t get the message from the above paragraph wrong. What we want to emphasize is that focusing attention just on these aspects to measure partnership success is a guaranteed approach to achieve lower customer satisfaction. Conduct of periodic quality health checks to ensure that you are getting an understanding of the overall relationship quality and to ensure strategic alignment at frequent intervals.

    4. Lack of proactive Intent to grow the relationship

    If your BPO partner is not showing intent to add value and grow your account this means that you’ll keep the machine cranking, but you are far from innovating or growing the potential of your BPO relationship to a true partnership. Ask yourself when was the last time your BPO partner took the initiative to share or discuss best practices or ideas to improve customer experience? Does your service provider put emphasis on improving your customer service through periodic planning meetings?

    If you are unable to recall your service provider having those practices than it is clear that your service is performing at a suboptimal level and it is unlikely to result in customer delight. Worse, of course, is if you believe that the overall responsiveness is on the decline – which is a clear indicator that things are turning bad.

    Outsourcing is like a marriage. It takes work from both sides to build a partnership focused on customer delight.

    Stay tuned for Part 2

    Sources:

    Everest Group. “Eight Habits of Highly Ineffective Contact Center Outsourcing RelationshipsTELUS International. Everest Group. 2012.