How fast-growing companies can use outsourcing to scale business - TELUS International Europe
  • How fast-growing companies can use outsourcing to scale business

    March 30, 2017

    OutsourcingIn order to scale business efficiently, fast-growing companies need to be agile and smart with time and resources.

    These companies also need a comprehensive view on how they want their customer service offering to operate — and whether they’re equipped to deliver the best hands-on support to their customers.

    Every business has its core competencies. For example, if you run a restaurant-supply-chain management company, your core competency is likely delivering fresh food to local eateries. Or, if you run a fast-growing tech company like Uber or Lyft, your core competency is offering a platform that matches drivers with those in need of a ride.

    But there is a whole lot more to running a successful business than developing core strengths. For example, in addition to matching riders with drivers, Lyft must vet its drivers, run a payment platform, and handle customer inquiries and complaints. These activities, which sit outside of the primary mission of the company, are all essential to the business continuing to run smoothly.

    If there is one solution that many business owners and senior managers agree on, it’s that when your business must solve problems outside of your company’s core competencies, it often makes sense to outsource. A trusted and specialized business process or contact center outsourcing partner can complete a number of tasks more efficiently, at lower costs and at higher volumes.

    Identify your pain points

    Outsourcing non-core tasks can be a savior to both early and later-stage start-ups, freeing founders and in-house staff to focus on what they do best.

    Frank Fredericks, the CEO of Mean Communications, a consulting firm for NGOs and start-ups, says figuring out where a young firm needs outside help requires self-reflection. “It’s really about identifying your own pain points. It’s like a Venn diagram exercise; I list where I lose the most time, what would be cheapest to hire someone to do and what I hate doing. I look for what ends up in the center overlap of the diagram,” Fredricks explains. “From that list, I prioritize it by what requires the least training. I try testing out the idea of outsourcing a task or process in a small, low risk way, and then scale from there.” With the scale of the outsourced process staying relative to the size of the business.

    In-house tasks vs. outsourced tasks

    The Venn diagram exercise is a particular device that can help founders understand what could be easily outsourced when looking to streamline for efficiency. “Just understanding your core competency as a business is a helpful starting-off place,” says Greg Moran, CEO of Zoomcar, one of India’s fastest growing start-ups in the car-rental sphere “We outsource our vehicle home-delivery service, [using] a third-party driver service that does on-demand manpower. We outsource because it’s a more efficient usage of capital and we don’t have any specific competency in manpower services.”

    However, Moran cautions against the common tendency to look at outsourcing from a purely economic lens. “The decision to outsource should be driven in tandem by customer experience and cost,” he continues. Providing both your employees and customers with the best experience can be done through smart outsourcing. Moran is adamant that customer experience should never be devalued; thus it is important to make sure that you outsource to partners that you can trust to deliver high-value service on the brand you have built up.

    Another approach is to start with administrative work before outsourcing higher-value transactions. “Typically, in the early stages of growth, the first thing I will outsource is my back office,” says Peter Polydor, CEO of Ergo Capital, a venture-capital firm that supports high-growth companies. By outsourcing back-office administration tasks, fast-growing companies are able to streamline their customer management needs, while remaining focused on their core business.

    Selecting a location

    When it comes to an outsourcing location, there are several factors to consider — namely, distance, cost and culture.

    Take the Philippines, for instance. It’s among the most westernized Asian nations, and labor costs remain relatively low, especially for a highly skilled workforce that is more than 90 percent proficient with American English. However, the sheer distance can be unappealing to some companies looking for a more hands-on approach to their outsourcing partnership.

    Alternatively, there are nearshore options like Central America which are only a short, and often direct, flight away. With a strong cultural affinity to the United States and an impressive bilingual talent pool of workers, Central America is one of the fastest growing outsourcing destinations in the industry.

    For a small or medium-sized business that intends to operate exclusively in its region, a nearshore location may be a good way to expand customer service while retaining a lean in-house team. For example, a company may want to hire a nearshore partner to handle the customer service phone calls, while the company itself manages social media and chat.

    But if a business has — or intends to have — a truly global reach, hiring an outsourcing partner that operates in multiple countries is an ideal scenario given their multilingual support needs and desire to maintain cultural expectations.

    Finding a trusted outsourcing partner

    Outsourcing helps companies remain agile enough to keep up a tight, fast-paced production schedule as they scale their business. Finding a trusted outsourcing partner often takes a little bit of asking around to industry peers and researching potential candidates, says Moran. “It’s always best to work off a reference. That makes it much easier overall,” he says.

    Cultural fit is also an important quality, as an outsourcing partner ultimately serves as an extension of your brand. By ensuring an alignment of values, priorities and objectives, you can rest assured knowing your outsourcing partner is delivering the brand experience you would expect to deliver internally.

    Once you find an outsourcing partner that meets your needs and get your workflow going, the possibilities for growth are endless.


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