This Post Originally Appeared on CEPro.com on March 29, 2017
Outsourcing can be a great way to enhance operational efficiency. But finding the right partner is hard. Here are three simple keys to success…
Recently, I went through the experience of hiring an outside company to handle our bookkeeping at OneVision Resources. Determined to find the right partner, I interviewed seven different firms. Ultimately, I ended up hiring the company that looked most like us in terms of how they approach these outsourced partnerships, even though other companies seemed capable and had lower fees.
I couldn’t help but reflect on my decision in the context of my own company. I believe outsourcing will play an increasingly important role in our line of work, particularly when it comes to service.
These relationships are hard. You’re trusting your brand to another provider and relying on them to lead you through the development of new processes for your company.
However, success is possible. I believe it comes down to three key factors.
1. Aligned Incentives
Finding the right partner requires that incentives be deeply aligned.
Consider a simple example: you are evaluating two different outsourced design and engineering firms. One wants to bill hourly and the other is willing to offer a flat rate per project. All other things being equal, the flat rate option is likely a better choice as their incentive to work accurately and efficiently is clearly in your best interest.
In a similar vein, here at OneVision we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that our incentives are completely aligned with our partners’. Our one and only goal is to help our partners create an excellent customer service experience for their clients. Our mission isn’t about selling you more boxes. And while we do operate a “call center” (though we look far from it), our pricing structure is designed to cover those costs, not make money from it.
This is important because we recognize that if our call center were a primary profit driver, we would have an implied incentive to keep call volume up, which is not necessarily in our partner’s best interest.
Instead, we tie our monetary success to that of our partners through an RMR share. By subsidizing our call center operations in this way, we ensure that our incentives are perfectly aligned with our partners.
2. Outsourcing Partner Development
It is also important to look for an outsourcing partner who doesn’t simply provide a transactional service, but provides resources and tools to help you improve your business.
Going back to our outsourced design example, you may have one firm that simply generates proposals based on your direct input, while the other gets actively involved in the design process, providing guidance and consultation to help improve your process.
Clearly, there is value in the expertise the latter can bring to your business.
Here at OneVision, we recognize the importance of this consultative approach and, due to our aligned incentives, are dependent on the success of our efforts in order to build a profitable RMR-generating business. To that end, we have recently made a substantial investment by creating a dedicated Partner Development team here at the company and specifically highlighting the effort on our website.
We’ve hired Jason Griffing, a veteran integrator and industry-focused content creator, to literally write the “playbook” on operational excellence in service. We’ve also brought on Alex Boyle, a service veteran and former Apple Store trainer, to work directly with our partners on implementation.
We are very excited to have this team in place, and know that their efforts will play a significant role in helping our partners find success with service and RMR.
3. Turnkey Solutions
A third critical factor is to look for outsourcing partners who provide turnkey solutions. This rings particularly true in the area of service where our industry has been struggling to make meaningful progress.
The reason for this lies in the fact that service is not a simple endeavor; it’s an entirely new and significant division within your company with significant resource investment (time and money).
We’ve found that many integrators simply lack the bandwidth to spin up the processes and tools necessary to create an excellent service operation.
Our OneVision Service Suite is aimed squarely at removing this critical bottleneck. From setting up ticketing systems, quick communication tools, call and email management tools, email marketing campaigns, landing pages and more, we provide our clients with a turnkey approach to successfully monetizing on service.
Thinking Long Term
Finding a trusted outsourcing partner is a long term investment, so it’s important to weigh your options carefully. By looking for a company with deeply aligned incentives, who invests in their partners, and who offers turnkey solutions, you can ensure that your investment will pay dividends.
Not only will this partnership allow you to remain focused on the core parts of your business, but by leveraging the expertise of outside companies you can outpace your competition in achieving operational excellence.
Are you a business owner or service manager? Did you find this article helpful? If so, check out this post as well – 5 Essential Tools for RMR Success.
There are plenty of articles in our blog that you might find helpful. Or even better, use the contact form below if you want help taking your service and RMR efforts to the next level!