Fun things happen when you earn dollars, live on pesos, and compensate in rupees, but that’s just the – Timothy Ferriss, Author, and Entrepreneur
A lot can happen in the time between realizing that your company needs to outsource in order to scale and actually having the will to outsource those necessary skills to someone else.
One of the main reasons behind the mental inertia isn’t procrastination but worry. “What if you pick the wrong people and your systems collapse?” or “What exactly do you need to know before outsourcing to the Philippines, for instance?”
A lot can be said about outsourcing to a country like India, for instance, but outsourcing customer care to such a location these days doesn’t seem to be worth the investment. Enter the Philippines. As a major emerging market, the Philippines has an ever-increasing and globalized workforce which is able to relate to western life, without a huge cultural barrier. This makes outsourcing to the Philippines exceptionally attractive!
1. The Rule: Always outsource to a team that can relate to your corporate culture
Many companies that outsource to an offshore labor force do so with costs in mind and forget that their offshore team will be operating under a completely different corporate and societal culture. Nevermind being English speaking, one reason that the Philippines is an ideal outsourcing location is that the workforce has already undergone a school system which is very similar to the US education system.
“What about infrastructure?” you might ask. While India does have a long history with business process outsourcing, when you choose to move your outsourcing needs to somewhere like the Philippines, many of the BPO companies understand American corporate culture and mitigate risks. As Tim Ferriss once mentioned, when you’re sending tasks to an offshore team based in India, context is king. They will not automatically understand what you’re saying because they don’t understand the pop-culture references and they don’t speak English at a native level.
This had made a lot of people wonder if it’s possible to take an American workforce and move them offshore, where costs will be kept down, look no further than Clark in the Philippines. Clark was once an American Air Force base, till the 80s. Then it was repurposed and made into a freeport zone. This fact alone should prove that outsourcing your business processes to the Philippines is the best option!
Unlike other countries, the average commute for Clark’s workforce is a good 30 to 45 minutes, whereas commute in India can take up to 1 hour.
Rules aside, the checklist has 10 other points to take into account when looking to outsource business process outsourcing.
2. A full deck
When shopping for an offshore business process outsourcing company, no matter where they’re based, look for the words, “omnichannel”. This means that they won’t only provide back-office support or customer care and they will most certainly enable you to keep track of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Remember the old saying, “jack-of-all-trades and master of none?” This is where it comes into play. Always look for a business process outsourcing company which specializes in servicing a particular industry, for instance providing support to VC-backed Silicon Valley startups. Are they able to scale both the biggest names in tech, like Fortune 500 companies as well as small startups? If their services apply to your company, they are worth your time.
4. Staff Morale
This one isn’t completely obvious, but once you’ve shortlisted some teams, as part of your due-diligence, find out what the company culture is at head office. If they don’t have one, they’ve got to go! The risks of hiring a team that works under conditions which are extremely demanding, yet providing very little relief, results in employees that either do the bare minimum or completely disregard projects. Something as simple as a “Pizza Monday” or “leave-work-early Friday” can mean the difference between an irritated workforce or a compliant one.
You’re moving your offices offshore, why should you spend even more money on top of that trying to make things look more homely? A BPO service provider worth their weight in gold should already be able to utilize your existing knowledge base and complete the onboarding process for you. They should be able to guide you on your way to automation while providing zero inconveniences for your current customers. Should any issues arise, i.e. bugs, they should be able to handle them immediately and report back on what the solution was.
6. Phone Confidence
While this is all the way down at the sixth place, this is hardly a quality that you should overlook. While a lot of customers are put off by the idea of outsourcing, if they receive welcome calls within 5 minutes of giving you their business, your leads are bound to increase by 100%. Welcome, and feedback calls can, however, have a negative effect if the wrong person happens to be on the line. Outsourcing your business processes to the Philippines means that your customers will receive welcome calls without a noticeable accent on the other end of the line. If you want to increase your adoption rates, it’s not a chance that you should miss out on.
7. Customer Satisfaction Management
Besides simply following your instructions, an ideal offshore team will anticipate your needs by watching how your customers utilize your services and offering customers upsells (without you having to ask them) and other conversions. They should also be able to integrate into your email management system and create helpdesk tickets in order for your customers to reap the benefits. Being able to respond to emails is not enough, however. Your offshore team should be savvy enough to chat with your customers and increase your adoption rate via those avenues as well. Outsourcing to the Philippines works because they already have an incredibly computer literate workforce, which knows how to handle your customers’ 24/7/365 needs.
8. Your Go-To Person
While you’re outsourcing a team, you’re not going to be able to manage the entire team in one go. This is where a manager of some sort would come in. The best business process outsourcing companies have a success manager who works alongside the client utilizing a dedicated communication channel and liaise with you about how your team is doing. This person would be who you communicate with as well when you want anything done. If a business process outsourcing company doesn’t have anything like that, give them the ax!
9. Human Resources
It goes without saying that scaling your company will require new hires, and as you go on with your journey, you’ll need to integrate even more specialized skills into your company. Since scaling is part of the reason why work is outsourced, you should not be paying extra for recruitment. A good business process outsourcing company will take the lead in finding the right team members to join your team, and they should do it at no extra cost, no matter how many candidates you need or how many times you need to hire new employees!
10. A Guarantee
When you purchase new hardware for your company — hardware which is supposed to help you scale your company, you receive a service warranty which allows you to either fix the hardware if something goes wrong or completely replace the hardware with something new. The same goes for an outsourced team. You should be able to replace someone who isn’t performing properly at no extra cost. For the most part, as communication will be on a colloquial level, there will be less misunderstanding between you and your Philippines based offshore team.
With all this being said, being able to automate is the miracle of the 21st century. Thanks in part to our inter-connectedness, we’re able to learn from each other and leverage each other’s experiences, knowledge, and voices.
Here’s to your future success!