When you as company decision-makers and managers what the biggest challenges for a successful outsourcing relationship with vendors is, it is far more likely than not that they will identify communication as one of those challenges.
Despite the huge leaps in communication technology, we are still not in a situation when outsourced partners are as present and as reachable as people who work on the premises. Luckily, there are ways in which we can encourage communication with outsourced partners and, subsequently, achieve better results from this collaboration.
Find the Right Outsourcing Partner
It should be pointed out that not all companies you can hire as outsourced partners are the same. Just like with anything else, you will find those that are great at what they do and those whose services can be found a bit lacking. Those companies that are not exactly top of the line will probably give you more headache communication-wise than those that really excel.
Namely, all great companies that provide services as outsourced partners understand the need for great communication and they will make you feel like you really do have a partner out there and not just someone who is taking money out of your pocket every month.
If you are not certain that you can recognize a great outsourcing partner, a good idea would be to consult a company like Globality Consulting that can help you with this.
Be Clear about what you Want
Unless you are clear and direct with your outsourced partners early in your relationship, you cannot expect the lines of communication to remain open and to have any kind of a to-and-fro relationship where everything that needs to be discussed actually is discussed.
When discussing the terms of your future partnership, it is necessary that you ask your new partners how they handle communication with the companies they provide services for and whether they have any questions before you get into this business partnership of sorts.
You should also be very upfront and tell them exactly what you want from them and how you will want to clear up any future misunderstandings or changes to your relationship. If they seem uneasy committing to anything like that, do not back down and ensure they will be available to you and your people.
Take Advantage of Technology
One of the main reasons why outsourcing has become so popular over the last couple of years are the many leaps that communication technologies have made. In the past, you were reduced to conference calls which often descended into anarchy as lines were broken, different parties struggled to hear or convey their message.
It was a mess. And an expensive mess, at that.
Nowadays, you can take advantage of the innumerable ways of communication that are possible via the internet, from video calls which reduce the chances of misunderstanding to chat software which allows for quick resolutions of burning issues.
In case you use some kind of an intranet solution, you might even consider giving your outsourced partners limited access to certain parts of it; those parts that would allow them to do their job better and to communicate with your employees. If you do this, you have to ensure that their cybersecurity system is up to code and that you are not putting your company in any jeopardy.
Don’t Presume Anything
There is a line from an early Guy Ritchie’s movie which is a bit rude so we will not be writing it here, but the idea behind it is that presumption is the most common cause for all kinds of problems.
When we are talking an outsourced partnership, this is perhaps even truer than for other business situations since there are not people who are directly in your employ and who may not be familiar with the way you do things.
If you suspect they will have problems with a certain aspect of your account, make sure that you clear everything up before mistakes are made.
For example, until you are certain that your outsourced customer service representative understands your policies to the tiniest detail, go over it again and again. If you also employ some kind of mobile marketing automation, make sure your outsourced marketing agency is not doing anything that would undermine these efforts of yours, and vice versa.
If it requires innumerable emails and hour-long video chats, then so be it.
Your business is at stake and you cannot afford to have it put in danger because someone didn’t understand what their assignment was.
Above everything, encourage communication. Do not shy away from being boring and even annoying.