Outsourcing: Assembling Your Best Options
By Tracey Schelmetic, Editorial Director
Customer Interaction Solutions® magazine
Lately, the business headlines scream daily about their best advice for conducting business and outsourcing. Outsource everything to India! Stay put! Partner with a firm in the Caribbean! Co-source to the Philippines! Move to a cheaper domestic location! Send all your agents to work from home!
Maybe all of them. “Moderation in all things,” said Terence, an ancient Roman comic dramatist (who lived back in the time when “outsourcing” referred to hiring mercenaries to sack Carthage). Is it shocking to suggest that the best solution to conducting business nowadays is to take a little from Column A, a little from Column B and a little from Column C, and combine them in a balance that’s right for your company?
Technology changes the landscape for outsourcing almost weekly. The array of networking and data technologies available today allows the most seemingly haphazard arrangement of buildings, countries, call centers, managers and personnel — a help desk in the Philippines, a work group of agents in Des Moines, their manager on a working vacation in Florida, a sales guy lost on Interstate 80 somewhere in Pennsylvania, some Spanish-speaking agents in Texas, Albert the Warehouse Guy on his lunch break over a pastrami on rye in Moe’s Diner, and the billing people at corporate headquarters — can easily be “glued together” by technology to the point that the customer has no idea they’re not all in the same room with one another.
Sound expensive? It’s not…compared to the costs of “traditional” (read: “old fashioned and quaint”) systems of the not-so-distant past. Costs splashed out on newer technologies are recouped on the savings in long-distance bills, expensively located call centers, agent turnover, inefficiencies and customer churn.
Am I saying your company CFO isn’t going to bounce off all four walls when you propose these types of new technology and overhead investments to him? Of course not — that’s what CFOs do. But after you leave his office and let him look over your proposal, more likely than not, he’ll agree with Terence of Rome: mixed solutions, interoperable and in moderation, lead to better things.
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