- Mark Hardenbergh
Creating Long-term Outsourcing Partnerships: 3 Important Elements
Many end-of-term contact center outsourcing contracts are not renewed. How can buyers and providers increase the likelihood of contract renewals, value-driven partnerships and differentiated outcomes? It actually requires both parties to invest in the relationship right from the beginning. Building a strong foundation by creating connectivity, deepening mutual business knowledge, and driving innovation and quality improves buyer/provider relationships and increases customer satisfaction. Furthermore, long-term partnerships create financial benefits and brand protection.
Engagement starts with developing a communication plan and governance model designed to create meaningful connections at all levels within a partnership. Executive and senior leadership presence (on both sides) indicates commitment and investment in the relationship, and should be managed through an executive steering committee.
However, it doesn’t stop at the top. Everyone needs to feel valued and part of the process for true success and long-term viability. Engaging agents with a client’s brand and culture is absolutely crucial. Agents who feel they are part of the team bring passion and commitment to their role, taking ownership and delivering a better customer experience.
Buyers often underestimate the importance of their role in driving engagement. Buyers need to be visible and involved. Agents are smart, and they can tell when the provider and the client are walking the walk together, not just delivering lip service.
Deepen Mutual Business Knowledge
A successful provider is more than an extension of a client – they are a critical part of the client’s brand.
Successful providers understand their client’s overall business direction and objectives. And, buyers need to know the same of their providers. Both participants need to take the time necessary to educate one another in these matters in order to serve each other in the best possible way. This level of commitment and communication must exist to establish a mutually beneficial relationship, with both parties focused on one goal and acting as one brand.
Drive Innovation and Quality
Successful companies make innovation a repeatable process. Providers need to deliver innovation across the service operation – recruitment, training, quality, and more. Quality mutual agreements plan for innovation by incorporating the right metrics and incentives, as well as including innovation as a standing agenda item in Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs).
All contact centers, outsourced or not, experience some level of stress around quality. Focusing on cost and operating efficiency at the expense of customer experience is a key driver of quality stress. Efficiency and effectiveness measures are always relevant. Committing to business outcome measures like Net Promoter Score and Customer Effort Score allow providers and buyers to drive a more invested partnership and deliver a better, customer-focused experience.
The Bottom Line
Engaged outsourcing relationships don’t just happen—they are purposefully built. Buyers hire service providers to deliver the resources and expertise to more efficiently meet the needs of their customers, while service providers look to the buyer for the knowledge and direction to achieve better results. It’s a symbiotic relationship that requires extensive collaboration, effort and planning to reach mutually beneficial outcomes. In the end, the outsourcing partnerships that stick are the ones in which both parties are committed to achieving a value-driven service model beyond cost savings.
It’s a symbiotic relationship that requires extensive collaboration, effort and planning to reach mutually beneficial outcomes. In the end, the outsourcing partnerships that stick are the ones in which both parties are committed to achieving a value-driven service model beyond cost savings.