Do you need help with your business, but don’t have the budget to hire in-house employees? Outsourcing your tasks to an outsourcing agency can be a great way to improve efficiency and get things done while also saving money. However, there are many outsourcers to choose from, so how do you pick the right one? This guide will walk you through how to find the right outsourcing agency for your business needs.
Do your research
As with any hiring decision, you must do your research. Ask around and compare service providers and their packages, which should all be listed on their websites. You can also ask other business owners who they use and what they think of them. There are many review sites where companies rate outsourcing agencies as well (my staff personally recommends Clutch). The more information you gather, the better off you’ll be in choosing a top-notch agency.
Select at least one of these points for elaboration. Write a sub-paragraph for each point you select. You should have at least three sub-points in total, including your opening paragraph. The order of these will be reversed from your introduction (i.e., 3rd sub-point becomes your 2nd paragraph). In other words, you’re going from most general to most specific/detailed
Your third sub-point should be no more than 1 paragraph long. The idea here is not to simply reiterate your previous point but to elaborate on it with a specific example or experience. Be sure to cite a source if you’re referring directly to that source for information.
Identify a few different companies
There are thousands of companies out there that can provide customer support outsourcing, so it’s hard to know exactly where to begin. In any case, you want to be looking for a company that will not only handle customer service requests but also assists with your knowledge base and internal training. You should also make sure they have experience working with companies in your niche.
One of my favorite tools for identifying companies that provide outsourced customer support is Scrunch. With Scrunch, you can search specifically for companies that offer on-demand, freelance customer service representatives and see their ratings as well as what they specialize in. After a little bit of trial and error, you should be able to zero in on a few different companies which will be best suited for your business.
Another great way to find outsourcing agencies is through your network. Let people know that you’re looking for a company with good customer service and someone will usually point you in the right direction.
Decide what you need to do
There are many ways you can find an outsourcing agency, but if you’re thinking about hiring one, you need to be sure that they have a great deal of experience in providing outsourced customer support for businesses. You’ll also want to make sure that they specialize in working with specific types of industries. If your business is a technology-based startup, for example, you may want to work with a vendor who has proven experience working within tech startups and will provide support tailored specifically toward your industry.
Don’t waste time interviewing an agency whose expertise doesn’t align with your business. You want your outsourced customer support team to be attuned to what you need and what will resonate with customers.
You may also want to find a provider who can provide customer support in multiple languages. For example, if your company is international and English isn’t your primary language, it may be beneficial for you to work with a vendor who specializes in providing support in multiple languages.
Brainstorm sample work
What is outsourcing agencies doing these days? There are two broad categories of outsourcing: business process outsourcing (BPO) and IT service delivery. Business process outsourcing is when a company decides it’s not practical or cost-effective to perform one or more functions in-house, so they outsource them. Some typical types of business processes outsourced are call centers, accounting, information technology support, and data entry.
There are several types of IT service delivery, including managed services and cloud computing. Cloud computing involves purchasing a chunk of processing power and storage space from a third-party provider and using it as if it were your own. A small business might use some part of its IT budget to rent a server on which it can store files, while a large business might use cloud computing for everything from HR functions to marketing.
There are other types of outsourced services, but they’re not as common in business process outsourcing. They might be more familiar if you’ve ever purchased a new software package or hardware device and had someone else install it for you. You give them access to your data so they can work on it, then get their product back and install it yourself or hand it off to your IT department.
Determine the budget
Before you begin looking for an outsourcing agency, you need to establish a budget. Depending on your business needs, you may want several different outsourcers handling different aspects of your operation. For example, you might want one firm that handles graphic design, another that creates and edits copy, and a third that deals with technical issues. The important thing is not how many firms you work with but rather making sure your small business can afford them all.
Next, you need to determine what type of outsourcing will work best for your business. Do you want one firm that can handle all of your needs or several firms that each handle a different aspect? If your company’s needs are complex enough, you may need three or four different types of outsourcing. You also should consider how long you think it will take to complete your projects and decide if a firm can meet those deadlines.
Once you know what type of outsourcing will work best for your business, you need to find companies that provide those services. The easiest way is by conducting an online search for outsourcing agencies or Outsourcing firms and looking at reviews. Take note of firms that seem like a good fit, then visit their websites and review their portfolios.
Outline project details in RFP
Before you start looking for outsourcing companies, it’s a good idea to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) that outlines project details and your requirements. Make sure you share your RFP with potential candidates so they know exactly what you expect. You can learn more about writing a strong RFP here.
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Review and select proposals/bids
One of the outsourcing’s biggest draws is its affordability. With some companies, you can hire full-time staff at hourly rates less than you’d pay an employee to work a single day. But remember that budget is only one part of hiring. Just because a company will do your work for cheap doesn’t mean it will be high quality.
You should also ask yourself whether you trust your potential outsourcer. If you’re handing over control of a vital part of your business, that company needs to be accountable and trustworthy.
Finally, you should also consider whether there will be cultural conflicts between your company and your outsourcer. If you’re operating in a different country, language barriers could create issues with communication. And if you’re hiring someone with significantly different values or corporate culture, that mismatch could damage your business.
Choose a winning bid based on various factors
You will want to look for competitive pricing in choosing an outsourcing agency, but it is not always wise to choose a low-price bid. You will also want to consider skill level and experience, portfolio quality, and client satisfaction when choosing who you would like your project handled by. Don’t underestimate how important customer satisfaction is when considering a provider; if they aren’t good at what they do, they won’t be in business for long!
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If you plan on outsourcing a task, you’ll need to find and vet potential partners, which takes time and effort. But by understanding all of your options, it’s possible to find and work with a partner who’s up for whatever challenge you throw at them.
Whatever task you need to be done, there’s probably a freelancer or outsourcer out there ready to take it on. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into before diving in. Once you do, outsourcing tasks can save your business time and money while also improving your bottom line.
As with anything else, there are risks involved with outsourcing. But by taking your time and following these guidelines, you can find a partner who’s right for you—without wasting any time or money.