Perfecting Service Management

Issue #92

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Join Craig Bailey for Seminar in Malaysia
If you are considering embarking on the journey to becoming customer centric, join Customer Centricity president Craig Bailey as he delivers a 2-day seminar entitled Customer Centricity - Leveraging the Voice of the Customer to Maximize Business Results on 17-18 April, 2006, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The seminar, organized in conjunction with Global Intelligence Networks, will cover strategic and tactical approaches to becoming customer centric. Stay tuned for more details.

Partnering with your Outsourcer
by Craig Bailey

In today's business world, outsourcing is a common practice enabling a firm to focus on its core competencies, reach new markets and reduce costs. Business areas that can be outsourced include customer service, technical support, telemarketing and fulfillment, just to name a few. In all cases, your outsourcer is performing as the face of your company to the customer and marketplace. We've all heard the debacles associated with outsourcing. The objective of this newsletter series is to help you to achieve the anticipated benefits from outsourcing.

We will cover this topic in the following segments:

  Partner or vendor?

  Executive ownership and tactical direction

  Establishing and managing to policy

  Creating realistic, aligned and measurable goals

  Inclusion within the inner circle


Partner or Vendor?

So, how is your outsourcer representing your firm to your customer base and market? To a great degree, the answer to this question directly relates to how you manage, even treat, your outsourcer. Do you treat your outsourcer as a vendor or partner? Let's look at the definition of the two terms:

  • Vendor: A supplier of goods or services, such as a printer or a service bureau.
  • Partner: A collaborator; an associate who works with others toward a common goal.

If you consider the outsourcer an extension of your team, with the expectation that they will effectively represent your firm to the customer, then I'd suggest you want to develop a strong partner relationship. While this may be the intention, the reality may be quite different. For example, does your outsourcer take a beating about the head and neck on a monthly, weekly even daily basis from your firm? To be clear, there may be very good reason for concern. However, I'd suggest that beating up your outsourcer will NEVER lead to a partner relationship.

Do you apply significant pressure to get the most out of the outsourcer at the least possible cost? Getting the best value for your investment is definitely important. However, are you forcing your outsourcer into an unprofitable relationship with your firm? If all of their customers were like you could they sustain their business operations?

In the upcoming articles we will share approaches for you to establish:

  • clear ownership of the outsourced relationship, with consistent direction provided on both a strategic and tactical level
  • clear policies and procedures, with measurable goals that you can manage to, and that are aligned with the achievement of a common objective (of the relationship)
  • an intimate working relationship by bringing the outsourcer into your inner circle vs. keeping them at arms-length distance

These are just some of the important aspects of an effective partnership that we look forward to sharing with you. In the meantime, I'd suggest that instead of beating on your vendor, focus on the common objectives of the relationship (what is good) and put plans in place to achieve those objectives. Emphasizing the positive rather than just the negative will yield a healthier partnership.

In closing, if you'd like an objective perspective on how effectively you are managing your outsourcer relationships, give us a call. We would be happy to perform a situational assessment, providing you a read-out of what is working well (to keep doing), opportunities for improvement and a pragmatic road-map for closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be.


+ Partnering with your Outsourcer
+ Recommended Reading

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Article in CRM Today
Is there a Governor on your Telemarketing Program? by Craig Bailey has been published in CRM Today magazine. Go ahead and check it out!

Recommended Reading
CRMGuru article The Trust Equation by Michael Lowenstein focuses on the importance of trust in achieving staff loyalty, commitment and productivity, which ultimately leads to a better customer experience. Mr. Lowenstein suggests changing the mantra from "focus on the customer" to "focus on your employees because of your customers." And instilling a sense of trust will empower your employees to focus on your customers.

About Customer Centricity, Inc.
We strengthen overall company performance through better service delivery and management.

We boost efficiencies in front-line customer service and technical support teams, order processing, fulfillment, field service, logistics and other key operations functions.

In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

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