Perfecting Service Management

Issue #98

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

SCORE 2006 Symposium -- Going on THIS WEEK!
Join Customer Centricity president Craig Bailey as he moderates one of the tracks at the annual Symposium for Customer Operations and Relationships Exposition, sponsored by Omega Management Group Corp. and the Customer Relationship Management Institute (CRMI). The symposium will be held June 12-15, 2006, at the Seaport Hotel, Boston, MA.

Outsourcing: Maintaining Your Brand/Image
by Craig Bailey

This is the seventh article in our series on maximizing outsourcer relationships. The prior edition covered the topic of process-level integration between you and your outsourcer. We will now review the subject of ensuring the outsourcer effectively represents your brand or image.

Your brand and image are built up or torn down based upon every single touch a prospect or customer has with your firm (including touches with your outsourcer). Remember, for all intents and purposes, to your customer-base and the market-place "THE OUTSOURCER IS YOU." So, have you taken concerted steps to ensure that your outsourcer seamlessly represents your brand or image in the marketplace?

Consider the profile of the people who answer the phone in your inbound telemarketing center, which you have outsourced. If your firm is an enterprise solution provider (of ERP or CRM software, managed services, etc.), should the reps answering the phone be help-desk level? I should think not. The reality is that c-level people are calling in to inquire on your offerings. These individuals expect to engage in consultative conversations, including return-on-investment and other high-level business topics. They expect a high degree of pro-activity, expectations setting and prompt follow-through on all commitments. If you have outsourced merely to save costs in this scenario, you can bet that the folks answering the phone are not at the level you would expect to be engaging with your c-level prospects. And, golden nuggets are dropping on the floor every single day.

Consider your online bookstore, for which you have outsourced warehousing, from order processing through fulfillment. When a customer pays you a visit online, is it a seamless experience, or does it become obvious that there is another firm involved in the process? While it may not be totally obvious, there can be subtleties that give it away. For example, if your firm's web address is www.xyz.com and the email address for your online bookstore is service@outsourcer.com, you've created a distraction in the customer's mind. Some customers may just go visit www.outsourcer.com to find out more about that company, get distracted and not return to your bookstore to buy that book.

Consider your product delivery practices. Do the people who drive the delivery trucks and unload product into your customers' residences or places of business walk on clean carpets with muddy boots, curse or otherwise act rude to your precious customers? While the name on the side of the truck may not be your firm (remember you are leveraging 3rd party shippers), to the customer the delivery team is you!

In summary, there are many aspects of business that we outsource. Some are obvious (outsourced call centers) and some we don't traditionally consider outsourcers (trucking firms), but each is either building up or tearing down your image at every customer touch. What is your outsourcer doing to your brand?

In the next article we will cover the remaining area of inter-company integration: Technology.

In closing, if you'd like an objective perspective on how effectively your outsourcers are representing you in the marketplace, 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. Alternatively, if you are considering outsourcing as an approach to addressing key business needs, we can help you evaluate options (including the basic question: does outsourcing even make sense for us?), consummating the relationship through implementing the standard operating practices to ensure an ongoing and effective relationship. In fact, we have the references to prove it!


View previous articles in this series.

Contents

+ SCORE 2006 Symposium
+ Outsourcing: Maintaining Your Brand/Image
+ Recommended Reading
 


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Recommended Reading
Reinforcing our series on Partnering With Your Outsourcer is CRM Magazine article 7 Strategies for Partnering With Outsourcers by Coreen Bailor. Ms. Bailor discusses how to work with your outsourcer to provide "seamless customer service experience." Sound familiar?


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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