Offshore tech support groups: on cost, quality, and competitive edge

Any online search for reasons why a company should contract the services of a reputable offshore tech support group would yield a multitude of answers, most of which may or may not actually address the primary concern of the company seeking the reasons to hire an outsourced solutions provider.  This is primarily due to the massive marketing efforts being done to promote the outsourced service, and it is now up to the companies needing the service to decide which particular provider to pick.

To help these companies decide better, it is quite important to remember to simplify the end goals for contracting an outsourced service, research well for providers that have a solution for the pertinent issues, and then determine if the chosen provider is one that would work best as a solution for the needs of the company.

Once a potential provider has been isolated, it would be beneficial for the company to consider a few things to better assess if indeed contracting the services of the provider would be best for the company

Is the overall cost beneficial to the company?

One of the main reasons why companies outsource is that ultimately, the overall expense should be such that is beneficial to the company.  This is mostly because localised labor can be quite costly, depending upon location, and outsourcing can be a workaround to this.

If, however, the ultimate cost of outsourcing a task results in greater overhead expense, the company stands to actually lose revenue, instead of earning it.  Be sure to understand the rates of potential providers, look at whether it may appear to be expensive as cash-out, but in reality, quite cost-effective when you consider everything else.  Many offshore tech support providers are known to have readily available rate cards commensurate to the services or solutions offered, and some are even amenable to tailoring the services they have to better suit a potential client, as in the case of companies that have specialised needs and functions.

Is the quality of a level at par with company standards?

There are providers in operation today, particularly offshore ones, that are actually in their relatively early stages, much like a start-up.  This is not to say that young companies are not capable of delivering high quality service, rather, because of the relatively young nature of the company, it may not be fully aware of the standards which a particular company has become known for in the industry.

This holds true even more for companies that have been around for quite some time, who have a customer base who would not patronize any other brand or business, because they have grown accustomed to the superior quality offered by the brand.  If the outsourced provider cannot step up to the level of quality expected of the brand, then it would be best to look for a solution elsewhere.  These providers should be savvy enough to understandthe kind of quality associated with the brands they are dealing with, and how the market has come to expect no less than this quality from the brand.  This would actually show how much a potential provider understands about the company they are dealing with, rather than just going through the motions to see the job finished at the agreed upon schedule.

Is the provider able to offer an actual competitive edge to the business?

While it may be understood that service agreements may state all the standard arrangements between the contracting company and the provider, there are some providers who actually offer a service or a function that would give their client company a competitive edge in the industry.  The ability to offer a competitive edge to clients has become something of a unique selling point to providers, adding credence to their pitch when trying to get a client on board.

From a business perspective, it is not uncommon to ask what additional function or service a provider can offer, even if it does cost a little more, to the client, so as to afford them a competitive edge.  There are providers who actually proffer this feature to clients even before the clients get to ask, so it may be a good idea to be on the lookout for such offers whenever seeking a provider for the company.

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