Red Flags to look for when dealing with an outsourcing group or offshore tech support group

Since the day it first became a household name in the corporate world, outsourcing has made immense strides in development, reach, and in diversity.  It now caters to practically any business process a company could ever have, from finance, to marketing, to sales, administration, and even in creative concerns.  The sheer number of services that most outsourcing companies offer today can actually allow a contracting firm to keep localised manpower to a minimum, allowing most of the day-to-day work needs to be done by providers.

This immense development, however, is not without a downside to it.  Just like anything else that encompasses a large number of different concerns and practices, outsourcing is not without valid issues, concerns, and troubles related to such growth and expansion.  These red flags could spell disaster for unwary companies seeking to outsource their tasks elsewhere, as instead of making everything easier and better, they could find that things are instead all the worse.

Sketchy Portfolio

Professing to have done work for big-name brands and popular companies is really nothing new for any service or provider, since it stands as proof of their work, and an example of the level of quality that they do it with.  This is actually among the very first things they highlight when talking to new clients, all the better to convince them that they are in good hands.

It does, however, a company a whole lot of good to do their homework once in a while.  A potential outsourcing or offshore tech support provider may claim to have worked with so-and-so, so as to increase their chances of being selected by a new client.  This being the case, it would not take a whole lot of effort to actually verify if indeed this is true.  A simple call to the company they claim to have worked with, or even a check on the background, news section of the company website, or a little surface research will reveal if indeed this is true.  It goes without saying that unverified claims will definitely work against an outsourcing company, and it could even lead to legal issues later on.  Be sure to check if indeed the claims of a provider are true, it doesn’t take much to do so, as they usually brandish the companies they supposedly have worked with on their website.

Lackluster or Dazzling Expertise

Before anyone can make a sale to anyone, the fine art of the “pitch” must be exercised.  This is where the best foot is put forward, where a sales person seeks to dazzle a customer with their product, in hopes that they buy soon afterwards.  The same holds true for outsourced or offshore providers.  The initial meeting with them is where they are expected to answer the all-important “why should we partner with you” question, and in a way that will satisfy all the possible questions the potential client may have.

This is also where the contracting company should listen well to whatever the provider is pitching, and mix in a liberal amount of technical knowledge in their field or industry, and a gut feel for anything that might sound “off” about what the provider is saying.  There will definitely be cases wherein the provider will embellish their expertise on some things, claiming to be better than they actually are in it.  In other instances, their answer to questions will turn out to only have about thirty percent of substance to it, the rest being hyperbole, or claims they cannot possibly substantiate.  It is a good idea to listen to all of their answers carefull, and see if indeed they know what they claim to know.  This, however, will also necessitate the contracting company to know everything about their product or industry inside out as well, so not to be the victim of a well crafted fib on the part of the provider.

Deadlines, Guarantees, and Workarounds

A clear sign of professionalism is the ability to respect the time of anyone being dealt with.  This shows when a party shows up on time at a meeting, is able to provide a clear-cu schedule when the need arises, or at the very least an acceptable approximation of one, and is open to negotiations or workarounds on possible contingencies.  Showing professionalism at an early stage of possible dealings goes a long way to building better rapport and winning the confidence of potential clients, and reputable outsourcing or offshore solutions providers know this.

If a potential provider cannot even make it to a meeting on time, provide a straightforward answer to valid questions, or even offer a workaround on a possible issue with the service, then this is definitely a red flag in the partnership with them.  While a good deal of policies and rules may be stated in the service agreement, many providers will not hesitate to go above and beyond what they normally would to ensure that the contracting company is satisfied and care for.  This is a good business practice as a satisfied customer is not only a repeat customer, but is also a living, breathing marketing vehicle.

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