FINANCIALS: Robert Walters sees huge potential for growth of UK outsourcing business

Year-on-year annual profits are up 80% at Robert Walters and the group’s chief executive sees “huge potential” for further growth of the global professional services staffing specialist’s outsourcing business in the UK.

The group’s results for the year ended 31 December 2014, published this morning [26 February], reveal net fee income increased by 8% to £215.3m in 2014 from £199.2m in 2013.

Meanwhile, revenues grew from £597.7m in 2013 to £679.6m in 2014, along with profit before tax rising 80% to £18.2m year-on-year from £10.1m in 2013.

Commenting on projections for growth of the firm’s UK business, CEO Robert Walters told Recruiter while he expects “more of the same” on the recruitment front, there’s huge potential for the group’s outsourcing business in the UK.

“When it comes to outsourcing, that can grow quite rapidly,” he said. “That can grow like an ad agency where you can win a big client that can transform your business. We’re doing quite well in that.”

Further afield, Recruiter revealed last month the group was looking into opening an office in the state of Penang, to the North of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Robert Walters’ chief operating officer Giles Daubeney, who has just returned from the region, told Recruiter he now expects the office to open before the end of this year.

“We’re currently continuing to do our research in that market,” he said. “We have been looking at one or two potential people, externally and internally, to launch that market for us.

“The key to this is finding the right person either internally, which is the preference, or externally to open and run that business for us.”

Source: Recruiter-FINANCIALS: Robert Walters sees huge potential for growth of UK outsourcing business

Telecoms Media & Technology Marketplace Analysis

As the domicile of many international banks, data protection continues to drive an increased share of work in this field, along with traditional outsourcing services. In particular, lawyers have reported ongoing compliance issues as concerns are raised over the security of company and client data. Concurrently, the Swiss federal government has looked to reform the telecoms market after its 2014 report concluded that the Telecommunications Act does not adequately provide for developments in the field and should be revised. As the TMT sector continues to develop, we have selected 36 lawyers for their stand-out expertise in these areas.

Walder Wyss delivers a highly impressive array of leading lawyers in this space. As a result, it is regularly cited as the market leader in information technology and telecommunications law. The “excellent” Didier Sangiorgio is without doubt “one of the stars of the industry”; he advises on an array of TMT transactions and global outsourcing projects. Jürg Schneider draws widespread praise from his peers for his “technical brilliance”. He is considered a leading lawyer in licensing, outsourcing and data protection. Mark Reutter is “brilliant to work with”, according to peers. He is “solutions-oriented” and “very pragmatic”, as well as a “go-to lawyer” for outsourcing transactions. Hans Rudolf Trüeb is an “exceptional handler” of technology transfers, licensing, distribution, cooperation and outsourcing projects. His “excellent market knowledge” is complimented by his “intellectual and creative approach”. Bernhard Heusler reinforced the Walder Wyss team in 2014. He is an “established practitioner” and “a key figure in the market”, especially in relation to outsourcing projects. Michael Isler is “a talented lawyer” who regularly advises in complex ICT, outsourcing and technology transfers.

Homburger has an established practice in the IT field that performs very well in our research. David Rosenthal is one of the most prominent data protection experts in the country. He is a “walking library of information”, according to peers. Georg Rauber, head of the IP and IT practice group, focuses on IT projects and outsourcing. He is an “intelligent and practical lawyer” who is widely respected for his longstanding practice in the industry. Gregor Bühler is well known for his data protection work. He is “attentive and pragmatic”, according to clients.

The boutique firm epartners Rechtsanwälte stands out for its expertise. Urs Egli, a founding partner of the firm, receives widespread acclaim for his “knowledgeable, highly competent and professional approach”. He has developed “excellent” relationships with his clients based on a “solutions-oriented” methodology. Alexander Schmid focuses his practice on contract law; in particular, IT outsourcing agreements, licensing, maintenance and service agreements. He is described as “an excellent lawyer with both a computer science background and a commercially oriented approach”.

Schellenberg Wittmer operates a successful practice in this area, particularly in relation to disputes. Andrea Mondini advises clients in contractual matters as well as acting as counsel in related litigation and arbitration proceedings. He is a “strong negotiator” and a “valuable source of advice”. Alongside him, the “exceptional” Roland Mathys advises clients in the IT field on both transactions and data protection matters.

Robert Briner of CMS von Erlach Poncet is one of the most experienced practitioners in this field. He is widely respected in the IT field for his “encyclopaedic knowledge” of software, computer, technology and e-commerce law.

Ursula Widmer, founder of Dr Widmer & Partners, Attorneys-At-Law, is “one of the most instantly recognisable names in IT law”. She is widely cited by peers and clients for her “unsurpassed knowledge of the industry”.

Lenz & Staehelin is represented by the well-known Lukas Morscher, head of the firm’s TMT practice group. According to sources, he is “exceptional” at outsourcing matters and “never puts a foot wrong”.

Peter Neuenschwander, a founding partner of Suffert Neuenschwander & Partner, has “unsurpassed experience” in outsourcing and IT projects. He is considered the “dean of the bar” and a “very impressive lawyer”.

At Augsburger Deutsch & Partner, Wolfgang Straub is a “star”. He is very popular among peers for his “accuracy and consistency”, and his technical knowledge of IT law.

Sole-practitioner Gianni Fröhlich-Bleuler is favoured by clients for his “forward-thinking” approach and “commercial understanding”. In particular, he has “vast experience” in software contracts and outsourcing transactions.

Michele Bernasconi of Bär & Karrer is very well regarded by his peers. He is often called upon for his “sound judgement” and “unquestionable expertise”.

Christian Laux, at the IT boutique Laux Lawyers, is a widely known to be an “intelligent lawyer” with an “extremely in-depth technical background”. His expertise and natural ability ensures that he is a popular source of counsel.

Rolf Weber is both a recognised academic and a private practice lawyer at Bratschi Wiederkehr & Buob. He is widely lauded for his knowledge and expertise; sources say, “He provides concise practical advice.”

Emil Neff, founder of Neff Legal, is an “industry veteran” and a “pioneer” in the field. He is “exceptional” at all things related to contracts and outsourcing agreements, according to peers.

At the boutique Id est avocats Sàrl, Michel Jaccard “is one of most outstanding lawyers in the area.” He is “technically proficient” in a range of technology-related transactions and data protection matters.

Vischer is represented by its “standout” TMT practitioner Rolf Auf der Maur. His “professional approach” is admired by his clients, as is his ability to “weigh up risks and find solutions.”

Lukas Bühlmann, at Bühlmann Attorneys at Law, focuses on e-commerce, internet and data protection matters. He is highly recommended for his work in these fields, and peers praise his “sharp mind and perceptive approach”.

At Pestalozzi, Clara-Ann Gordon operates a broad practice in this field with “a remarkable understanding of the tech market.” She consistently impresses clients with her “committed approach” and “technical ability”.

The “outstanding” Stephan Kronbichler, co-founder of Kronbichler & Tourette, has a deep wealth of experience, particularly contracts for complex IT outsourcing projects. He is described as “practically minded and very solution orientated.”

Nicola Benz of Froriep is a well-known IT and IP lawyer. She advises companies of all sizes on their licensing, contractual and outsourcing requirements. Respondents cite her as an “insightful and efficient lawyer” and a “strong drafter”.

Eversheds’ Leonz Meyer is an experienced hand in technology and IT law. His “detailed and solutions-oriented advice” is praised by his peers.

At Niederer Kraft & Frey is the “brilliant” András Gurovits, who advises clients on outsourcing transactions. He is an established practitioner with “a consummate understanding of technology.”

Mathis Berger of Nater Dallafior Rechtsanwälte is experienced in representing technology clients in commercial transactions. His “knowledgeable and commercially minded approach is a valuable resource”, according to sources.

At Python & Peter, Thomas Legler is recognised for his “longstanding and insightful practice”. As a respondent noted, “he combines an impressive understanding of technology with a sense of clients’ needs”.

Gérald Page, founding partner of Page & Partners, is known for his contentious and non-contentious data protection, licensing and IT procurement practice. He is “an astute lawyer, who is able to form bespoke solutions”.

David Känzig of Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte is a “prominent figure” in the telecommunications sector and he also advises on wider corporate transactions in the technologies area. He is “commercially minded and proactive”, according to sources.

Rory Macmillan, at Macmillan Keck, advises internationally based clients on telecommunications transactions and regulations. He is described as a “highly sought-after counsel” in this regard.

Source: WWL-Telecoms Media & Technology Marketplace Analysis

System Breaches and Data Security Alarms Impede 2015 Outsourcing Growth in Payer Information Technology Sector, Black Book Surveys Health Plans on Vendor Satisfaction

With nearly $7B in information technology outsourcing contracts approaching renewal, incumbent ITO vendors are tasked with enhancing the protection of client health plans and their members from data breaches while meeting expectations for modernizing payer financial and administrative systems. An intensely competitive landscape of primarily offshore vendors aims to capture a piece of a potential $60B payer ITO market by 2017, according to Black Book’s 2015 survey of health plan IT leaders and suppliers.

The regulatory overhaul of reform mandates such as Affordable Care and ICD10 are rapidly changing US health plans’ operating models and creating needs for modernized legacy systems and applications. Black Book surveyed 720 health plan ITO users from Q4 2014 to Q1 2015 to determine trends in the shifting marketplace of service providers and client expectations.

“The opportunity for information technology vendors in the health plan marketplace are accelerating, but so are instances of shorter deal lengths, incumbent vendor replacements , mergers and acquisitions and rising concerns for member data security, “ said Doug Brown, Managing Partner of Black Book.

The payer ITO market place adoption rate failed to change markedly from survey year to survey year. Among all payers, public and private, small and large plans, 62% outsourced two or more information technology functions in 2013. In 2014, 63% of all payer organizations outsourced two or more information technology functions.

Specifically, 2014 ITO users include applications development and maintenance outsourcing (82% of all payers outsourced this single function in 2014), infrastructure including remote infrastructure management and cloud infrastructure outsourcing (69% outsource), business intelligence, data warehousing and analytics outsourcing (28% outsource), quality assurance and testing outsourcing (15% outsource), and professional IT management services outsourcing (14% outsource).

Black Book also found that 80% of pending Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 ITO contracts are being delayed as prospective clients confirm vendor provisions to safeguard member and plan data before executing deals. 77% of current payer ITO clients have launched initiatives to confirm their vendors’ data security capabilities.

“Recent data breaches in the health plan sector have IT outsourcing clients assessing confidence in their vendors’ operations and procedures as a safeguard to ensuring member data privacy in an effort to avoid all that comes with a data breach,” said Brown.

Black Book gaged a collective 92% “very concerned” response potential data breaches for health plan member data routinely transmitted offshore to India, the Philippines and Mexico. 61% reserved the same data security concerns for US-based outsourcing vendors.

The payer market place for claims modernization, big data/population health, security and analytics outsourcing services is projected to rise at a 39% compound annual growth rate, with most significant demand in the next twelve months from start-up health plans, provider-based plans, IPAs, and medium sized insurers.

In contrast, a 12% CAGR predicted for infrastructure and cloud services, and 9% CAGR for applications development and maintenance initiatives, attributed principally to renewals and new contracts from large health plan organizations.

Black Book estimates the demands of data security, population health, value based benefits solutions and revenue cycle modernization to drive the evolving payer ITO market in excess of US$60B by Q4 2017.

Top vendors were honored by clients in four payer ITO service categories for outstanding health plan performances across eighteen key performance indicators through Q1 2015. These top rated vendors include:

Transformational Outsourcing (IO, BPO, AO and Procurement Technology) – Accenture

Infrastructure Outsourcing & Cloud Services – Hewlett Packard

Applications Development and Maintenance Outsourcing – Dell

Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, Big Data, Analytics Outsourcing – IBM Global

Financial & Professional IT Systems Outsourcing – CGI

Other vendors, rated highly in particular areas of performance include: CSC, DST Global, Fujitsu, General Dynamics, HCL, Hexaware, Hewlett Packard, Infosys, Optum, Syntel, Tata Consultancy Services, Virtusa, Wipro and Xerox.

About Black Book ™

Black Book Rankings, a division of Black Book Market Research LLC, provides healthcare IT users, media, investors, analysts, quality minded vendors, and prospective software system buyers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and other interested sectors of the clinical technology industry with comprehensive comparison data of the industry’s top respected and competitively performing technology vendors. The largest user opinion poll of its kind in healthcare IT, Black Book™ collects over 450,000 viewpoints on information technology and outsourced services vendor performance annually. Black Book was founded in 2000, is internationally recognized for over 15 years of customer satisfaction polling, particularly in technology, services, outsourcing and offshoring industries.

Black Book™, its founders, management and/or staff do not own or hold any financial interest in any of the vendors covered and encompassed in this survey, and Black Book reports the results of the collected satisfaction and client experience rankings in publication and to media prior to vendor notification of rating results.

Source: PRWeb

3 Big Myths in Customer Service Outsourcing

Outsourcing plays a significant part in the global economy today despite the fact that it was both an entirely new concept and virtually unheard of ten years ago. In fact, key research firm Gartner predicted in August 2013 that the global outsourcing market would grow by 5.4% annually for the next four years, reaching a total value of $288 billion (£175.1 billion) by 2017.

Despite the industry’s rapid growth rate, there are still many corporate executives that remain skeptical about its benefits. Part of the reason behind their reluctance to embrace the industry, specifically the customer service outsourcing industry, is the lack of knowledge of its benefits.

Here we debunk three of the biggest myths that hold back far too many companies from realizing the benefits of customer service outsourcing

  • Myth #1: We will be sacrificing quality service delivery for cost savings.
  • Myth #2: We will have no management control over employees.
  • Myth #3: The language will be a big hurdle.

Read more at : Business 2 Community – 3 Big Myths in Customer Service Outsourcing  by Alieli Aspili

Are Some Processes Just too Complex to Manage In-House?

Do you remember how the business press used to report outsourcing as a strategy about ten years ago? The debate focused largely on the relative merits of keeping processes in-house or working with an expert to outsource them.

Both sides of the debate would fiercely argue the relative merits of ‘retaining more control’ compared to ‘accessing the best expertise in the market’ and the debate often got more complex once access to global resources via offshoring was introduced into the mix.

Over the subsequent years, outsourcing became accepted as a standard management strategy. It’s now just a part of the toolkit for any executive, a way of getting the job done. But I believe that in many industries we have crossed into an environment where the use of outsourcing has matured to the extent that it would be very difficult to even deliver the same level of service using internal teams.

Customer service is a great example and is the area where I am personally focused most of the time. A decade ago we would have been talking about a contact centre supporting voice calls, emails, and possibly some chat or instant messaging. Today the contact centre sits at the heart of a Customer Relationship Management strategy where customer loyalty and engagement are managed. Customers are interacting 24/7 on multiple communication channels, including social networks. The contact centre used to be a post-purchase function that mainly handled questions and complaints, now it is a critical part of the sales and marketing infrastructure in many businesses.

Of course a large company might be able to handle this complexity in-house, but for all but the largest organizations this is now such a complex process that it just makes sense to work with an industry expert. I’m sure this applies to several other industries too, but have you observed the same changes and do you also think that we have moved past the outsource/don’t outsource argument long ago?

Source: SourcingFocus-Are Some Processes Just too Complex to Manage In-House? by Matt Sims, Executive Vice President Business Development, Teleperformance

4 Ways To Royally Screw Up Information Technology (IT) Outsourcing

This article is your information technology outsourcing crystal ball to make sure you do it the right way

Outsourcing is big business. Today you can outsource anything from payroll to marketing to HR to legal. And right there in the thick of things is Information Technology (IT) outsourcing. IT is often a prime candidate for outsourcing, whether you are talking about a specific function – such as a help desk – or the whole shebang.

In the 20 years I’ve been a business technologist, I’ve seen a lot when it comes to IT outsourcing. I’ve used outsourcing vendors to deliver internal projects, trained someone offshore to take over my job, and provided IT outsourcing services to my own clientele. And through it all, I’ve observed this: there are four major ways to royally screw it all up. Here’s a free guide on how to do IT outsourcing – the WRONG way.

1. Focus on the numbers, not the strategic plan
Crunch the numbers, but go no further if you want to ensure a real IT outsource mess. Assume the decision is purely budget-driven. All you should focus on is the financial savings you can show by hiring outsource personnel to do the same job for less.

The alternative (and the way to avoid a royal mess) is to examine whether IT outsourcing aligns with your long-term strategic plans, goals, and objectives. You might want to consider the factors suggested by the Outsourcing Institute. For example, will IT outsourcing:

  • allow your company to focus on its core competencies
  • access skillsets not employed internally
  • free existing employees to work on strategic projects
  • compensate for a shortage of personnel
  • reduce time-to-market
  • mitigate risk factors

As you can see, there’s a lot more at stake here than just dollars and cents.

2. Ignore all risks instead of mitigating them
The second way to royally screw up IT outsourcing is to stick your fingers in your ears and say “I am not listening to you” when someone tries to raise concerns. Tell yourself that only pessimists who are afraid of change worry about things like loss of confidentiality, increased information security needs, loss of in-house expertise, potentially problematic quality of service, inconsistent performance, or squirrelly contractual language that might come back to bite you.

Of course, if you get to thinking that those concerns may represent valid risks, then it’s time to take some action. For example, you’ll need to vet a mutually beneficial contract (and that can take some serious engagement at the negotiation table), manage expectations, and streamline communications. And that’s just the beginning of the job. As the relationship unfolds, you’ll want to develop methods to measure the effectiveness of the services you receive and drive continuous improvement.

It’s certainly easier to put on pair of rose-colored glasses but, in the end, you’ll be glad you took a good, hard look at reality.

3. Look at your vendor invoice, not at your TCO
Let’s go back to money for a moment. To guarantee a bad experience with IT outsourcing, be sure that you only use obvious cost factors – like the invoice your IT vendor sends you – in your number crunching. Refuse to take into effect the total cost of ownership (TCO), since lots of those items don’t come from your budget, anyway.

On the flip side, if you want to do IT outsourcing right, you’ll have a lot more line items on your financial spreadsheet, such as costs for:

  • internal project management
  • parallel system administration
  • long-term system integration
  • new hardware and software (i.e., due to legacy equipment or incompatibilities)

4. Tell people to shut up instead of speak up
And the last way to royally screw up IT outsourcing? Tell people to pipe down when they gripe and complain about the change. Ignore the fact that they probably feel threatened, and penalize them when their productivity and engagement drops.

Or, you can actually manage the change for your people. Encourage them to speak up and express their concerns. Engage in dialogue where you explain the reasons for IT outsourcing and let them know how this is a benefit – for everyone involved. In short, keep their motivation high.

There you have it: four ways to royally screw up IT outsourcing … or (even better) how to avoid a screw up. Outsourcing is here to stay: isn’t it worth the effort to do it right?

Source: CIO-4 Ways To Royally Screw Up Information Technology (IT) Outsourcing by Christian McBeth

Capgemini increases Indian staff by 20%, as profits rise by 31%

Capgemini increased the number of staff it has in India by 20% in 2014, while its profits went up by 31% and its revenues grew by 3.4%.

The IT services provider now has more than 56,000 staff in India, representing 47% of its total workforce.

Capgemini India CEO Aruna Jayanthi recently said the company was on track to reach its goal of employing 70,000 people in India by 2016. It has more than 67,000 staff in offshore locations, which is part of its rightshoring strategy, where it delivers from a mixture of locations.

Globally, the company recruited about 40,000 new employees in 2014, with about 40% of them young graduates.

The French firm also announced a sales increase of 3.4% in 2014, with modern technologies such as cloud, mobile, social and analytics contributing to the €10.57bn total.

Sales in the UK increased by just over 4%, which the company said was driven by application and other managed services, accounting for 55.4% and 25.5% of total sales respectively.

Group profits increased by 31% compared with the previous year, reaching €580m.

CEO Paul Hermelin said innovation and industrialised IT services helped the company exceed its expectation.

Peter Schumacher, CEO at management consultancy the Value Leadership Group, which focuses on offshore services, said Capgemini has come a long way in India.

“In just 10 years its employee base in India has grown 25-fold to more than 50,000,” he said.

But Schumacher added that increasing the number of offshore staff is not a guaranteed recipe for success.

“Capgemini still needs to figure out how to leverage its evolving delivery model to achieve higher organic growth rates and superior performance,” he said.

“Improving delivery quality is an important lever, but even more importantly Capgemini must develop advantages, rather than just eliminate disadvantages.”

The company expects sales to increase at a rate of between 3% and 5% in 2016.

But in the UK there could be a drop in revenues in 2017 as a massive IT services contract between the government and Capgemini is broken up.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is planning to end its mega IT outsourcing contract with Capgemini, known as Aspire, in 2017. The Public and Commercial Services Union has about 800 members at Capgemini and many of them work at HMRC.

Aspire is one of the biggest IT outsourcing deals ever signed by the UK government, costing on average £813m per year over the past 10 years, according to the National Audit Office. By the time the deal ends in June 2017, prime contractor Capgemini will have received £10.4bn of taxpayers’ money.

Source: ComputerWeekly-Capgemini increases Indian staff by 20%, as profits rise by 31% by Karl Flinders

14 per cent of companies prioritising ‘radical innovation’ through outsourcing

Companies are increasingly using outsourcing to innovate rather than just improve processes, according to a new study.

The Innovation Reality report from sourcing advisor Aecus said while ‘continuous improvement’ is still the priority for nearly a third of business leaders surveyed, almost a quarter are working on projects where provider and client work together on a significant initiative to improve the efficiency or effectiveness of the outsourcing.

According to the study, 14 per cent of business leaders are prioritising ‘radical innovation’ with their outsourcing partners, such as the implementation of a major new technology or global delivery model.

Nearly a third of leaders said they are hoping their outsourcing partners can provide benefits to the wider business, such as increasing revenues or improving products and services.

Paul Morrison, head of outsourcing innovation at Aecus, said that although companies have always sought innovation from their outsourcing partners, it was now coming to fruition.

“It’s the increasing maturity of outsourcing buyers and sellers, along with technological change, that’s making this possible,” he said.

The study said 90 per cent of buyers believe their outsourcing agreements can help them improve products and services, while 86 per cent believe they will help retain customers, and 85 per cent are hoping to achieve top line revenue growth.

Over half of businesses say they have already achieved improved customer satisfaction, while 45 per cent believe innovation has had an impact on their revenue growth.

But the study also found some organisations said that they were not well set up for getting innovation for suppliers. Almost a third of respondents did not think they had the knowledge in their business to manage suppliers for innovation, while two fifths said their contractual agreements were not currently set up for innovation.

Morrison said despite progress there were still hurdles to overcome to ensure organisations achieve the best results. “To maximise the impact innovation can have on a business, it is absolutely vital to invest in the right capabilities, and implement the right framework of suppliers, incentives and governance,” he said.

Source: Supply Management-14% of companies prioritising ‘radical innovation’ through outsourcing by Marino Donati

Choosing the Right Service Provider for Cloud Infrastructure Outsourcing

To keep pace with new business demands, rising customer expectations, and emerging technologies, IT leaders are realizing an important opportunity: infrastructure outsourcing. These services, including colocation, hosting, and cloud computing, give IT organizations the flexibility and agility to better serve the needs of the business.

Successful infrastructure outsourcing depends greatly on whether enterprises partner with the right service provider. This report explores the benefits of selecting an adaptable, flexible service provider that can offer a broad range of IT outsourcing services.

Key highlights from this report include:

  • Enterprises need a mix of infrastructure, and they can benefit from the interdependent value delivered by combining colocation, hosting, and cloud services. Managed services are also a helpful option, whether delivered by an infrastructure provider or a specialized managed service provider (MSP).
  • Service providers that offer a full mix of infrastructure options are well positioned to facilitate the enterprise IT journey, which typically involves a wide variety of use cases and the need for multiple infrastructure solutions.
  • Many enterprises will benefit from a service provider partner that can assist with customized design and implementation, and meets their requirements for performance, reliability, security, and compliance.
  • There are no one-size-fits-all outsourcing solutions. IT organizations need granular customization and flexibility to architect systems that support their unique requirements.
  • Cloud computing is a valuable option for infrastructure outsourcing, although it is not expected to meet the complete requirements of every application.

Download the full report at: Choosing the Right Service Provider for Cloud Infrastructure Outsourcing

Modern Customer Service: In-house or Outsourced?

This is one of the most important questions that small businesses face today. More so for customer service, which now determines the fate of your profit margins. Consumers have so much more options and channels to air their complaints in real time.

Ultimately, it all depends on how you can build unwavering customer loyalty. This brings us back to customer service – should you build in-house customer care or partner with an outsourcing provider?

Here are questions that you need to answer:

What are your intentions and motivations?
Your motivations and intentions have a big influence on your standard for success. If you’re aiming for a cost-efficient service from an expert provider, outsourcing customer service is a viable solution. However, if you’re not capable of handing over customer care to a third party, you may have to build it in-house. Trust is one of the most overlooked components in an outsourcing relationship.

What are your future needs?
Seasonal fluctuations demand flexibility and scalability. The question is not about what you lack, but how you will compensate for loss. Hiring a fleet of customer service representatives would make sense for a big company. But how will you maintain a small business when calls start petering out or support staff when they start raining down?

There are new technologies out there that could help. Virtual agents, chat and email are non-human ways for customer care. But technology moves in a fast pace while human beings, well their needs pretty much stay the same.

Do you have adequate resources whether it’s in-house or outsourced?
The previous question leads us to resources. In-house customer care does provide you with direct control, but you need to have the capability to adjust to demand or reduce calls. Outsourcing customer care comes with scalability and cost efficiency, but you need to invest in a partnership.

Do your customers care where the service is from as long as it’s satisfactory?
People have long known the existence of call centres, to the point that Filipino or Indian customer service representatives have been mentioned in films and featured in TV. Call centres go way back before the millennium and outsourcing is now the norm. So the question is, does it really matter where the service comes from as long as it serves the needs of your customers?

There’s a lot at stake here. Whatever your decision may be, it will ultimately depend on your business needs. Keep in mind that customer care is not just about reducing hold time and meeting call volumes, it’s consistent first call resolution.

Read more at: Business 2 Community-Modern Customer Service: In-house or Outsourced? by Arline Ramirez