It can be extremely daunting to put the trust of your internal or customer facing business processes in the hands of a new team offshore and in turn, into the hands of a service provider to support you. You will have done your due diligence, confided in your trusted network and checked references. Even with this, how do you ensure ongoing quality, consistent outcomes?
Quality Assurance (QA) starts before the working day to day with your team. In the pre and post sales process there conversations which should happen to ensure a service provider is going to provide what’s needed. Managing quality is a necessary priority and should be based on measuring the ability to meet the needs and expectations around a set of service agreements or measurable outcomes and milestones. Of course, the detail and depth of this will vary between service and delivery models. However, if your service provider can’t articulate or show this at the start, are you sure they can provide consistent quality through delivery?
Your offshore team should act as an extension of your onshore business and the way you manage quality should be applicable from the beginning. Unfortunately, however, there are geographic, technology and culture challenges which mean this isn’t simply plug and play. Finding a service provider to partner with who provides a consultative approach to transitioning, building and managing your business is of utmost importance.
Below, I’ve outlined some of the key areas within People, Process, and Technology which, when in place, will help ensure consistency, quality and real return in not only dollars but also organizational culture value.
How does or will your service provider support managing, leading and developing people?
Team Meetings: Daily huddles, where quality is discussed, and other focus points tabled.
Weekly coaching: Individual quality is discussed on a weekly basis with Team Members and Team Leaders.
Monthly scorecards: Updated weekly, scorecards are tied to KPIs, used to award incentives, track and manage performance.
Continuous Development: Regular, ongoing supplementary training sessions, focus on customer experience, communication, etc.
Job Descriptions: Expectations and KPIs focus on quality and one key area for Team Members and Team Leaders.
Rewards & Recognition: Customer success, experience, and advocacy which is celebrated and rewarded through incentives, giveaways, awards, and shout outs.
Does or will your service provider have process documentation capability and experience?
Policies: Ways or working which have become inherent are then written and signed off by senior management, HR and other stakeholders.
Process Mapping: Should be done by a specialist process and transitions team to document processes. This ensures new employees, top management, clients, quality auditors and other parties not fully exposed to the processes are able to understand how a particular function is being performed.
Work Level Instructions: Desktop procedures should be created, used and maintained by an operations team. This details how tasks are performed, up to the minute. Normally they will contain step by step screenshots of actions to be performed to achieve an output. These are reviewed periodically by the process and transitions team to ensure (that) they’re accurate and up to date.
Continuous Improvement: Processes are re-engineered or designed depending on the analysis done per improvement initiative. Inherent and external factors are considered. Risks are assessed. The possibility of failure is anticipated, and preparations are plugged into the project design.
Does and will your service provider utilize the right technologies to support security, efficiency, quality and automation?
Best in Breed: Being unbiased towards the use of different technology tools to solve different problems is the key. There should be no ‘one size fits all’ in the approach to using technology stacks.
Infrastructure: Technology extends further than applications used day to day to perform work functions. It should extend to the network, systems and hardware which support a services provider operating model. Understanding this upfront is critical to future quality, consistency and security.
Consumption: The use or consumption of technology is almost as important as the technology itself. Technical implementation should be executed as a basic, however understanding how technology is going to form part of daily workflow and governance is imperative to consistent outcomes. Your service provider should be able to help with this.
Internal Self-Assessment: A full-time internal IT team should provide proactive assistance and guidance on the changing landscape on technology while continually updating infrastructure and operating applications.
So no matter where you are on your outsourcing offshore journey, thinking about the relationship between you and your service provider as well as the experience they bring in delivering measurable outcomes is key.
If you’d like to discuss the above or anything outsourcing offshore, please reach out!