Should You Outsource Certain Services?
Making a list of your core competencies could give you the answers you are looking for.
by Chia-Li Chien | Feb. 06, 2012
Many years ago I contracted an answering service for my business in order to make sure every call got answered by a live person who could schedule appointments for clients and potential clients. Four months into this implementation, I got a call from Randy (not his real name) who was my most important client at that time. He told me the person answering his recent phone call sounded like she had just woke up. She was not professional at all. It did not take long for me to terminate the answering service contract. Instead, I increased the hours for my assistant in the office to mind the phone during business hours and with professionalism.
“We sell TRUST!” says Laurie Leonard, co-owner of SUITE 1000, a top 24-hour telephone answering service that specialized in manufacturing, attorneys/personal injury, marketing agencies, property management and medical industries, etc. The company has a process that helps customers design a system not just for call answering but also for call screening, appointment scheduling and a staff of smarter representatives to present your best business image and reputation. SUITE 1000 is now a trusted outsource partner that adds value to many businesses.
In PROFITS MATTER®, I often encourage my clients to identify core competencies to invest in within the business. Tasks and services that do not fit within that list should be outsourced, which means they can then spend the majority of their time and efforts optimally within that list of core competencies to get the most value from the business.
Core competencies have two parts: 1) key resources and 2) key processes. Although customer service and call answering may sound easy enough, I bet many businesses out there don’t have this as their core competency. To work with the right outsourced partner, Ms. Leonard encourages entrepreneurs to consider the following:
A. Identify, develop and streamline processes in outsourced areas such as:
- Lead capture and qualification
- Sales order taking or customer Intake such as in legal or medical fields
- Appointment scheduling
- Customer service such as service dispatch, website support, outbound calling
- Administrative such as live receptionist or disaster recovery
B. Identify, develop and measure the performance. Monitor the performance of your outsourced partner on regular basis. Adjust your processes as you see how it will benefit your business from the outsourced partner.
C. Leverage outsourced partners for Human, Capital and infrastructure. Training and processes obviously makes an outsourcer stand out with their service. You want to find out how much training their employees receive because they will ultimately service your customers. A great outsourcer has the foundation in human capital as well as the process and other infrastructures that can be customized for your business.
The list above represents what Leonard‘s SUITE 1000 provides for their customers. The team strives for and is very proud of their No Surprise Pledge.
As your business grows and scales, you need trusted outsourced partners. Each outsourced partner may take care of an area of your business that is not a core competency. These partners should have a transparent integration into your business or otherwise it could be costly to you. A great outsourced partner will help you validate whether or not your business is sustainable. How? The cost of doing business become more obvious and apparent because it will be no longer buried in your P&L. There are lists of metrics to monitor, there is a rapport and there is continuity. Without the right outsourced partner, growing your business may be slower than you expect.
So do this: Take a hard look at your core competencies. You might find ways to maximize your investment in something that truly fits your core competencies. Give yourself permission to outsource something you’re not really good at and/or don’t want to do.
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About Chia-Li Chien
Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; Chia-Li “like JOLLY!” A passionate leader of small business strategic equity value creation and implementation mastery. She is a globetrotting strategist, speaker and author. She is CEO and chief strategist of Value Growth Institute dedicated to creating business value that transforms your world. Capture meaningful personal wealth. Position your business for future transitioning.
Chia-Li is also a Midas Advisor to MidasNation, a community dedicated to helping private business owners increase the value of their firms. She is the award-winning author of Show Me The Money and faculty member of American Management Association. Her blog and newsletter was recently named a top small business resource by the New York Times “You’re the Boss” blog. You can watch a FREE video entitled "Navigating Through Today's Turbulent Business Waters!" at http://valuegrowthinstitute.com/vgi/webinar