It’s no small task to hire a new addition to your team. It can be even more intimidating when you consider outsourcing overseas. You might be wondering if you can trust someone who is half a world away with projects that are vital to your company’s success. Here’s the good news: the reputation and stigma that was held even five years ago concerning overseas employees no longer exist today. Technology has completely changed the way we work and it has provided the resources to research the right team, communicate quickly and easily and track projects and team member progress.
The great thing about outsourcing overseas help is that many times the costs are cheaper than local bids and you can hire the best person for the job beyond the traditional job pool. Here are some important things to know if you’re considering whether overseas outsourcing is right for you.
What Jobs are Best Outsourced Overseas?
If you’re thinking that you need additional help to grow your business, here are some of the most popular jobs that are being filled outside of the U.S.:
Call Centers – It can get expensive to hire a team of people to answer customer questions, take product orders or make appointments. Call centers can give your customers 24/7 access to getting the service they need at a minimal cost to you since other companies are also using this same group of professionals. But don’t worry, each employee is trained on how to answer the phone for your specific audience and how to process orders.
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) – BPO is when you hire a third-party service provider to complete back-office jobs that may include human resources, payroll, financial claims, and accounting. For specific industries, this could include medical billing, processing claims for legal firms, performing data entry and even telemarketing.
Tech Development and Support – From enterprise solutions to mobile development to database security and more, we rely on technology. However, this critical foundation of modern business is extremely expensive which makes this category the most outsourced (and is usually what most people think of when they hear “overseas outsourcing”).
Creative Design – Logos, animation, handouts and video production are also assets that can elevate your company but are costly expenses. When you outsource these projects, you can get great results for a fraction of the cost of local designers.
How Do I Find the Right Outsourcing Company?
Fortunately, the past few years have been a great period of growth for outsourcing companies to prove their worth and collect a portfolio of work examples and client reviews. Here are some important things to know:
1. Consider time zones and cultural differences and how they may impact your customer interaction. For example, this may cause problems with complicated topics in a call center but cause little concern for payment processing centers.
2. Start with a small project before you hand over the actual job to ensure that the cost, skill level, communication style and end product meet all of your standards. Maybe you could start with a website landing page instead of launching an entire redesign. Or if you are looking into hiring a call center, start in October rather than December 1st which brings with it the holiday rush.
3. Before you contact an agency, determine your budget and your expectations. Let’s say that your past data estimates that you’ll receive ten calls per hour or you have an example of a product video that you want to emulate. Ask for a price quote based on your data or samples. If their quote is too high, maybe you need to look elsewhere or determine if you can really get what you want at your price point.
4. Ask how your potential outsourcing team chooses to communicate with their clients (via Slack, phone conferences, or other available tools), how often they communicate and how quickly will it take for them to respond to emails/phone calls, etc. Communication is key and will make or break any virtual project.
5. There are a lot of outsourcing companies out there and it can be difficult to establish who is reputable and who isn’t up to par. Check out referral websites such as Clutch that has a list of Top BPO Companies so that you can read reviews, costs, time commitments and easily view where the company is located. This can save a lot of time and provide peace of mind.
Mistakes to Avoid
A. Not trusting your gut. A bigger company doesn’t always mean it’s the best choice and the lowest price quote may not provide the highest quality product or service. Have a phone conversation with the project leader so you know who your contact person will be and if you have the chemistry to work successfully with him or her.
B. Failing to create a specific and detailed contract. You need to know what you’re getting into and what will be required if you need to terminate your agreement.
C. Neglecting to ask about copyright laws or privacy laws in the country that you’re hiring from. For example, India doesn’t have patent or trademark laws. How will the company ensure that your IP is protected?
D. Not taking into account cultural differences. “Freelancers working in other countries may be able to code better than anyone, but if they’re using customs, workflows, and interfaces unique to their local area, this can create major problems,” explains Gideon Kimbrell, co-Founder, InList. “Readers of some languages don’t read from left to right, for instance, and this can cause a major disconnect with how your real users will experience your app. Look for the best UI/UX people who’ve worked on projects similar to yours (aimed at the same demographic) in the past.”
When you do your homework and invest the time into finding the right company, you’ll provide the manpower to grow your business and create the expectation for excellence. Author Earl Nightingale said, “You can measure opportunity with the same yardstick that measures the risk involved. They go together.” How will you use this opportunity?