Outsourcing, from being an entirely new concept of doing business ten years ago, has become the leading business model of our time, even so far as becoming the norm in many industries. It plays a major role in our global economy today. Gartner predicts the global outsourcing market will grow 5.4% a year for the next four years, reaching a total value of $288 billion. Cost reduction remains to be primary driver of most businesses to outsource but quality plays the biggest factor when it comes to choosing (and staying with) an outsourcing partner.
In fact, even as most businesses have gone mainstream and outsource a part of their operations offshore and/or with another provider, there are still companies who are reluctant to entrust part of their operations to a third party. They have this notion that it might save them money but will compromise quality.
According to ComputerWorld UK (2010), ““Companies expressed frustration with the quality of work being provided, according to a survey, but most businesses still said they chose the cheapest outsourcing option instead of the best quality. Nearly all businesses – ninety-four percent – admitted that the focus on cost was increasing the likelihood of their projects failing.”
It seems that outsourcing has this reputation of driving costs down but it sacrifices quality leading to tainting a company’s image or reputation. This is untrue. While it is true that focusing solely on cost reduction without thinking of quality can lead to poor customer perception of your company brand, it doesn’t mean that outsourcing operations equate to poor quality. While outsourcing is just a fraction of the cost of keeping operations in house, it doesn’t have to mean that quality should be compromised.
Quality in Outsourcing
There has been a shift towards BPOs adopting an uncompromising approach towards quality service to earn the trust, continued loyalty and business of their clients. It goes without saying that companies want to hire quality outsourcing providers. And in order to measure quality of outsourcing services, there are standards and models that help companies to decipher which ones are worth considering.
Quality Assurance Models
Most BPOs have set their standards to ISO 9000. It is most chosen standards among quality assurance models because it is used as a standard facilitating international trade, adopted by more than 130 countries. The set of standards deals with the management system used to design, produce, deliver and support products and services.
Revisions put forth ISO 9001:2008 which focuses on a process approach with emphasis on measuring process performance and effectiveness as well as continually improving the process based on objective measurement.
Total Quality Management
ISO 900 has helped BPOs gain a generic level of quality maturity and this has encouraged others to work further toward other quality methods.
“Total Quality Management (TQM) can be defined as a systematic management approach centered on quality to meet the competitive challenges with emphasis on top management commitment and involvement, customer satisfaction, supplier relationship, benchmarking, quality-oriented training, employee focus, zero defects, process improvement, and quality measurement. TQM does not replace the ISO 9000 standards. ISO 9000 is a Quality System Management Standard. TQM, on the other hand, is a philosophy of continual improvement. Many organizations jump onto TQM once their ISO system reaches maturity – that is, after around three years. Where there is an ISO system, about 80 percent of the steps are in place for TQM. The requirements for TQM can be considered ISO plus.” (source)
Six Sigma takes on a more disciplined, personalized approach because it uses client requirements so incorporating it within their organization is easier. Most organizations proactively embrace it right away because of the personal approach. It bases its approach on the performance improvement model called DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control).
eSourcing Capability Model
The eSourcing Capability Model is a capability model developed by ITSqc at Carnegie Mellon University based on best practices. Its critical success factors fall into 84 best practice categories in 6 capability areas: relationship, people, knowledge, technology, performance and threat management. Its cycle is broken down into four parts: ongoing, initiation, delivery and completion.
Going Beyond Compliance
As BPOs recognize the shift towards companies looking for quality rather than cost, they realize that quality is more than just a business compliance. It needs to be a way of life within the company. It should not be a goal but a mission. Good performances tend to peak then decline over time unless there are quality measures enforced to make sure they are maintained. To make sure BPOs continuously improve and not only sustain performance, quality should not be just complying with standards but a value built, integrated and implemented into the organization.
Nowadays, the traditional landline phone customer service that businesses have may not serve your customers well—considering that we’re living in the technology era. Having customer support in other types of network such as through online and mobile are some of the customer assistance services we have, which can take your entire customer service to a whole new level. Learn more!