Is your outsourcing relationship super or is it just so-so?
What is a so-so outsourcing relationship to begin with?
A so-so outsourcing relationship is where you and your outsourcing partner are getting things done but you’re not achieving the goals you really want. On paper, the deliverables are there but what you’re getting isn’t really impressing you nor is it really achieving the results you want.
Left unchecked, this relationship could spiral downward quickly. But cutting ties right away may not be that effective either, especially if your outsourcing vendor is deep in the middle of a project. Getting rid of your partner might not be that easy or cost effective too, especially if you need to provide a lot of training or share a lot of information in order for the project to commence.
But there are ways to salvage this relationship and make it even better. Saving an outsourcing relationships takes less time and costs a lot less than shopping for a new vendor. What’s more, if you can turn your so-so partnership into something super, you’ll be able to get more out of outsourcing.
So what are some of the things you need to do to turn your outsourcing partnership into something super?
Keep your communication channels open.
Most relationships decline when the people involved stop talking with one another. In an outsourcing partnership, it’s important to provide regular feedback and communication with your partners. Don’t wait until there’s a problem to talk to them. Let them know what you’re doing right and what you want to see more of. Encourage your outsourcing partner to give you suggestions on how you can improve your processes and what else you can do to get better outcomes.
Regular communication keeps you and your partner on your toes. It also serves as a constant reminder of what you want to achieve for your projects. Addressing potential problems early on also gives you and your outsourcing firm more time to prevent or solve problems early on.
Have realistic expectations
So you found an affordable virtual assistant with an impressive resume. He has a portfolio that proves he has the right skill set for the job. But after a few weeks of working together, you start noticing that there are tasks that are always delayed or incomplete. What could be the problem?
When you hire a virtual assistant that’s competent in a lot of things, it’s easy to forget that they can’t do everything. If you look at the top virtual assistant companies or outsourcing services, you’ll see that they don’t do everything. They offer clients a short list of specialized services that they know they can deliver on. If they encounter projects or tasks that are outside their skill set, they usually tell you outright that they can’t do it or refer someone else. Some might try to take on the project but won’t offer any guarantees.
With outsourcing, it’s really important that you know your partner’s strengths and weaknesses so can adjust your expectations accordingly. When you don’t know what your outsourcing partner can do, you’ll end up frustrated because you’re not getting exactly what you want or you’re getting a lot less than what you expected. Setting realistic expectations early on will save you from the frustration. It also helps you adjust your project goals so you can get the most from your vendor’s skills.
Provide constructive feedback and reward good results
Rewarding your outsourcing partner for good work goes a long way in motivating them to do a good job. Whether you’re outsourcing software development or local search engine optimization, a little encouragement goes a long way.
You can reward them by giving bonuses, providing referrals to potential clients, or giving a good testimonials about their services. Rewards don’t have to be expensive. Sometimes, something as simple as an email telling them they did a good job is enough motivation to get them going. The most important thing is that you show appreciation for the good work that they do so they would be encouraged to do great work in the future.
Encourage creativity and initiative
One of the reasons why it could be that you’re having a so-so relationship with your partner is because they feel they’re not allowed to be creative or take initiative. An experienced search engine optimization agency, for example, may want to try new SEO techniques for your business. But they’re reluctant to do so because they feel you might not welcome experimenting with new SEO strategies, in fear of making mistakes.
So they’re stuck doing the same old strategies that aren’t working as well as you expect.
Search engine optimization requires trial and error. Each business needs to have an SEO strategy that’s fine-tuned for their business. An experienced outsource search engine optimization expert will want to try new things to see what works for your business.
Stifling creativity and initiative often results in people losing motivation. People do their best when they’re allowed to take initiative and be creative. Yes, mistakes happen when people try new things but in most cases, especially with experienced professionals, the risk often pays off.
How about you? Did you have a so-so outsourcing relationship and what did you do to salvage it? Let us know in the comments below.