5 points you should not overlook while outsourcing your service desk
16 April 2018
Outsourcing may improve productivity and reduce costs. It might also backfire on your employee work experience which, in turn, may result in loss of customer satisfaction.
When you run a business the local level, not to mention the global one, you always experience complexity. Nowadays if you are a senior manager, you are expected to excel in many business areas, grasp content knowledge of various origins, embrace cutting edge technologies and, at the same time, remain accessible to your employees and customers. Meeting these expectations may be exhausting…especially when daily business routines appear to be overwhelming. No wonder that a sensible course of action is to focus on your core business and reduce the complexity of daily operations. If you are not an IT company with a wide range of services, it is natural to consider outsourcing of specific IT areas – like a service desk – to a professional provider. Such a move usually produces substantial cost savings, but it might also backfire on your work experience and consequently, your customer satisfaction.
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, employs a no-nonsense attitude to achieving success When asked, how to set up great company, he’s often quoted to respond, ”take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.” But how does one combine being employee-centricity with business optimization and cost reduction that are the common triggers for service desk outsourcing?
Consider these 5 simple steps to maximize your chances of succeeding in service desk outsourcing, both in being employee centric and optimizing business at the same time:
Be clear about your business needs
Define the real needs that are behind the IT outsourcing services. Make sure this is understood not only in the boardroom but also communicated to all employees and be frank about the reasons of outsourcing some parts of your operations. Focus on the advantages and communicate them to your employees. Make them aware that the outsourcing company works, in fact also for their good. Management processes they are responsible for should be smoother and more efficient as a result. This would help to make the outsourcing process successful.
Identify internal users and their experiences
One size doesn’t fit all. Thus, it is crucial to identify all internal users. Service desk arrangement takes time. But it’s worth it. Although something works perfectly well on a smaller scale, you may have little understanding of its true complexity. So do brainstorm with your team and involve not only your inner circle to define what are the most important processes in your company and which user groups are often on a critical path when dealing with your customers. This will give you a clear setup of internal user groups and also the definition of cases that need to be dealt with very fast. I bet you do not want your sales team to hold a customer on the phone while not being able to log into CRM system to make a pricing proposal. Such a user story is normally mission-critical and gold service level applies.
Put partnership in practice
Build a partnership with your outsourcing company. Do not fall into the trap of picking the first possible option or focusing solely on cost reduction. That may do well for yearly bonus targets but may seriously explode in your face in the longer run. So talk to potential service desk outsourcers. Check their credentials. Do not be afraid of asking deep questions like,: “Have you ever turned down an outsourcing prospect? What was the reason? What concerns do you have about our company?” Contact their customers to get a better feel of what is being communicated. Try their demo. Learn about their strategies. Explain your company values and do not be afraid of telling your outsourcing partner about your weaknesses. Involve your partner in your business dilemma. Listen carefully and choose wisely.
Secure your interest by defining all performance parameters and structure a well-defined service level agreement. Make sure you will get clear and transparent reporting, an escalation scheme and means to measure all the above. Focus on the first-time-fix rates. A solid service desk provider not only collects all calls and channels them to the concerned solution groups. It also builds knowledge databases and strives to make them work perfectly, especially in critical situations. Everything should be done along data protection regulations (GDRP), security procedures and compliant with in-country regulations that may be industry specific.
Build a culture of continuous feedback
We are living in the a VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity). Change is the only constant factor. No matter how solid the outsourcing relationship is, how well defined key performance indicators are, and, most important, what the user stories say, the reality will always surprise you. So, the last step might actually be the most important one. It is to ensure that you enforce constant feedback from your users. Methods like net promoter score or classical customer satisfaction surveys will do the trick, but you may want to go a step further and focus on open questions. The aim is to keep getting feedback on how the outsourcing relationship works and be able to update and improve it constantly.
On an ending note, culture eats strategy for breakfast as Peter Drucker famously said. The best partnerships are created by involving your employees early on, letting them being involved in setting up a holistic relationship with your partner and building a culture of continuous learning. Explain your company values and expose your weaknesses to your partner. Involve your partner in some of your business dilemmas and do not be afraid of a trial-and-error approach aiming at a true partnership of open-learning and adaptation. The truly best outsourcing contracts are the ones where not only the tangible side of the business is a match, but where also the culture between the customer and the service provider matches.
Euvic is one of Europe’s leading IT-companies with 1700 highly skilled system-engineers and system-developers. It provides a full range of IT-services like software development, application testing, integration projects, IT Service desk, cloud migrations and IT out-sourcing. We are expanding into the Swedish market thanks to the confidence from customers within the transportation industry, production industry and service industry.