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Archive for the 'Outsourcing Research / Trends' Category

A Guide to Outsourcing Tasks for Startups

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

A lot of startup companies are sprouting left and right, but most of them do not survive. Some built a product people didn't want, some may have an uncertain business objective, while others may have jumped the gun too soon. But, one of the top reasons that small businesses fail is poor management stemming from lack of expertise in the different areas important to running a business.

In a typical startup setup, pioneer team members try to do everything at the same time due to limited budget and resources. However, even the most promising startups or SMEs can't do everything on their own, and it's often a recipe for disaster when they try.

Startups fail to expand or even survive in a highly competitive business environment because of lack of funding, expertise, and other resource constraints. Business outsourcing can help them do more with the limited resources they have and focus on improving their business by outsourcing non-core activities.

Why Startups Should Outsource

Most startups are composed of a small team with only key employees, and for some, just the proprietors and founders. Because they're just starting out and are being cautious about costs and expenses, they avoid hiring new people and try to do everything by themselves. As a result, the workload becomes unmanageable. With this, lead times are prolonged, and quality of work starts to suffer. The probability of errors is high because they're trying to complete business functions that are outside their expertise.

When processes start to become strained, or deliverables start getting delayed, you know it's time to outsource. Otherwise, the quality of your products and services will continue to decline. As a result, you may lose clients and customers. Worse, it will contribute to the destruction of your brand reputation.

Additionally, startups have a limited amount of cash at their disposal. Avoiding big capital expenses and lowering operational costs can help them stretch their startup capital and give the business more time to establish a footprint and grow.

Common Costs When Starting a Business

A substantial amount of money is needed to fund your initial business operations. Whether you're selling physical goods, technology, or even downloadable software, your startup needs to allot money for office space, employees, and IT infrastructure.

You also have to consider the hardware and technology needed to create your product and keep the daily business operations running smoothly. You also need to spend on overhead and administrative costs, as well as professional fees and employee benefits.

If you plan to do everything in-house, you also need to allot budget for your hiring and recruitment costs, as well as the time it takes to fill an empty seat.

Benefits of Outsourcing for Startups

Startup companies and SMEs who invest in business outsourcing can reap advantages that help their businesses expand. Most businesses are now warming up to the idea of outsourcing administrative and creative processes. In fact, a Deloitte survey revealed that 66% of companies outsource certain business processes to other companies.

When you try to ask employees to perform tasks outside their skill set, you will inevitably compromise quality. On the other hand, you'll get field experts and professionals for a specific task when you outsource.

Ultimately, outsourcing business processes will save you from a lot of costs and will let the key members of your team focus on growing the business, as opposed to feverishly jumping from one role to another.

Areas to Outsource

Business functions and operations can differ, but most companies have similar processes that easily be outsourced.

  1. Human Resources

    No startup will ever flourish if they're not prepared for growth. As mentioned, poor management is often among the primary causes of a startup’s failure. Recruiting top talent and hiring the perfect candidate is no easy feat. Often, it takes months to fill an empty position, and this means that businesses are not reaping the profits while the seat is left open.

    When startups attempt to delegate HR and administrative tasks to their key employees, there are a lot of clerical work and processes essential for business operations that are overlooked. However, when you outsource the HR function of your business, not only are you ensuring that your startup company can recruit and hire top candidates, but that compensation and benefits packages are tailored to improve employee engagement and employee retention.

  2. Data Entry and Processing

    Data entry outsourcing is one of the most common business processes that can easily be outsourced. It can take up a lot of time whether it's manually or automated. You need specially-trained data entry professionals to efficiently sift through, sort, and analyze the data.

    It's the era of big data. With the vast amount of information available, it's crucial for a business to leverage the data available and find out what's working and what's not for their business, what consumers want, where to reach your target market, and how to encourage them to become loyal to your brand.

  3. Bookkeeping Services

    Most startups and small businesses don’t need a full-time, in-house accounting and bookkeeping team to address their finance and accounting needs. Outsource your bookkeeping services to a third-party firm, and it will save you a lot of money.

    In the Philippines, for example, there’s large talent pool of certified accountants whom you can hire to keep your books in order, from payroll to taxes. Apart from their advanced English language skills, they are also proficient in international accounting standards.

  4. Digital Marketing

    Building a brand doesn't happen overnight. Marketing your brand on your website, social media accounts, and other digital channels can save you a lot of marketing dollars. Some startups, however, don't realize that it's not as easy as they may think. Time, resources, and expertise are necessary for any digital marketing campaign to be a success.

    Digital marketing involves a lot of serious content creation to establishing the brand online. These marketing strategies include web design and development, content marketing, SEO, online PR, social media marketing, paid advertising, and more.

    Outsourcing your digital marketing services will save your startup company a lot of time and money, as creative agencies are experts in this field, and will deliver the results you may otherwise find difficult to achieve on your own.

  5. Customer Service

    These days, customer service is not just limited to voice calls. It can now be provided through email, social media, messenger apps, and other digital channels.

    In fact, customers expect brands to be reachable through multiple platforms, making it increasingly hard for companies to deliver streamlined customer service.

    Fortunately, there are outsourcing companies that can help you provide omnichannel customer service and efficiently integrate multiple platforms to make sure that your brand provides top-notch customer experience.

Things to Remember

Before you start looking around for outsourcing companies, make sure you know exactly what business process or function you want to outsource. Outline the processes in your company to determine what the most important ones are, and the tasks that need to be completed by your small team specifically.

Once you've decided to outsource, make sure to choose an outsourcing company that can help your business grow instead of those that offer offshoring and outsourcing services that make it hard for you to take over eventually.

Get the best outsourcing services from an outsourcing company that knows how to help startup businesses and SMEs. MicroSourcing has helped startups from all over the world get their business off the ground and grow at a rapid rate.

5 Customer Service Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Whether you have a B2B or B2C business, customer service is an important part of your business. It drives customer retention and loyalty, as well as profitability. No matter how minor, customer service mistakes should be taken seriously and addressed immediately. A mistake may not be impactful at first, but if it persists, it could be a reason for your customer to refuse to renew with your company and switch to a competitor instead.

Customer service mistakes

To keep your customers happy and loyal, be aware of the customer service mistakes that you didn't know affect your business.

  1. Complicated Processes
    If it requires customers to put a lot of effort to do business with you. It will be most likely that they will eventually get exasperated and find a better service provider. Even if you have the best products or offer competitive rates, the hassle of the process will be a deal breaker.

    How to Avoid: Review the processes that your customers have to go through to acquire your products or services, from the registration and communication up to requests for returns/exchanges and warranties. Review previous customer feedback to learn about your customer's experience. Look for the obstacles and take action to make it better. Is it poor communication? Difficult website navigation? If the registration or purchasing process itself cannot be simplified, then make sure to set customer expectations early and to manage them well by communicating with them better.

  2. Poor or Inconsistent Overall Customer Experience
    Providing excellent customer service does not end with delivering high-quality products or services. There are many other things that make up the customers' overall experience. Sure, you were able to satisfy their need; but if the service was slow or the customer service representative was rude, it will result in a negative experience for them.

    How to Avoid: Establish an organizational culture that prioritizes providing excellent, proactive customer experience that goes beyond your core product or service. Make sure that every little detail that involves your customers is well taken care of.
  3. No Multiple Service Channels
    Directing potential customers to your contact form or online store for the initial communication or purchase is understandable, but once they need to follow up, you must be able to communicate with them through different channels. There will be customer concerns that are more effectively addressed through the phone, and forcing them to contact you via chat or email only won't suffice. This also involves accessibility. You must be able to cater to all of your customers, especially those with certain difficulties with hearing or reading.

    How to Avoid: Offer multiple channels where customers can reach you through different options that they're most comfortable with. Have customer service representatives ready to answer calls, chats, and emails. Many customers also like to reach out through your social media channels – by posting on your feed, leaving a comment, or sending you a private message.
  4. Automating Everything
    Having parts of your business processes automated can be cost-effective and produce a faster turnaround. However, what makes a great customer service interaction is the empathy and personalization that an actual human interaction provides. Many customers still prefer to have the option to talk to a real person, especially for complex issues.

    How to Avoid: In addition to having chatbots and answering machines, employ contact center agents to answer calls and messages and provide personalized solutions in real time.

  5. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
    Customers want solutions that are accurate and efficient, and they want it now. However, there are just things that cannot be realistically delivered quickly, or not in an ideal way. But when they call your customer service representatives, there is always a script to follow and not all information will be available, resulting in escalations and an irate customer.

    How to Avoid: Make sure that your customer representatives actually listen to your customers and that they have access to the right information. Set realistic expectations and not over-promise then under-deliver.

Handling customer concerns may tend to be delayed or neglected when you are focused on the core aspects of your business. To make sure providing an excellent customer service experience stays a priority, you can outsource a team of customer service representatives or contact center agents to focus on providing undivided attention to your customers and giving them realistic and effective solutions. Be proactive and avoid customer service mistakes, or fix them immediately as they happen. Don't wait until your customers choose to switch providers or give you a bad review.

7 Reasons to Outsource to a Philippine Contact Center

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Business process outsourcing (BPO) in the Philippines is a booming industry, with many foreign businesses choosing the country to outsource their back office services, data transcription, creative services, IT and software development, and most of all contact centers. In the past year, the Philippines became the top call center country, overtaking India. The call center sector is forecasted to continue its strong growth rate until 2020.

Among its other Asian competitors including India, Malaysia, and China, why do international businesses choose to outsource to a Philippine contact center? Here are some of the top reasons:

Cultural affinity

Many years ago, the Philippines used to be under a different foreign rule, namely Spanish, Japanese, and American, until its independence in 1898. With the country's strong affinity with Western culture, it has become an inherent trait to the Filipinos to be easily adaptable to different customs and cultures.

Accent neutrality

Philippine contact centers hire agents who are good in spoken and written English, a skill not hard to find among the pool of talents in the country. In fact, one of the reasons the Philippines has overtaken India as the top BPO destination is because of the Filipinos' accent neutrality. Contact centers rely on communication to provide efficient customer support. And being able to speak and communicate clearly in English, the universal language, is among the top requirements when businesses choose where to outsource contact centers.

Lower costs

Businesses can reduce expenses and save more money by outsourcing to the Philippines, where labor costs are lower but the quality of service is paramount. In the Philippines, jobs in the BPO industry provide higher wages than other local positions. This means more employees will most likely be more attracted to a BPO position, resulting in a continuous supply of manpower. And this encourages global businesses to outsource more business processes to the country.

More locations outside the capital

Outsourcing opportunities in the Philippines are not only in Manila. There are also BPO centers in Cebu, Davao, Clark, and Baguio, among others. Foreign investors typically want to set up their call centers in Manila, but there are also a lot of talent in other cities, and doing business outside the capital is also much less cheaper.

Support from the government

The Philippine government encourages foreign investors to support the BPO industry in the country through enticing benefits such as tax holidays and tax exemptions. The rules and regulations that apply to BPO companies in the country also promote the growth of the BPO industry.

Intensive training and education

Aside from the Filipinos being naturally adaptable and highly influenced by Western culture, contact center employees also receive intensive training to further improve their English accent neutrality as well as their customer service and communication skills. There are now also studies and university training programs dedicated to this specific field.

Hospitality and positive outlook

Filipinos are known worldwide as hospitable and optimists, two important characteristics that anyone working in the customer service industry should have. The positive attitude not only reflects on how they deal with customers but also shows in their outstanding work ethics – how they value their jobs and how they are proactive in improving their skills.

4 Tips for Outsourcing HR & Recruitment

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Businesses of all sizes, from startups to established enterprises, find outsourcing HR and recruitment as a valuable business tool. Outsourcing in general is a common business strategy to take advantage of specialized expertise at competitive costs.

Outsourcing HR and recruitment processes helps businesses catch up with the complex and ever-changing employment regulations, especially if managing and recruiting employees offshore. For instance, if you are hiring outsourced employees from the Philippines, it only makes sense to outsource a Filipino HR and recruitment professional to handle your business's offshore employment processes more efficiently.

Your guide to outsourcing HR & recruitment

To further guide you in effectively outsourcing your HR and recruitment processes, read these 4 tips.

  1. Identify what you need. Within human resources management, there is talent acquisition, talent retention, and talent management. Be specific whether you want to outsource a specific HR function or the entire process.
  2. Provide your company plan. In order for the outsourced HR specialist to recruit top talents that will add value to your business, you must provide a business strategy that will be aligned with the recruitment goals.
  3. Establish a strong relationship with your provider. The more your HR and recruitment outsourcing partner gets to know your company and understands your company culture, the more likely they will source better candidates that fit the company.
  4. Set key performance indicators (KPIs). To measure the effectiveness of your HR and recruitment outsourcing provider, set KPIs such as attrition rates, employee retention, time for recruitment, and time to achieve goals, among others. The KPIs can also help identify the effectiveness of the HR and recruitment program and if it needs to be adjusted or refined.

Beyond job posting, screening CVs, and interviewing candidates, HR and recruitment outsourcing improves companies' hiring and employee management processes through intensive evaluation of each candidate and through employee engagement programs that aim to improve the employee's motivation and productivity.

The Ultimate List of Outsourcing Statistics

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Monday, December 11, 2017 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

More than decades ago, companies started outsourcing their business processes and functions to offshore locations, primarily to cut down on costs and focus on core business activities at home. Since then, the global outsourcing industry has come a long way.

Advancement in technologies has made it much easier to perform work from a remote location, and consequently, the offshore outsourcing industry has grown tremendously. Research studies have been conducted to provide insights and statistics on popular outsourcing destinations and the outsourcing providers that offer their services to customers from all over the world.

Outsourcing statistics

We've compiled the ultimate list of outsourcing statistics to help stay up-to-date with the trends. Check out this infographic and read on to learn more about the global outsourcing industry.

Outsourcing Statistics Infographic

The Global Outsourcing Industry

According to Deloitte's 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey, 78% of respondents claim that they feel positive about their outsourcing relationship.

When asked about the reasons for outsourcing, 59% of businesses cited cost-cutting as the primary reason, while 57% claims that it enables them to focus on core business functions. Another 47% of businesses claim that outsourcing solves business capacity issues.

Other reasons for outsourcing include the enhancement of service quality, critical to business needs, access to intellectual capital, business environmental management, and wider transformational change.

This is why more industries are outsourcing their business processes, especially IT and customer service. Outsourcing sectors include IT-BPO, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, energy, travel and transport, telecommunications, and media.

In KPMG's recent Global IT-BPO Outsourcing Deals Analysis, telecommunications sector consistently remains one of the top contributors to the outsourcing industry. It's because this sector is increasingly leveraging information and communication technology as well as social, mobile, analytics, and cloud technology.

Adoption and Revenue

Another study revealed that since the Great Recession in the United States, the country had outsourced more than 2.4 million jobs. In fact, 57% of companies in the United States increased their use of outsourcing, while 34% significantly restructured outsourcing agreements and only 9% terminated their outsourcing agreements.

When KPMG analyzed the deals closed in the first quarter of 2017, they found that albeit decreasing, the Americas is continuing to be a major outsourcing region that contributes 42% of the total deal value (from 68% the previous quarter). Of these, 41.5% came from the United States alone.

Meanwhile, the EMA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) and ASPAC (Asia and Oceania) regions are not far behind and have increased their adoption of outsourcing. In the previous quarter, EMA contributed 27% of the total deal value, but during the first quarter of 2017, their contribution increased to 35%. Of this percentage, 22.07% of deals came from the United Kingdom.

ASPAC, on the other hand, contributed 23% this quarter as compared to only 16% in the last quarter. Australia and India were also identified as a key outsourcing market in the same report.

Since the advent of outsourcing, revenue has almost doubled. In 2000, the global market size for outsourcing was at 45.6 billion U.S. dollars and that number has continued to grow until it reached 88.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. However, the same source reported that last year, the global market revenue went down to 76.9 billion U.S. dollars.

Automation and Outsourcing

The global outsourcing industry has evolved, as automation technology is taking over much of business processes. Traditional IT-BPO offshoring models are evolving. In the past, operations of an entire business function are contracted. Today, specific services can be contracted and delivered across distributed environments in the world.

But, because automation is a relatively new technology, it still needs to be closely monitored. As a result, new jobs are created as human decision-making and critical thinking are still required in creative and more complex processes. These new positions require more advanced skills for the building, training, management, troubleshooting, and improvement of the technology. In effect, the demand for low-skilled jobs in offshore BPO companies is declining, and the demand for higher skilled workers that can manage and improve automation technology is rapidly increasing.

As such, new offshore positions are being created in rhythm with the trend of outsourcing higher-skill jobs, and creative tasks that cannot be automated is rising. According to MicroSourcing, the most common business processes that companies nowadays outsource are for small or one-time projects, photography services, administrative tasks and repetitive processes, accounting and bookkeeping, and graphic design projects.

The Philippines as a Top Outsourcing Destination

Because SMAC and automation technology is rising, A.T. Kearney took digital competence in consideration to identify the top outsourcing destinations in its Global Services Location Index (GSLI). Along with this, they used 38 metrics surrounding financial attractiveness, people skills and availability, and business environment. In this GSLI, the Philippines ranks as the 7th best offshoring landscape.

Meanwhile, the Tholons Services Globalization Index added digital innovation this year as one of the metrics in coming up with the top outsourcing destinations in the world. It places the Philippines 3rd on its list of top digital nations. Manila is also ranked 4th on their list of top super cities.

These rankings confirm that the country is holding steady as an industry leader in outsourcing. As one of the world's largest English-speaking nations with a 95% literacy rate, the Philippines is an undisputed leader in customer service and BPM (Business Process Management). In fact, 16 of the top 20 offshore call center projects in 2016 were located in the country.

More importantly, the Philippines is gaining ground in high-value fields including legal-BPO and engineering. The country is constantly updating the skills and knowledge of their talent pool to keep up with the evolution of outsourcing trends and automation technology.

Final Words

Digital forces such as robotics, AI, cloud storage, social media, mobile technology, and big data are shaking up the traditional model of outsourcing services. As such, the global outsourcing industry is becoming increasingly competitive, with Canada, Chile, Israel, and Brazil disrupting its landscape. Outsourcing companies and third-party providers need to innovate and re-invent their services to keep up with evolving demands.

At MicroSourcing, we enable organizations and enterprises to get the most value for their money and grow their business exponentially in response to today's digital demands. Whether you're a startup company or an established enterprise, we make sure to offer a strong outsourcing option to help your business thrive.