With the rise of cloud-based computing and remote working now a standard business practice, small to medium-sized businesses is increasingly discovering the tremendous benefits of building offshore support teams across all types of industries.
Setting up offshore support staff in low-cost economies such as the Philippines or India to support your on-shore operations is a great way to boost productivity, cut costs, and accelerate business growth, however, it’s not a guaranteed recipe for success.
To get the full value out of an offshore setup, there are a few things that you need to know first. In this guide, we have come up with 6 top tips to help you develop an offshore support team that delivers results for your business.
1. Set Your Goals
Outsourcing roles and functions within your business is not an easy decision to make and often different members of the organization will have different ideas around how and where to start. They may even have different motivations, but for outsourcing to be successful, you first need to think about your overall goal.
Do you want to reduce company expenses? Are you aiming to improve efficiency? Defining these goals will allow everyone to be on the same page and provide the clarity and direction that is crucial for building an offshore team.
2. Assess Your Infrastructure And Processes
When you’re preparing to start outsourcing, it’s important that your business is ready to handle the changes in your processes. This might mean some upgrades to your infrastructure are needed.
Take the time to evaluate your costs, capabilities and processes to identify what areas of your business will benefit the most from outsourcing, and how these processes can be performed by a remote workforce. With this information in hand, you’ll be able to see if you can actually meet the demands, as well as identifying the tools that you need to make it happen.
3. Know The Different Outsourcing Models
Take some time to learn about the outsourcing market by getting to know the different outsourcing models. You have to choose a model and location that will best suit your business needs before you start looking for an outsourcing company to partner with.
Once you’ve decided on the right model, start speaking with a number of service providers. They will be integral to the success of your business operations so make sure that you check their track records and that they align with your corporate culture and values.
Getting the onboarding process right is extremely important, but even if you already have existing onboarding programs in place for your local staff, there are a few additional considerations that you will need to make when working with a remote team.
Firstly, it is recommended that you record your training and document your policies so that remote staff can refer back to them given that it’s not as easy to pop into your office to ask a quick question when they are in a different country.
Another tip is to spend extra time building relationships. In an onshore setting, comradery and workplace culture are often built around water cooler conversations and lunch breaks, but with an offshore team, investing just a little extra time getting to know your staff early on can make a massive difference for your team.
5. Choose The Right Communication Methods
When working remotely, it can be very easy for the staff to feel out of sight and out of mind. This is why regular communication is a must for all businesses with offshore staff. Short daily Zoom/Skype huddles at the beginning or end of each day are a great way to ensure that everybody stays connected, focused, and on the same page.
We also highly recommend using video conferencing as your primary means of communication, with other methods such as email and chat being used for follow-ups and supplementary materials. Being able to both see and hear the speaker makes communications much clearer, especially when working in a cross-cultural setting.
6. Reach Out For Advice
This might be your first time setting up an offshore team, but your outsourcing provider has done it many times before and has seen first hand what works and what doesn’t. Any quality provider will be only too happy to share their experiences with you and help you along the way.
Many will also assign a dedicated account manager to help you and to answer any questions that you may have. Don’t be afraid to reach out and tap into their collective knowledge. Setting up an offshore support team can open up a world of opportunity for your business, and by following these 6 tips, you will definitely be on the right path towards outsourcing success.
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