Top 3 QA Errors Business Owners Make When Outsourcing/Offshoring
So you’ve already outsourced/off-shored and are happy with the new offshore members of your team. They seem to get it and are producing the numbers. How do you remove any uncertainty and gain the confidence that everything is really in order? How do you know for sure that the sales they closed were really sales and customers were genuinely interested? Or that the orders they submitted will actually land because the forms were filled completely and correctly?
We're all aware of the importance of maintaining quality in the delivery of products and services to our customers. However, the impact of not having a quality assurance framework to support your operations, or a segment of it, is magnified if your team is located 4,400 kilometers away in the Philippines.
Below are the most common quality assurance misses I've seen that businesses who off-shored made.
1) Not performing any quality assurance at all
No customer complaints = no errors. Right? Wrong!
The impact of some processing errors may take months to see. By then, it may already be too late to correct. Not having a proactive way of checking if your offshore team is delivering to desired outcomes, or delivering those outcomes efficiently, can be very costly.
Likewise, only celebrating productivity wins without taking any quality assurance steps will send the wrong message to your team and will eventually drive quality down.
Regardless of the type of function you had outsourced/off-shored, quality assurance checks are necessary to gain the confidence and peace of mind that your off-shored staff are doing it correctly, completely, properly.
2) Not having documented processes, documented objectives, documented quality assurance guidelines
No processes = no standards. No standards makes checking quality against something impossible.
Communicating and documenting expectations is a necessary first step to outsourcing/offshoring. (We love processes!)
A quality assurance framework will support those processes to ensure compliance.
Documenting anything is the challenge really especially for small and medium businesses. If you're outsourcing or offshoring, make sure you ask your service provider if they can help with this.
3) Not calibrating
In the outsourcing/offshoring world, quality assurance auditors who are employed by the service provider are called Internal QA auditors. While those that sit within your business in Australia (yourself or another manager), are called External QA auditors. Both types of auditors are employed sometimes to increase the QA coverage, or the number of transactions being audited. Having a higher QA coverage, however, doesn't always translate to better quality.
Calibration is necessary to make sure that your offshore provider are assessing the team's work and flagging opportunities like you would. They need to have the same understanding of your standards and should be interpreting the guidelines the way you would.
Internal QA auditors (your offshore provider) and External QA auditors (you or someone else in your business) who aren’t calibrated, or are contradictory of each other, can impact the service delivery capability of the offshore staff, wreak havoc to their morale, and cause more quality issues.
Calibrating is easy and can be achieved by regularly having all stakeholders - the auditors, a member of the offshore team - assess the same work so the variances in scoring can be managed.
The Right Service Provider
The quality of your product or service does not need to suffer because you've decided to take advantage of the savings and other benefits that outsourcing/offshoring provides. By simply investing a little more time and effort to establish a QA framework, you can secure your customers' experience and your business's expected outsourcing/offshoring RoI.
The right service provider will either guarantee quality while delivering outcomes, or make sure you're guided in establishing a QA framework.
Your service provider's participation should depend on your desired level of participation in managing your offshore team. Regardless, not everything should be on you.