Many in our industry have run into significant challenges working with offshore IT service providers, but a lowering of quality standards is not inevitable. By knowing what to look for when seeking an offshore service provider, companies can help ensure that their expectations are met.
Some of the Challenges
Communication challenges – these challenges are often due to cultural differences as well as linguistic differences
- Lack of quality consultants – some service providers are more focused on the number of billable bodies than in maintaining excellence of service
- Poor employee retention rates- which means critical customer business and project knowledge gets lost during a “changing of the guard”
Communication challenges can be due to dealing with unfamiliar accents, but they can happen as a result of cultural differences, as well. As the world grows smaller, cross-cultural communication is more important. Fortunately, many companies understand its increasing importance and place a greater emphasis on retaining quality consultants who understand the culture with which they are interacting.
A major consequence of poor employee retention rates is that clients may not have the same account executive with whom to speak. When this happens, a loss of crucial knowledge about a customer’s business and the project is inevitable. Projects – and client relationships – suffer when knowledge transfer efforts interrupt the progress of a project and creates inconsistencies.
Not all offshore service providers have these issues, but enough situations have arisen to sully the reputation of offshore service providers.
What to Look For
Offshore IT service providers should strive for quality, not quantity. Striving for quality builds client relationships for the long haul, supporting the business of both the client and the service provider.
A service provider should focus more on acting as a partner and thought leader to the client, as well, offering recommendations and strategies that support the client’s success. That, too, will encourage a long-term relationship.
What then should a company look for when seeking an offshore IT service provider?
- First, look at the service provider’s employee retention rates. As stated earlier, a low employee retention rate means you will often need to re-introduce your company’s business and its needs to your new service rep. At Solugenix, for example, our attrition rate never exceeds 7 percent.
- Is the service provider backed by U.S.-based leadership to whom you can reach out when necessary?
- Are the costs appropriate for the services being provided? Compare and see. It’s a cliché because it’s true: You get what you pay for.
Offshore technology service providers make economic sense and often help clients grow their business in inventive and unexpected ways. As with other aspects of business, those who take the time to investigate and find the right partner will reap the rewards.