Six eCommerce Outsourcing Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making and How to Fix Them
While ecommerce outsourcing is not a perfect science, there are many benefits you can have by expanding your workforce to include employees from an offshore service facility. But, when your outsourcing strategy doesn’t seem to be working or seems to be taking a long time to produce results, what do you? Rather than find someone to blame, work with your team to find a viable solution to your problem.
The first step to this process is to identify the problem. If you’re wondering where your team may have made a mistake or missed a step, check out the following list of possible ecommerce outsourcing mistakes you don’t know you’re making and ways to fix them as soon as possible.
#1 You’re not taking advantage of your offshore team’s location to provide 24/7 support for your business.
Some entrepreneurs prefer to hire a small team of two or three people to do short, simple tasks. But, this setup greatly limits your company’s capability to consistently provide support to your customers, vendors, and business partners.
Rather than limit your outsourcing strategy to just one team, why not hire more people? Having two or three teams of trained agents work for you in interlocking shifts will ensure that your business continues to run smoothly even when you’re not in the office.
#2 You’re actually holding back your outsourced team from developing their skills and extending their function from support to an extension of your company’s workforce.
Are you thinking of hiring freelancers or home-based contractors for data entry work? Short answer: think twice before you do so.
Service providers that provide ecommerce support usually train their agents to do more than copy-and-paste data from a spreadsheet to an online database and vice-versa. They can write short business emails for follow-ups, answer messages from current and potential customers through chat and email, manage your social media marketing, and even make or take calls for you like an executive assistant.
Rather than hire more people, look into members of your team for hidden talent. Nurture this talent and you can mold that person into a future project manager or a versatile virtual assistant.
#3 You’re not keeping track of what’s happening with your team and how much progress they’re making with their tasks.
Use a set of collaborative tools similar to Google Drive apps, which include Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Train your team to send their end-of-day and weekly reports diligently.
This, however, doesn’t give you license to micromanage your team.
It may be a tired cliche, but micromanagement is a common problem and a big one for managers and business owners with limited outsourcing experience. Your team may be far away from you, but it doesn’t mean they will need a lot of hand-holding to get the job done.
When you meet online for a brainstorming session or for important group discussions, refrain from pushing your ideas on them. Let them figure things out on their own after you have provided clear and detailed instructions for them. If they have additional questions, be generous with your time in answering them.
#4 You’re not investing enough human resources, time and money into strengthening your web and data security.
Your site may have a basic SSL certificate, but are you sure it’s updated? Make sure your website management team knows the data security measures you have in place to protect your customers’ personal and financial information. Trust your team to behave professionally and to keep your data confidential and secure.
More importantly, invest in newer technologies for web and data security. It may be a bit expensive to pay for a Verisign certificate or get accredited by a governing body like Better Business Bureau, but it’s worth the money and patience you’ll be pouring into the process.
#5 You underestimated the work involved in pushing your online marketing campaigns out the door and getting results from them.
In all honesty, the amount of work involved in online marketing is so huge and wide-ranging that you’ll need a separate support team just for that. Members of this team will include an experienced online marketer who can handle paid search and social media ads management, a web developer with mad design skills, and a couple of writers who can produce creative and unique product descriptions as well as business emails and other types of content.
Don’t hire two or three data entry workers for your team when you need skilled agents to handle your online marketing and social media presence with panache. Invest in hiring talented agents and treat them as collaborative partners in your ecommerce business rather than just rank-and-file employees.
#6 You chose the wrong outsourcing partner to handle your ecommerce support needs.
Don’t be blinded by how inexpensive it is to hire technical and administrative help from low-cost service providers. Because they’re operating with narrow margins, they will likely resort to making poor management decisions, such as using pirated software, buying second-hand equipment, and hiring newbies who lack the right training and experience, just to survive.
eCommerce companies with little to no experience in outsourcing tend to miscalculate their strategy. This is the reason why getting a reliable outsourcing provider is fundamental.
Work with your provider in figuring out the best way to take advantage of your team’s geographical location and develop their capabilities to help your business grow.
Share the responsibility of keeping track of your team’s progress and making sure your web and data security is up-to-date.
And, don’t be afraid to invest in hiring a specialized team for designing and maintaining your website and managing your online marketing strategy.