Considering outsourcing? Plan for changing service requirements!

Posted on August 25, 2021

One of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, is quoted as saying “When you are finished changing, you are finished.”

This is true for both outsourcers and their clients. Business processes, customer expectations, and technology are always changing. An environment that allows and promotes collaborative, productive change provides significant value to both outsourcer and client alike. Here are tips to readily accommodate changes to the services delivered in an outsourcing arrangement.

Negotiate a flexible contract change clause in your outsourcing contract. As a client, you will likely need a new service at some point. Having a clause in your contract that allows for a new service to be delivered for one to three months at a pre-determined hourly rate is recommended. This allows you to ask for new services in response to your business needs and allows the outsourcer to staff the service provision without cost concerns. The cost and complexity can then be assessed to determine if the service is viable long term. This is best done by applying my second tip for addressing changes to services delivered…which is “measure collaboratively.”

Measuring a new or changed service quality collaboratively between outsourcer and client allows both parties to look at how a new service is delivered. Examining how both parties’ skills were brought to bear and how the output measured up to satisfy the client’s business need are also reviewed. Collaboratively designing and adjusting the service produces the best approach to facilitate the desired business change.

My third tip for processing service changes is to focus on each other’s businesses. In proposing and designing changes to service, the outsourcer will benefit from being focused on the outcomes related to the client’s business. In turn, if the client is flexible relative to how the service is delivered, allowing the outsourcer to design the service delivery that’s efficient and effective for them, both parties win. 

Last, I suggest taking the attitude of extend a favor, get a favor. As quickly bringing new services to bear can result in bumps and errors, giving each other some slack is particularly useful. Applying reasonability, the client can temporarily ease service delivery standards when a new service is delivered. In turn, an outsourcer can temporarily provide a service at a reduced cost while the parties work through issues.

These tips are taken from my Outsourcing Critical Success Factors course on LinkedIn Learning. It’s one of a series of six courses on outsourcing that I have on the LinkedIn Learning platform. You can access the course via this link:

Not a member of LinkedIn Learning? You’ll get to view the introduction to the course, and will be given the opportunity to get a free trial which will give you access to the entire LinkedIn Learning Library of courses.