You're probably familiar with the term "outsourcing," using a 3rd party company to complete projects that you don't want to or can't do internally. Many dealerships use external call centers, surveyors, mystery shoppers and outside mail houses.
Reasons for outsourcing range from economies of scale, convenience, accountability and increased productivity for current employees. Outsourcing can be a huge benefit to a dealership. One challenge for the automotive industry is to outsource for the right reasons. Most dealerships outsource for the wrong reasons.
One key question to ask yourself is, can you be sure that the projects you're outsourcing are driving the desired results? The decision whether to outsource or remain in-house doesn't have to be time-consuming or challenging. The goal is to simply to determine the best way to accomplish the project or activity most efficiently while driving the desired result.
There are four steps in determining whether to outsource or remain in-house:
Step 1: Identify what works what processes or activities when implemented drive results.
Step 2: Test the process to ensure the desired value is realizable.
Step 3: Implement the process consistently with the right resources (in-house or outsourced).
Step 4: Measure the results and strive for even better.
Generally, outsourcing is a good option when at least one of the following issues is at play: the task is mundane and/or very task-oriented, the task requires specialized skills that you don't have, the task requires constant management oversight for compliance or high efficiency to be achieved, or the task does not take away from the customer experience if done by someone outside the dealership. If these are not issues, in-house may be the better option.
If you'vedecided to outsource, the easiest way to ensure that your outsourcing decisions will be valuable to your business is to select a partner that will enable any execution strategy that YOU want. The key components to making your selection are flexibility, accountability and reliability, and most importantly the integration of the outsourced task into the day to day business processes of your people. This normally requires impressive technology and great communication between the outsourcing company and the dealership.
Choosing technology, for example, that is tightly integrated with an affiliated call center and print house affords you choices as to how your goals can be accomplished. You can perform the calls that you want to perform internally, and you can have calls that have not been made in a defined amount of time or based on certain criteria to be executed externally. This provides the dealership the control of the cost and the customer experience, both items are of extreme importance and drive profit. Many vendors can not accomplish such goals. So, choose your partner wisely.
This is just one way in which outsourcing can be beneficial. So should you outsource or keep your activities in-house? The real answer is both. Whichever choice allows you to enable the the most efficient linking of your goals -- to processes to profits is the way to go. A good strong partner is the key.