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Balakarthik Venkataramanan
By
December 09, 2016

ARTICLE: Outsourced vendor journey mapping. Do you have one?

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Customer experience mapping and customer service employee lifecycle mapping are two areas organizations have gained a thorough understanding through dedicated sources of intelligence internally as well as externally.

The journey mapping for both customers as well as employees have helped organizations understand the key focus and failure points for these two most critical success drivers of an organization’s customer service strategy. As a result, organizations design their customer and employee retention strategy accordingly, yielding a significant advantage in the market place for organizations. The journey mapping and resulting gap identifications & actions have been a game changer for some of the trendsetters in the customer service world.

Other than your customers and employees, there is a 3rd pillar of success to drive your customer service strategy to be successful. Your outsourced partner. Unfortunately, sometimes the third pillar is viewed only as a metric spitting machine and fails to get the same attention and support the other two pillars receive.

Especially for organizations with significant outsourcing strategy, your customer service success and the resulting impact on your bottom line lies on the shoulders of your outsourced partners and hence it becomes critical for you to evaluate and support your partner through out their engagement journey with you.

pillar

So, why not create a formal concept of outsourced partner journey mapping? I have seen some aspects of this in bits and pieces across organizations but yet to see a holistic outsourced partner journey mapping at the same levels of customer or employee journey mapping. A supplier lifecycle management principle & framework exists in SAP, but seems far from relevant for the customer service world.

What is the outsourced partner journey map that I am referring to here?

A successful Outsourced partner journey map will capture the various stages of your outsourced partner’s engagement lifecycle within your organization, structured trigger points, evaluation criteria and related actions it generates. It also identifies potential gaps between what your business and customer requirements are vs. the partner’s operational reality. More importantly, help evaluate your partner’s operational and business capabilities to decide your long-term future with the partner.

So, let’s give this a shot…what are the different phases of your outsourced partner’s engagement journey?

PJM

The phases outlined should be very familiar for outsourcing organizations and must already be in existence, however the opportunity is to:

  1. Bring the different phases of the partner lifecycle together to create a holistic partner journey roadmap.
  2. Align the contracts, operating rhythm, performance expectations, incentives & review cadence for each of these phases.
  3. Develop the accountability, roles & responsibilities chart for the outsourcing organization and the partner for each of the phases.
  4. Identify potential failure points impacting customer for each of the phases and develop a customer contingency and impact avoidance/mitigation plan.
  5. Develop evaluation criteria & metrics as a way to evaluate the corresponding progress for each of the phases.
  6. Setting clear expectations to your partner on the deliverables and outcomes expected through the phases.

What makes a partner journey map powerful is its ability to highlight the flow of the partner engagement lifecycle. From the ups and downs along the way to those critical pain points where your attention and focus are most essential to make your outsourcing strategy successful.

The partner journey map will provide an additional layer of rigor and structure to your partner management capabilities that will not only ensure that the third pillar of your customer service strategy structure remains intact but also elevate your overall customer retention strategy. Give it a shot!

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