Your BPO Process Destination: 5 Strengths of PH Business Sector

Your BPO Process Destination: 5 Strengths of PH Business Sector

Research was published on dict.gov.ph, “Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups: 2015 and Beyond.” This aims to generate BPO process providers that will greatly help the country’s economic growth. One of the points mentioned in the research is the SWOT analysis of the Philippines. This is used in measuring the growth and development of country’s economy.

Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups: 2015 and Beyond” stated these five strengths of the Philippine business sector:

1.Strong Tourism Initiatives

In 2012, the Department of Tourism in 2012 launched its campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.” This aimed to immerse tourists in Filipino culture, in the form of destinations, people, and experiences. The campaign brought 10% growth in total earnings of US$4.84 billion, exceeding previous year’s earning of US$4.40 billion.

2. Proficiency in the English Language

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores in 2010 showed that the Philippines ranked 35th out of 163 countries worldwide. This is according to the Educational Testing Services Report. The Philippines also ranked first in Business English Proficiency, based on a study by the Global English Corporation. This language proficiency allows Filipinos to attain jobs that need strong proficiency in English language, especially in BPO process.

3. This Generation’s Population

As of 2014, the Philippines has one of the youngest populations in Southeast Asia. 60% of this population range 15-64 years old. This rate indicates that with young working population and fewer dependents, household income devoted for consumer spending and investments can increase.

4. Competitiveness in BPO Industry

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry contributes 4% to the Philippines’ GDP for its sustainable growth, in terms of industry size of at least 17% every year from 2006-2011. The Philippines also ranked 2nd among other countries in BPO process, next to India. According to the latest Tholons’ Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations for 2015, Philippines now has eight Next Wave Cities location from which Manila and Cebu City remained in the top 10. Other Philippine spots in the Top 100 are Davao, Santa Rosa (Laguna), Bacolod, Iloilo, Baguio, and Metro Clark.

5. Business Climate Best for BPO Process

According to the ASEAN Business Outlook Survey of 2015, the Philippines’ business climate has greatly improved over the past five years. American firms that were surveyed say low cost of labor, laws and regulations, personal security, and tax structure are among the satisfactory considerations.

Considering these five strengths, BPO process in the country will only progress in the coming years. The Philippines possesses developed hubs, as well as professionals who are always available as sourcing prospects.

Three Notorious Misconceptions About BPO Solutions, DEBUNKED (1 of 2)

Three Notorious Misconceptions About BPO Solutions, DEBUNKED (Part 1 of 2)

Have you considered the advantages of BPO solutions to your business? Or are you among those hesitant, even wary about the prospect? Outsourcing is staple practice in big corporations, but does this translate to small businesses and start-ups? There are many reasons why businesses avoid BPO services and its potential to bolster operations. However, it’s likely some of these reasons are based on faulted notions on the industry.

If you’ve yet to hire a BPO service provider, this short list is meant for you. Consider these three misconceptions on BPO that are far from the truth; you have a lot to gain by outsourcing your business!

Misconception #1: You’re Risking Your Data

This is by far one of the most pressing concerns companies have against outsourcing. Entrusting operations to BPO solutions means you’re willing to hand over necessary, essential data. Aren’t you going out on a limb, is the risk too much for the payoff? This is reason why companies want to keep processes contained and in-house. After all, supervising your teams hands-on sounds better than having someone else handle them for you.

As is with anything worth doing in business, due diligence is your ally in sourcing processes to a BPO provider. Scout and shortlist all viable prospects, conduct background checks. Grill your prospects for credibility and competence. You’ll eventually realize one of the perks of outsourcing debunks the next point:

Misconception #2: BPO Solutions Is Costly

This needs to be addressed bluntly: outsourcing is as feasible as you want it to be. Not costly or cheap, but feasible. The resources you’ll invest in outsourcing will have ROI comparable to investing in-house, but there’s significant difference in cost. There’s competition among BPO companies to provide service at competitive rates, for one thing. You have a range of options to consider, in cost and terms.

The source of the service is also a practicality, usually involving offshore companies with competitive, feasible offers. The least you can do is consider BPO solutions for a limited run, and then compare costs spent with your previous practice.

Misconception #3: No Control, Oversight On The Project

The notion is you’re giving the BPO service provider control of the campaign, down to the smallest details. This is true in as far as you’re granting autonomy, but if you’ve done your due diligence there’s nothing to worry about. A good BPO company will also have supervisors on board who will ensure your interests are prioritized throughout the campaign.

Let a reliable third party handle the details, and you’ll have more time and energy to focus on the big picture. Partner with a good BPO company, someone able to take care of day-to-day routines, ensuring your long-term goals are on track.

Outsource Customer Service? Here's How You Negotiate With A BPO Service Provider

Planning To Outsource Customer Service? Here’s How You Negotiate With A BPO Service Provider (Part 1 of 2)

Are you sifting through offers and counter-offers from providers? Option is always a good thing, the more the merrier. But, squeezing the best deal out of your candidates requires different skill: negotiation. If you’re going to outsource customer service, the negotiations determine how feasible the terms turn out. You don’t want to be on the losing end of the agreement, even if it’s a bargain.

Silence is a tactic seldom used in negotiations. But, if timed properly and in the right context, your silence will give you the upper hand. Here are three opportunities you’ll leverage by staying quiet:

1. When The Other Party Makes An Unreasonable Demand

Your impulse could be to protest with a retort, but in almost every occasion it’s better to stay quiet. At the very least, sustain a prolonged pause. The other party might be thinking you’ll cave in or argue; either way they get what they wanted. It’s also possible the goal is to obtain a reaction from you; will you flinch?

The best response is to keep your composure and stay still. This is effective if you don’t know exactly how to respond, not yet. The other party may have caught you off guard. Don’t show it, stall until you’ve regained your bearing.

2. When You Realize You’re Monopolizing The Talk Time

It happens. You’re so engrossed in your pitch you forget the other party may have reservations with your proposal. Or the questions piled up unaddressed because you’ve rattled so much information it’s too late to backtrack. Note that some prospects like to bide their time so they can build a case against your offer, and then retaliate with a nasty, point-to-point counter.

Discretion is important in negotiations; tread slowly, like you’re walking on eggshells. Share only information relevant to the negotiation, the bare minimum. Everything else can wait. Compare the conversation (or correspondence) to chess, where every move you make has end-game consequence.

3. When The Other Party Is Speaking

Never interrupt; it works to your advantage. If you’re going to outsource customer service, apply the principle of good conversation with intentional listening. Is your prospect five minutes into a litany of terms and exclusions? Hear the other party out; approach it as someone after a bargain, and find a way to turn the tables, if you can.

Take notes, and use these as fodder for your counter-offer. It’s ideal if the negotiation is conducted over email, but the same principles apply in person or over the phone. Maintain presence of mind in the interchange, and resist any urge to butt in on your prospect’s spiel.

Finding the best BPO service provider can be a challenge, especially if you want to outsource customer service to a provider with the most feasible bid. Remember, silence is your ally in negotiations; when in doubt, pause and resist the urge the speak out.

Maximizing Customer Retention: Handling Complaints

Businesses have goals to achieve, principles to observe, sales strategies to follow. Regardless of the nature of your business, it’s execution and strategies, there’s only one end point you’ll answer to –the receiver of the service –the customers. It is every company’s priority to deliver in accordance with the needs of consumers, always taking into consideration the importance of customer satisfaction in securing clientele.

However, it is no secret that dealing with different types of customers can sometimes (or always) be tricky; many consider BPO outsourcing the feasible solution, hiring personal trained for the task. No matter how careful and strict a company may be in running their business, complaints are unavoidable. The smallest or the most prominent business names aren’t spared from backlash. The complaint can be serious or trivial, but in order to keep a good relationship with clients, companies must deal with these problems as best as they can.

Handling complaints can be trying and time-consuming, and it’s also crucial for business owners to take immediate action in solving the problem – customers must be satisfied, and the company in good standing. While there’s no official manual on dealing with unhappy clients, following these steps may efficiently resolve the issue.

Identify What the Complaint Is All about

Knowing the nature of the complaint gives you insight on what went wrong with the service/s provided. Ask questions that would help you better understand the situation; you’ll know how to proceed in resolving the problem. It’s important you avoid arguments; be professional and polite in effort to work out amenable solution. Assure complainants they’ll receive proper compensation for the problem – sincerity always calms angry customers.

Propose Win-Win, Reasonable Solutions

After you hear out the customer’s side on the complaint, the appropriate action would be to offer a rational solution appealing to the client. Inquire about preferred resolution to the issue, evaluate and implement. Immediate resolution reflects a good image on the company, hopefully leaving no trace of the unfortunate incident. Ultimately, you should win back the trust and loyalty of your clients.

Complaints are smears on your company’s reputation, there is no getting away from it – entrepreneurs are fully aware of the consequences. Resolve issues for two reasons – to keep customers from switching to another brand, and to maintain good reputation. Complaints are often directed to customer service/support, so it it essential your support staff is qualified and trained for the task; this requires patience and empathy.

Clients want to feel that their concerns are valued, so it is wise to hire support who are rational and decisive. Customer support is one of the most important factors in a business, they’re front-liners to complaint management. Investing on a capable team through BPO outsourcing pays off, with a solid and growing customer base.

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You Need These Five People to Succeed in Business

4 Smart Solutions When Your Capital Isn’t Enough

You Need These Five People to Succeed in Business

If you were asked to drum up a list of people crucial to your business’s success, who would be your first five picks? It’s hard to imagine success without support, and this usually involves a wide network of contributors. This is true for start-up companies sprinting towards the jump; your momentum determines how far you’ll go, and there should be people supporting you all the way.

You need all the help you can get, but if you had a choice, who are the people you want to propel you to success, with less time and minimal effort? We shortlisted them into five types; your business is probably already partnered with several of them. Complete your dream team if you want to fast-track your success.

1. The Adviser / Coach

Spare yourself from false starts and countless mistakes; learn all you can from those who’ve been there and done that. Advisers ideally have years of gleaned experience to offer – imagine all the pressure and anxiety you’ll skip with mentoring! You may already have insider knowledge and wisdom, but you can’t best good advisers when it comes to experience.

Many mentors are also well-connected in the industry, something you can tap onto as you expand your initial network.

2. The Industry Insider

Insiders are different from mentors because they exponentially boost your network. They’re well-connected and willing to refer you to the appropriate channels. An insider’s introductions are precious! You could find someone who knows someone, who knows someone important. You’ll join smaller and smaller circles as you zero in on your best contacts.

Insiders boost your reputation and influence by mere association; a good insider is like having Obama re-tweeting your tweet, exposing your handle to his millions of followers.

3. Peers

You’re on equal ground with peers, which means you have everything to gain by earning their approval. It’s true they don’t have the upscale insights advisers offer, but their network is still crucial if you really want to be part of the community. Peers share your struggles and triumphs, and there’s reward in knowing you’ve hurdled roadblocks the hard way, with colleagues.

You’ll tackle similar problems with peers, and there are plenty of opportunities to handle. Find solutions as a team, and move forward.

4. The Specialist

They keep your business (and the community) from falling apart. They’re also the grinding gears of your business. That’s a crude analogy, but specialists do ensure every piece is in its rightful place. They’re skilled in focus areas you want to press, and they’re immediately accessible in your network. If you’re outsourcing jobs, specialists can be freelancers, fresh graduates, or free agents rapidly moving between projects. Some may even be working on their own start-ups on the side.

5. The Investor

How deep are your pockets? You’ll know by the quality and quantity of your investors. Yes, you can be frugal with resources, but you also need a consistent stream of working capital if you want to succeed long-term. Investors boost your resources until you can stand on your own, and they also help get you out of tight situations. You’ll find them in unlikely places, and they’re so hard to spot, so elusive – you’ll only know when you’re introduced by the right connections.

Investors rarely (if ever) advertise their services, so the best way to meet them is to be properly introduced. You usually need a good reputation to make this happen.

There’s always a better way to jump start a business, but you’ll cut a lot of corners if you’re partnered with the right people. Ensure you’re on board with them if you want the shortest possible (and feasible) ­route to success.

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Six Strategies to Maximize Your Business Profits

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Six Strategies to Maximize Your Business Profits

Profit is primary reason in doing business, but it’s hardly the end-all of goal. Success is measured with various metrics, like healthy client relationship, employee satisfaction, liquid assets, etc. It can also be elusive, especially without planning and strategizing. If you want to maximize revenues as soon as feasible, you need to consider a handful of factors to make this happen.

Investing in business comes with risks, and only people with true grit are able to handle the pressure. If you have any intent of building a start-up, then you should be ready to invest your money, time and personal comforts to make it happen. Here are six strategies that ensure you get more mileage with your initial efforts:

1. Know Your Target Crowd

You have plenty to consider in putting up a business. If you’re starting a restaurant, you think of the best location and the best ingredients, hire the best crew to set your business apart from the rest. However: while thinking of the best elements to complete your business, you might forget the number one factor that is needed to succeed – your target market.

Your target market is the most important factor you should consider; without it, no one will purchase your products and avail of your services. It’s hard to develop a business if you’re clueless about the market. Consider the crowd covered by your products or services, what they want and need, and what they’re willing to pay for, as you go along improving your enterprise.

2. Make Your Business Stand Out

After examining your target market, determine how to highlight your product’s unique features, use these to develop brand identity. Make your product stand out so it’s unique to all the other offers on the market. It must be attractive enough so the market is encouraged to patronize your products and services. Get a grip on this technique if you want to find your sweet spot on the market.

3. Make Your Business Known

Investing heavily in business, keep in mind the best way to achieve success is to be visible to as many people as possible. Your products or services might be as good as your crowd demands, but if it is not known by the public, there’s less chance you’ll achieve what you really want. After developing the best product to market, start a buzz around it and maximize reach before launch. There are two ways to make your business known: by maximizing exposure online (social media), and through outreach marketing.

4. Deliver a Great Customer Experience

Once you are done introducing your products to the market, deliver to expectations in terms of service. First impressions last, so make sure your initial impact is positive, or at least satisfactory. Deliver what your market wants, and they will note your service for next time; you have potentially subsequent customers, repeat business. Customers who are secure in your business stay loyal, which is always good in the long-term.

5. Offer a variety of products and services.

Your product is already exposed on the market, and it is already patronized. Building a momentum is challenging enough, but you also need to sustain it. People who are easily satisfied eventually ask for more and better. If you offer products without variety, there is a possibility that you might lose your customers. Try something new and add some spice to your business. Innovation is always needed in the industry and you should conduct it for your business’ success. Innovation keeps the crowd satisfied with what you offer, leaving them to choose from your products’ varieties.

6. Encourage Word of Mouth

A good impression goes a long way, especially when you’re just starting your business. If your first customers aren’t satisfied with your services, you’re seriously risking repeat business, choking your revenue stream. These same customers might give share negative comments about your business, preventing conversion of potential customers. Reputation spread by word of mouth is indeed significant; to gain more customers, encourage your first crop to refer you to others, ensuring your business develops and grows.

It takes a lot of courage to enter the business industry. The successful make it look so easy to profit, but it actually involves hard work and perseverance, which are so often endured behind the scenes.

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Four Outsourcing Challenges Your Business Needs to Hurdle

Is your business outsourcing projects to specialized teams? You’re on the right track in taking that first step; it’s cost-efficient and feasible. There are also fewer worries in entrusting processes to skilled, experienced teams. However, you need to overcome a handful of challenges before you invest; have you considered how the employees in the company will respond the changes, and are you clear on the expectations set with your service provider?

Outsourcing work as extension of your business is beneficial in the long run, but you need to cover all bases if you want to milk all of the benefits. Here are four challenges you need to consider before, during, and after you take the plunge:

1. Transitioning the Management

Outsourcing parts of your operations could mean you’ll have to let some people go. At the very least, you’ll restructure teams as necessary. You need to anticipate the disruptions, manage it so the change wouldn’t be a liability. Existing employees may resist with lack of support; some may also seek other opportunities. Nip this at the bud with proactive strategies that gradually, seamlessly transitions the change in management.

Develop a professionally made communication draft, sent to all stakeholders affected by the transition. It’s best if you can personalize each message to the recipient; sending unique messages to different employee levels will also work. You need to address everyone’s lingering thoughts, “What about me?” and “What’s in this for me?”

2. Cultural Differences

You’re coordinating with teams from different timezones, sharing tasks with different cultural and corporate mores. Your corporate culture may be opposite from your service provider; are you willing to adjust rigid policies to accommodate your provider’s casual approach? What works for you may not work for your provider, and a compromise can be your best solution to achieve synergy.

Factor in national cultures, which can be categorized into differences in language, work ethics, work hours, and religion. Asian cultures are less confrontational than their western counterparts, and your straightforward approach may be received as aggressive, threatening by your eastern counterparts. Your service provider will likely have awareness training resource on hand; coordinate and trade notes in effort to merge the cultures.

3. Unrealistic Expectations

They say great expectations come with great disappointments. You’re partially at fault if you don’t clarify expectations with your service provider at the outset. It is true some companies expect their providers to take care of everything, which is hardly the case (unless stipulated). Set the bar too high and you’ll end up overcritical on the output, worsened by a barrage of negative feedback.

Your executive team need to be aware outsourcing isn’t the end-all of solutions; expectations must be realistic and agreed upon by all parties. Employees and stakeholders must be kept up to speed on developments, including setbacks encountered as the project unfolds. Managing expectations ensures there’s goodwill between the company and clients moving forward.

4. Protecting Intellectual Property

IP is always at risk when you’re working with outside parties. Non-disclosure and non-competition clauses should be airtight, and strictly enforced. Mitigate risks in areas affected, including access to information, physical properties like buildings and offices; implement administrative safeguards that sanction employee conduct.

Keep in mind the safeguards must consider the corporate and cultural differences mentioned, draft policies that anticipate and cover for loopholes. You can’t be too careful with your intellectual property, and it must be said that once that precious trade secret is out, it is out.

All things considered, the benefits of outsourcing outweigh its disadvantages. It’s just a matter of ensuring you’re on the same page with your provider every step of the way. You have everything to gain with efficient coordination, since your business is heavily invested in the results.

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Media Managers

Expanding Your Business Reach: Multilingual Contact Centers

The Philippines is a primary source of English-fluent customer service employees, no doubt a feasible destination for companies in need of business process outsourcing. Did you know opportunities also abound not just for Anglophiles, but for multilingual customer service representatives? What makes multilingual contact centers prime potential, for companies looking for cost-effective solutions to sales and customer support? Your business has a lot to gain, whether you’re a start-up or large corporation. How can you take advantage of it? Here are points to consider before you invest:

A Culture Open to Influence

Most Filipinos are at the very least bilingual—learning English side by side with their native tongue at the start of their schooling. Many even have third or fourth languages, dialects learned in childhood. Thoroughly exposed to Western culture, Filipino contact center employees are surely comfortable in dealing with foreign customers. Their openness to other aspects of foreign cultures help them adjust and adapt to change, too—from their knowledge of Western pop culture to the influences of Malay, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean culture in their vocabulary and lifestyles.

Moreover, outsourcing employees who are well-versed in more than two tongues is an easy feat, given the prevalence of students studying in language institutes across the country.

Crucial Aspects in Maintaining a Good Multilingual Contact Center

Having a vast talent pool of people fluent in English, Mandarin, Spanish, Korean, or other languages is a good start. However, it’s better if you find other essential aspects before you invest in the country. This includes building a solid sales team who can easily fire on all cylinders to scout new demographics. Furthermore, it’s important your talent is thoroughly trained to be language and culture competent.

Investing in human resource outsourcing means investing in their potential. Employers must require more than fluency, since the customers they face will have different temperaments. For instance, German and Japanese customers are more likely to expect more efficient responses, given the importance of time in their cultures. Moreover, train your employees to know the variations in spellings in English—no matter if it’s American, British, Australian, or other varieties.

Developing a multilingual contact center pays off in the long run. So long as you make the most of your teams’ potential, you’ll always have someone able to step in to handle foreign-language clients.

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Navigating Timezones: Three Strategies for Expanding Businesses

Are you having trouble calculating the difference between EST and PST? Have you ever juggled one-hour discrepancies between states and cities? The tangle of time zones can twist your business into knots, especially if you’re involved in supply and customer service. Whether you’re dealing with clients or partners, it pays to be conscious of time zones. This inconvenience is necessary, but can be mitigated by outsourcing services to teams who can handle aspects of operations round the clock.

Toggling the timezones can be messy, but becomes second nature once you get the hang of it. Here are three strategies to start with:

1. Use Your Phone’s World Clock and Converter

It’s one of the most neglected features of smart phones, also one of the most useful. You’ll find this indispensable when you’re doing business in multiple locations. If you’re trying to schedule a meeting with clients from different countries, setting the best time to meet is easy when you have all the local clocks on hand for comparison.

Use this feature as a crutch until you know the conversions by heart. You can also rely on your smartphone’s world clock for every transaction. Either way, use this often enough and eventually you won’t need it.

2. Lay Down Timezone Rules with Clients

This is an awkward way to start, but must be settled so everyone’s clear on expectations. Which timezone will be used as basis in meetings, deliveries? This depends on your relationship to the other party. If you’re dealing with customers and clients, you’ll have to adjust. Otherwise you’ll have to compromise.

What’s the use of setting timezone ground rules? No one has an excuse for missing deadlines and deliverables if there’s a standard time set. You’re also displaying good business sense if you go out of your way and adopt a client’s local time as basis.

3. Keep Your 24-Hour Workday Feasible

Round-the-clock customer support is unavoidable when you’re serving customers in various timezones. It makes sense to have someone accommodating customers at the other end, responses customized and sent as soon as possible. This is crucial if you’re selling products worldwide; a feasible solution is to outsource services to contact centers, or dedicate teams to work in rotating shifts. You can also handpick sales reps based on locations you’re serving, working from home and on flexible hours.

Outsourcing pays off in customer service, if the response times complement the customer’s timezone. Being considerate of client’s time also increases chances of repeat service; you don’t want to annoy someone by replying on an ungodly hour. Personalize service by hiring someone local (or nearby) your clients to handle calls and queries.

Managing a business with global reach is a challenge, but it’s very doable with the right strategies. It also helps if you outsource services to reliable partners. Step up your game as you expand to new markets.

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3 Outsourcing Essentials for Better Business

Business Process Outsourcing has become an all-in-one solution in today’s industries. This is evident in the Philippines, with the local outsourcing jobs exhibiting exponential growth. The country hit high margins of employment in August 2014; from 101,000 in 2004, the workforce increased to over 930,000. It’s evident why outsourcing is the byword in cost-efficiency across a variety of industries.

Outsourcing is only beneficial if you approach it with the right strategies. There are variable, essential factors to consider before adopting solutions for your business, and it’s important your decisions are backed by solid evaluations. Here are three essentials to consider before you commit:

1. Consider the Costs

It’s common knowledge outsourcing saves time and money, but this is only the case if the solutions complement the business’s needs. Yours must be realistic in terms of sales or savings, projected and actual. Anticipate problems in production / operation to preempt losses. Survey factors that can affect your income, pave a clear path for your prospects.

2. Partner with the Right People

Synergy is crucial to smooth operations, all the more important in outsourcing jobs. Ensuring a successful business requires partnership with the right team. You get to screen and choose the service, so bide your time and consider as many quotes as you can before you commit. Don’t give in to what’s most feasible until you’ve weighed all strengths and weaknesses.

Beware the pitfall of going for the cheapest offer, though; this sometimes comes with serious tradeoffs. It helps if you choose the best one as you contrast the qualities of the products and services being offered. Entertain quotes and proposals, conduct background checks, evaluate history of performance, and never, ever skip the fine print.

3. Draft a Solid, Airtight Contract

The terms of service will either ensure you get the best end of the deal, or it could leave you shortchanged. At the very least, there’s mutual benefit with the outsourced party. Closing on the contract is tricky if you haven’t fleshed out the essential details with your partner. The dynamics of your partnership hinges on the signed agreement – it’s your assurance of quality service, also your safety net in untoward incidents.

A cost-effective business involves taking advantage of every opportunity, and outsourcing jobs is proven an efficient, feasible alternative to in-house sourcing. Your business has everything to gain with the service, so long as you guard your interest, do your due diligence. In any case, outsourcing companies are well aware of these expectations, it’s just a matter of finding the right people to partner with.

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