Increasingly companies use outside specialists to do their work. This is partly driven by the ever-lower costs of communication and better online collaboration tools. Almost anything can be outsourced to specialists and reconnected.
Certainly companies have for decades outsourced low-value work such as payroll processing and call centres, yet today more critical activities are being farmed out. Apple gets mobile apps from independent software developers. News publications use freelance journalists to write articles. For design companies it is common practice to use the talent of designers external to the company.
While companies are making greater use of outside specialists to improve performance, they face two trade-offs. The first is greater costs; outside specialists can be expensive. The second is increased risk of coordination and integration, such as managing service level agreements and smooth handover of work.
So, how can you organise a fragmented team of internal and external people to improve the customer experience?
Create a shared purpose and a complete process map.
Whether in sports or business, a team is a group of people with a shared goal. A fragmented process team needs a single, clear objective to focus and coordinate their activities. However, a shared purpose isn’t enough. To succeed in a process that crosses the boundaries of several organisations, workers must see it from end to end. Only by understanding the entire flow can they see opportunities for improvement. And only by collaborating with other process workers can they implement the changes.
Liberally share information on process performance.
Having and sharing data on a projects progression and performance , will create a more engaged team who are visibly accountable for their own performance and efforts to achieve an agreed outcome.
Create an online community for your process team.
Social networking systems offers a new way to support process teams across organisational boundaries. For example, online project applications such as Basecamp or even Facebook enable communication and the forming of an online community.
Question: How have you used a team of outside specialists to deliver a better customer experience?