In the globalized world that we live in it’s not very rare to find companies collaborating with each other from different parts of the globe.
It’s very common for digital agencies in the United States to work with technology services located abroad, especially in Latin America. The benefits to this type of structure are numerous, but if it’s the first time that your company will contract an outsource vendor there are also risks involved that could make this experience unpleasant.
Here are the key elements to a successful outsourcing experience, from the perspective of a foreign vendor.
1. Learn about your vendor’s culture
Understanding aspects of the culture of the team you work with will help you communicate more effectively. It will also allow you understand the way your vendor communicates and the reasoning behind it. Learning high-level details about your partner’s country and culture will also help to create a good relationship outside of work.
2. Speak Slowly
This is very important if you are a US based digital agency. The English skills that some of the outsourcing vendors provide can be quite impressive. In countries like Argentina, English is taught since kindergarten so it is a second language for most people. However, accents can be very difficult to understand especially over the phone. Reducing your speed and talking clearly will make the conversation more productive.
3. Avoid using slang, unless you are willing to explain it
Related to #2, as you reduce your speaking speed, avoid using slang expressions that can be confusing for your partner in another country and culture. If you want to use any particular idioms that are not very commonly used, ask your partner if they are familiar with that expression and explain it to them if needed.
4. After a phone call, make a summary on email
This could probably be applied to work in general but it is crucial when working with outsourced vendors. After you’ve discussed several items over the phone, it’s always a good practice to send a summary of the key takeaways over email. This will remove any room for doubts or parts of the conversation that were not understood by your foreign partner. It’s also a good practice to ask your partner to send that summary, that way they can also practice their written skills.
5. Make your partner part of your team
The most successful partnerships between two companies have been the ones where you can’t tell which person works for whom. Focus on creating an environment where your vendor is not just a vendor but a critical component to your team. If you can create such synergy you will notice an increase in the quality of the results.
Whether you are a US based agency ready to embark on the adventure of outsourcing or you are already working with several foreign vendors these key elements will help you guarantee successful and fruitful global relationships, where distances will feel shorter.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your experiences with outsourcing partners, don’t hesitate to contact us.