In 2010, Peter Bell’s MSP business was booming.
He and his brother and business partner, Darren, wanted to expand. At the time, they had 25 staff ranging from help desk workers to salespeople to senior technicians and so on. Work was coming in, but they struggled to find the workforce because of the mining boom happening in Australia. Their biggest challenge was getting people to work outside of standard hours. On April 27th, 2010, the brothers were looking to hire for a level one help desk position.
“It was the shortest job interview in the 27 years we’ve been in business,” Peter said. “My brother and I brought a young fellow in, about 23 years of age. We went to sit down, and he turns to us and says, ‘I should tell you; I don’t get out of bed for less than six figures.’”
Not only was the position a low-level position that paid around $35,000 (Australian), the only ‘experience’ the young fellow had was a 12-week course at a private training institute.
Desperately looking for a solution, the Bell brothers thought about outsourcing. But there were only a couple of choices available. Ultimately, they felt none of those options would work for them because they’d lose control and connectivity with their clients. “We decided that our clients would notice the difference,” Peter said. “We’d seen it again and again with the people we knew that used outsourcing. You can’t choose the people and you can’t train them, which means you don’t get things done your way.”
The brothers knew there must be a different, better way of outsourcing, so while on a business trip to visit customers in Hong Kong and the Philippines, they explored some options. “We looked at call centers in Hong Kong, but the quality of the English just wasn’t up to standard,” Peter said. In the Philippines, a good friend who was a humanitarian lawyer took them for a tour. “We didn’t have great knowledge about the Philippines,” Peter said. “But our friend, Kath, swore that it was a great place to do business. We found in the first 24 hours, the people were so hospitable. No matter who you spoke to, they wanted to help. The customer service skills there were amazing.”
Within 24 hours, Peter and Darren decided to open an office in Manila. This did two things: 1) It allowed them to be within two hours flying distance of 4.1 billion people in Asia (compared to 24 million people in Australia). 2) It expanded their workforce seamlessly. They could hire people they wanted to work for them, manage them, and control every aspect of the work they did. “We already decided outsourcing didn’t work,” Peter said. “This is how we could do something different.”
Five years later, after solving their staffing problem, Peter was at a seminar when one of his direct competitors tapped him on the shoulder and asked him for help in hiring staff. This led the Bell brothers to launch Techno Global Team, which provides workspace, outsourcing, and offshoring solutions that allow operational flexibility and reduced costs to MSPs and IT Providers around the globe.
Today, the Bell brothers work with 350 staff, and partner with over 100 MSPs in seven countries around the world.
Here are eight ways offshoring can impact your business:
1. Turn the annoying part of your business into a profit center.
“It dawned on us that one of the things we really liked about the Philippines was the level of service,” Peter said. “So, we thought we’ve got to bring back more personal service to our market.”
For example, instead of just sending invoices to clients, they had a staff member from the Philippines call each client before sending the invoice and have a conversation with them about what they could expect. “She turned one of the most annoying parts of our business that no one wanted to do into one of the most profitable because she spoke to each client, one-on-one prior to getting their invoice,” Peter explained. “It reduced our payment terms and times as well.”
2. Get proposals out the door fast.
After visiting a client or prospect, Peter sends a voice memo to a support person in Manila about who he spoke to and what they spoke about. By the time he drives from the client’s premise back to his office, they’ve already received his proposal and all the information from the meeting. “I believe that for every 24 hours we delay getting the information or the quote to the client, a chance of winning the work pass,” Peter said. “It might take them a while to buy, but they want that information quickly. They want to know you’re the person who is getting to them the fastest. You need to demonstrate the best quality service out of your company because you’re trying to win their work. So, if you’re meant to be the best and you take too long to get them information, how long is it going to take the tech guy to support them. So that was something that really made a difference.”
3. Save money.
Today there is an equal split with half their employees in Australia and half in the Philippines. By having employees in the Philippines, their MSP company has saved over $2 million in wages.
4. Make your customers happier.
Not only did it give access to a whole new population in Asia, but it’s also allowed them to offer better service because now they have the workforce to do so.
“Ten years ago, we operated like a bank,” Peter said. “We opened at 9 am and closed at 5:30 pm. If a problem happened outside of our operating hours, there were after-hours charges. We started what we call, ‘Eight to eight at the same rate.’ That was our differentiator compared to some of our competitors. We went from having lots of after-hours calls to only one or two a week and a happier customer base. We found that we got a lot better results with our clients that were seeing things getting taken care of more quickly.”
5. Retain your staff.
Offshoring has improved retention because employees are able to do the tasks they are most passionate about doing.
Peter started by having the support staff in the Philippines do the tasks that needed to get done so service improves. By removing some of the mundane tasks from the highly skilled tech employees list, it allowed them to concentrate on the complex tasks they are most qualified to do and enjoy the most. “The Philippine’s staff checks backups, makes calls, does triage,” Peter said. “All the entry-level stuff we lifted off our team onshore and placed to our team offshore.” And because Filipino’s have a firm grasp of the English language and western culture, they are often better at communication.”
6. Gain time and freedom.
Peter only works four days a week now because he was able to build a good team around him to take care of the low-lying tasks.
7. Expand your services.
The Bells now offer additional products and services. For example, they added Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking and now provide millions of minutes of airtime a month to customers around Australia. “It allowed us to open up a product and service we didn’t have before because we now have access to the manpower to do it,” Peter said.
8. Develop other streams of income.
The time and money the Bells saved allowed them to invest in other money-making ventures. They acquired another MSP, started their own finance company, and lease equipment to their customers.
By adding offshoring to your MSP, you’ll increase profits, reduce employee costs, expand your business and scale more quickly. “Offshoring changed everything in our MSP,” Peter said. “The number of opportunities that it has presented us has been great. We picked up so much work in Asia as a result of being over there. Once your clients find out you’re in that general area, it’s amazing how much work pops up. We actively promote that we have an office there. It shows your business is growing and thinking, and that’s what your customers want. They want a proactive MSP, somebody that’s cutting edge.”
If you want to discover how to hire the right person, what you need to know and do, and what tools to use to get your offshore team started reach visit www.TechnoGlobalTeam.com.