Are you an SMB (small to medium-sized business) thinking of outsourcing overseas to a country like India or the Philippines?
If yes, in this blog post I will share with you 5 red flags you can very quickly identify on an outsourcing company’s website, and tell whether it is a rogue firm or a genuine one. In my last blog post The 3 Different Types of Offshore Outsourcing Companies, I identified and described the 3 different types of outsourcing companies you will typically come across at cost-saving offshore destinations; these three types being ‘rogue’, ‘established’ and ‘reputed’ firms.
As a vast majority of clients don’t visit vendors on-site, before deciding whom they are going to partner with, they are unable to see with their ‘own eyes’ just who they are speaking with.
As a result, it is easy to speak with a rogue vendor, without realizing it. A lot of clients simply accept what is advertised on a vendor’s website at its face value and fail to identify the incompetent vendor that is sneakily lurking behind the website they are looking at.
However, for most small to medium sized outsourcing companies, their websites play a key role in closing clients, (this may not be the case with all outsourcing firms but is certainty true of a significant portion among them). As such the content on the website of a vendor will reveal a lot about the company as it, in many respects, represents their ‘voice’.
Accordingly, we can assess the quality of the content on a site to gain insight into the mind-set of a vendor, their business intellect, company values and priorities, and this, in turn would help you deduce whether the firm in question is a rogue one. Put simply, a rogue firm won’t have the business acumen to produce high quality content, so we can reverse engineer the quality of the content to deduce the quality of the vendor.
Accordingly, below I share 5 website red flags you should look out for. These will enable you to ‘peel the veil’ of an outsourcing vendor’s website’ so that you can determine the calibre of the company that is actually lying behind the website you are looking at.
These red flags do not, of course, in themselves mean a vendor is rogue, but the more of them that you identify, the more sceptical and diligent you should become, particularly if the vendor for some reason has already caused you to feel apprehensive.
Look out for fake testimonials, the ones that aren’t validated. Typically, in such testimonials, there is no last name, no website, and no company name of the ‘client’. Video testimonials will be short in duration and scarce and in depth case studies will be non-existent. That a company thinks there is nothing wrong with publishing testimonials that are not validated speaks volumes about their mind-set and approach to business. And, most definitely not in a good way.
Look for a lack of transparency regarding company information. Does the website’s company page talk about who the directors are, the company hierarchy, when they were established, and so on? If you don’t know what the C level structure of a company is or if you can’t find this information easily, then you should question, “why is this information not available and what does this company have to hide?” Learning more about a company gives you a better feel of whom you are partnering with, and whether they are likely to make a good business partner. But if you don’t know and can’t find out anything about a company’s senior management structure in the first place, then you may want to re-consider before going ahead with the deal.
The website is suspiciously shorn of any pictures and videos of their office, company events, corporate functions, or the staff. If at all there are any pictures, they would be very few in number.
You need to have a very good look at the Contact Us page. Is there a physical contact address or just a Contact Us form? If a physical address isn’t mentioned, it’s probably because they don’t have an office and are working from home or are based in a modest location/office.
Judge the overall look and feel of the website. Does the site have only 15 pages or does it have 150 pages? Is the website just a template? Is the content replete with poor spelling and grammar? Are there too few videos on the website? Are there any valuable resources on the site at all? Check out the company’s social media channels too – how authentic do they feel? Content is very hard to fake; for instance, a video tour of a company’s offices cannot be fabricated easily. As such, high quality content or rather the lack of it, would always give you a clue about whether you are dealing with a bunch of Cowboys or a credible company.
There is a common denominator among all of the above red flags that I have listed; and that is authenticity. The real secret of being able to remotely identify a rogue outsourcing company is the ability to assess how credible the content on the website you are reviewing is – once you learn to focus your mind on this aspect, you would intuitively know whether the content you are reviewing is credible or not. But also keep in mind that a lot of rogue vendors, simply don’t upload certain kinds of content. Accordingly you also want to keep an eye out for outsourcing sites that lack credible content, i.e. any good SMB outsourcing firm should have a tour of their offices, for the most part it is just standard protocol. If a firm doesn’t, they could potentially be hiding something. So simply apply the principle of authenticity, and you would be able identify red flags of your own – and this principle is the most important take away I can share with you.
Now that we have learnt how to identify red flags by looking at a vendor’s website, in my next blog post I take a look at some non-website red flags of a rogue vendor. Click here to read 5 Tips to Help You Determine if an Overseas Outsourcing Company is Legitimate