Business process outsourcing (BPO) is an option many businesses use for various reasons. Through outsourcing, businesses can accomplish niche goals, gain access to specialized expertise, and promote productivity and efficiency. Outsourcing is an excellent option for many companies, but are there specific industries that it’s better suited for than others?
When discussing the benefits of BPO for certain businesses, pharmacies are one of the most prevalent options that comes to mind. Through outsourcing, pharmacies can improve customer service and ensure they align with current regulations and practical standards.
Pharmacy benefits management (PBM) is one of the most common areas outsourced within the pharmacy space. Quality PBM practices are essential because businesses can fail to deliver a quality experience without them, fall behind on orders, and miss critical compliance details. If your pharmacy lacks PBM support, outsourcing could be the right option for you.
When outsourcing PBM, fostering a collaborative relationship with the BPO partner is essential. There are so many benefits that can come from encouraging a collaborative relationship, including:
- Cohesive Planning: When everyone is on the same page, you and your BPO partner can provide suggestions and modifications to your processes. This is an opportunity for you to both save money and increase efficiency.
- Reaching Goals: A collaborative relationship will lend itself well to ensuring you reach your goals. Whether you want a specific ROI or improve customer service, ensuring everyone knows the common goals and working towards them together is essential.
- Reducing Miscommunication: Miscommunication can quickly happen when outsourcing if you don’t have the proper methods set in place. By fostering a collaborative relationship, you can reduce potential miscommunications and ensure everyone is clear about their duties and responsibilities.
These are just a few benefits, but many more can be expected when you foster a collaborative, communicative relationship with your BPO partner. Let’s go over some ways you can work towards this kind of relationship and some things to remember when starting out with a new BPO partner.
Fostering a Collaborative
Relationship Fostering a collaborative relationship is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success and ensure your pharmacy gets the attention and support it needs. Below are a few things to consider if you’re looking to build a collaborative relationship and encourage success with your BPO partner.
Communication, Communication, Communication
If you focus on one thing when it comes to building a relationship with your BPO partner, it needs to be communication. Communication is one of the best ways to ensure everyone is on the same page and understands their roles.
When discussing communication, you must be sure you’re using the right software. With the right software, you can create communication channels that serve comprehensively, creating bridges between various teams.
When it comes to communication during outsourcing, it’s essential to also think about your inhouse team. Ensuring you have the proper communication standards and practices for your inhouse and outsourced teams is critical so that the proper channels are open and everyone is supported efficiently.
Setting clear communication expectations from the beginning is essential. If you’re currently speaking with potential BPO partners, then be sure to talk to them about their communication practices and what they’d expect from you. In most cases, it’s better to be overly cautious regarding communication.
- Point of Contact: A clear point of contact is essential for effectively communicating with your BPO partner.
If you choose multiple points of contact, important messages may get lost in communication or not be received by the right individual. At Everise, we strongly recommend choosing one point of contact for your BPO partner. This will help ensure that communication is streamlined and that your partner knows who to contact with questions or concerns
- Regular Meetings: When it comes to ensuring productive communication with your BPO partner, it’s essential to have regular meetings. During these meetings, you can discuss progress and any concerns or questions that have arisen.
Regular meetings are often essential during the beginning stages of a working relationship with BPO partners. Meetings may become less frequent as a routine is developed, but it’s vital to keep communication channels open and ensure opportunities for collaboration whenever necessary.
Set Clear Expectations
Expectations will likely be key throughout your pharmacy’s BPO endeavors. Most people begin thinking about their expectations before they hire a partner so they can ensure potential partners can meet their expectations.
If you’re unsure how to set clear expectations, consider asking yourself the following questions…
- What do you imagine communication would look like ideally?
Is there a specific ROI that you’re looking for?
- How do you want your in-house team to interact with your outsourced team?
- Is there a specific background that you want your outsourced team to have?
While having clear expectations for your outsourced partner is essential, you should also consider asking them what expectations they have of you. An efficient BPO partner will have a list of expectations to ensure that they can do their job effectively. If a potential partner has no expectations for the companies they work with, that may not be the right pick for you.
There’s an important reality that you need to prepare yourself for if you’re going to be outsourcing: there will most likely be some effort required on your part during the beginning (or throughout the process).
One of the most important things you can do to set your new outsourcing partner up for success is to share information effectively. From sharing your company processes to providing them with information regarding privacy and security, it’s essential to be sure that you’re being open with your new outsourcing partner.
Before you work with a potential partner, consider asking them what information they need to do their job effectively. Ensure you’ll be able to provide this information before committing to working with a potential partner.
When you’re sharing sensitive information with your outsourcing partner, it’s essential to be sure that you’re working in a compliant and safe way. Cybersecurity is a topic not often discussed within pharmacies, but it’s imperative. If you’re sharing patient information, be sure that you’re doing so in a way that aligns with best practices.
Pro Tip: If you’re not sure how to share information safely or how to ensure that your pharmacy complies with legal standards, consider outsourcing this area. Outsourcing compliance is a joint decision that many pharmacies make to protect their business and patient health information.
Be Open to Feedback
One of the biggest mistakes many pharmacies make is not being open to feedback from their BPO partner. When you open yourself and your business up to feedback, there’s the potential to improve your practices and take advantage of the specialized expertise that your outsourced staff has.
Fostering a collaborative relationship means that communication needs to go both ways. While you’ll most likely have feedback and critiques for your outsourcing partner, you should also be prepared to receive feedback from them.
Listening to feedback is essential, but you need to implement it. Consider creating a practice or standard for how you can implement changes and make sure that they’re carried out effectively.
- Providing Feedback: Just as your BPO partner needs to provide you with feedback, you should do the same for them. Providing them with information about your goals, what you’re happy with, and what you’d like to change will allow your partner to make necessary adjustments.
The only way for your partner to improve is by providing timely, productive feedback, so consider what this could look like for your business.
We just reviewed the importance of paying attention to feedback, which can promote continuous improvement. Constantly finding ways to grow and further develop your practices and standards is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re fully taking advantage of the benefits of outsourcing.
Regular communication with your BPO partner is one of the best ways to ensure you’re striving for continuous improvement. If you feel like some of your practices are outdated or not serving your business/clients well, consider speaking with your partner about potential areas of improvement.
- Celebrate Success: When improvement occurs or a particular goal is met, it’s important to celebrate that success. Doing so can improve team morale and ensure people’s efforts are not unnoticed. Even something as simple as a congratulatory message can go a long way, so don’t be afraid to show your gratitude and let people know when they’re doing a great job.
Fostering a Beneficial Relationship
Building a beneficial, collaborative relationship may seem overwhelming at first, but you can do many things to bring you closer to this goal. If you’d like to learn more about ways to build a relationship with a potential BPO partner, feel free to contact our team. We’d love to provide you with more information and help you decide if our services could be the right fit for your pharmacy. It’s never too late to consider outsourcing and take advantage of its many benefits! Start today by looking through our website or booking a call with a staff member.