Michael F. Corbett & Associates. Ltd.
As printed in the Firmbuilder.com
In 1999 the importance of customer satisfaction firmly entered the
dialogue of the outsourcing industry. The outsourcing provider's
brand name is becoming increasingly important as the marketplace
matures, and quality is a central part of that brand image.
Providers reported that the ultimate purpose of any
customer satisfaction program is customer retention and internal
process improvement. It's difficult and expensive to make new customer
relationships. It's far more effective to build and expand upon
In a research program conducted by Michael F. Corbett
& Associates, called The Global Outsourcing Quality Report,
88% of firms reported overall satisfaction with their outsourcing
providers and 80% of firms reported that they would renew their
existing contracts without going out to competitive bid. The participants
in the program were customers of three outsourcing service providers:
Trammell Crow Company, The Haas Corporation, and Johnson Controls.
Key Determinants of Outsourcing Customer Satisfaction
• Relationship Management
• Technical Competence
• Personal Service
Consistent strengths in the relationships studied were
relationship management, responsiveness, and technical competence.
The scores were lower, which is not unique to these companies but
reflective of an emerging trend in the industry as a whole, in the
areas of communications and innovation. It is the consistency of
the information provided to the customer, by all of the individuals
responsible for the relationship and at all levels, that is central
to improved communications. Innovation, which is increasingly driving
decisions to outsource, can be lost when the provider becomes too
operationally focused over the life of the relationship. Innovation
is often at the core of the relationship when it was created and
it then must be infused on an ongoing basis.
Customer satisfaction information can be a useful
tool for making internal changes. "It was a valuable tool for
us. It helped us organize our thinking. When you look at this and
you say, gee, we scored real well here. Let's pat ourselves on the
back. But, wait a minute, we didn't do quite as well in that category.
How come? What are we looking for? What might the problems be? So
in our strategic planning this helped push a lot of our thinking
about how we're going to approach new bidding and how is past performance
impacting our business," said Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls.
In talking to his company's results, Thad Fortin,
president of the Haas Corporation noted the importance of staying
close to two critical but essentially different parts of his customers'
organization: the client executives - those responsible for the
contracting decisions - and the end customers - the ultimate recipient
of his firm's services. "The difference between a client and
a customer is clear in our situation. A company like General Motors
has a corporate staff that we're involved with. They're our client.
Our customer is the actual facility or plant that we're working
in. What our client wants us to do and what our customer wants to
do in a lot of cases are two different things," said Fortin.
For more information on HAAS Corporation's benchmarking
to improve client communications, click
© 2002 Michael F. Corbett & Associates, Ltd.
All Rights Reserved.
Michael F. Corbett & Associates, Ltd. is a research
and training company globally recognized as the leading authority
on the topic of outsourcing. Its founder, Michael F. Corbett, has
personally trained thousands of executives on how to use outsourcing
as a powerful management tool. For more information on the company's
services, please call 845.452.0600 or visit www.corbettassociates.com.
For more information on the topic of outsourcing, visit