June 11, 2012 at 9:32 PM
At first glance, legendary rock group The Rolling Stones would seem to have little insight to offer the nearshore outsourcing industry. But consider that at their core, rock groups are essentially businesses (and in the case of the Stones, a very lucrative business) competing in one of the most cutthroat and fickle industries there is. Only a handful of groups can say they have survived 50 years in the rock industry, so obviously the Stones have done something right.
So in the spirit of rock n roll and in celebration of the Rolling Stones’ landmark 50th anniversary (which may or may not be marked with a tour), let’s review three lessons the nearshore outsourcing industry can learn from the original bad boys of rock n roll.
Give Americans What They Already Have, But With a Twist
The Rolling Stones originated as part of the early 1960s “British Invasion” that was launched by The Beatles and later included The Kinks and The Who. And like all the British Invasion bands, the Stones thrilled American audiences with a variation of music they already had at home. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has publicly admitted every riff he ever wrote was stolen from American R&B legend Chuck Berry, and the Stones also liberally used ideas from American blues greats such as Muddy Waters and Elmore James, while tweaking their sound just enough to give it originality.
Similarly, nearshore outsourcing providers can have great success providing US clients with the same services they can obtain from onshore providers, such as call center or software development, but with a twist not offered by domestic outsourcers (or “insourcers” if you prefer). This twist could include native proficiency in a language other than English (and that does not only mean Spanish or Portuguese), special tax breaks or other government incentives, a cooperative program with a local university, or simple superior pricing (always a favorite on any shore).
Maintain Core Proficiency, But Stay Current
The Rolling Stones did not last 50 years by keeping the same sound they had on their first number one hit, the 1965 classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Although there has always been an essential Stones sound that remained consistent, the band over the years has kept pace with current musical trends such as psychedelia, country-rock, funk, punk, disco, and hard rock.
Nearshore outsourcing providers also need to maintain their core proficiencies which first won them clients, but still keep up to date with the latest IT and business trends.
For example, a call center provider known for high-quality multilingual customer service should maintain its focus on training agents to be responsive to customer needs even as it adapts to developing trends such as providing customer service via live chat, text, and social media platforms.
While many rock bands from the 1960s are content to continue making money and touring off the same songs they have been performing for the past 40 years, the Stones continue to release new material and in recent years have also mined their vaults to release some surprisingly good music which was recorded in years past but until now kept out of circulation.
As nearshore outsourcing grows more lucrative, providers need to continue trying to innovate and produce new and better services. It is easy to grow complacent with success, which is why success is so hard to maintain. Just ask the Rolling Stones. Or better yet, just look at them. The deep lines on their faces tell you all you need to know about the trials and tribulations that have gone with being one of the world’s most popular musical groups for the past half-century.