How to get the best out of an outsourcing image editing/processing partner

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Any offshoring arrangement with a support partner means negotiating the operational dynamics of distances, time zones, teams and cultures. In these settings, strong communication with your remote photo editing service provider is critical to achieve the results you expect when you outsource photo editing tasks. Outsourcing can be an efficient and profitable decision but is one that requires teams to constantly and consciously maintain strong communication with each other. Strong communication involves a continuing assessment, and modification where necessary, of some basic communication principles that drive productivity for both the client and service provider.

Nothing moves much on a one-way communication street

Strong communication between everybody within an organization, across all levels, is critical for any business success. Therefore, it is all the more important to ensure that when image retouching services are outsourced, both parties engage constructively and regularly to navigate the complexities that come with working across countries, teams and cultures.

When you promote effective two-way communications with your photo editing service provider, there are a number of ways both teams benefit. If your offshoring partner is in another country language becomes an immediate factor to be conscious of, since there can be variations in proficiency and comprehension within both teams. Strong two-way communication in simple, clear language can boost understanding thereby boosting turnaround times productivity.

Culture is another important factor influencing the effectiveness of an offshore arrangement where communication can be a powerful tool for adapting to cultural differences between teams. Communicating your requirements regularly and clearly to photo editing service provider and observing their responses will give you insights into the team culture at the other end. In time, both teams will get a good idea of how the other works and communicates.

Integrating business and operational goals, and asking questions

One of the most important stages in your partnership with an offshore team will be before the first editing click on an image. Communicating clearly about what you want is critical to both teams and sharing your business goals is an essential part of this process. You must clearly communicate why you need an external image editing services team and how professionally edited images affect your company’s performance. This fosters a collaborative culture right at the beginning of the partnership, where your offshore partner appreciates that the partnership is about two teams aiming for a mutual goal and taking shared responsibility for the project. Promoting a sense of joint ownership means you are working with an engaged partner rather than dealing with an operator who just edits thousands of images as they come in.

Asking both precise questions and open-ended ones also foster strong communication between teams and consequently boost productivity. Asking about your offshore partner’s operating procedures gives you the opportunity to see how you can take advantage of a offshore team’s SOP given your image processing requirements or vice-versa. Similarly, clarifying simple things such as how different teams interpret terms like ‘image clipping’ and ‘image cropping’ can also help smoother operations. Depending on your requirements, it’s good to have both Yes/No type questions (e.g. Do you do background removal/image clipping?) and open-ended ones (e.g. what retouching options are best to meet a certain UX objective?).

Tools to enhance communication and collaboration

Digital tools and technology can enhance the communication experience and help keep track of progress when working with remote teams. Depending on the specific setups and standard communication methods of your company and that of your offshore partner, there are some general practices that are widely employed.

Email, instant messaging and video conferencing software are some of the most popular communication tools used in businesses worldwide. These are now integrated with calendaring features and more (depending on the software used). Common team calendars let everyone involved in a project know timelines, deadlines and work allocations.

Work management software has come a long way letting teams integrate useful issue tracking and allow varying levels of customization to fit workflows. It’s important to remember that documentation management is also an essential part of getting the best out of digital communication tools. Well-prepared documents can be easily shared and modified centrally through these tools and capture feedback from all parties involved.

When choosing a company providing digital retouching services lookout for teams that communicate strongly and keep you updated regularly on the progress as well as bottlenecks of the assignment. Strong, clear communication goes a long way in reducing turnaround time, improving efficiency and most importantly, helping you serve your customers better.

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