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8 Benefits of Engaging an Independent Consultant

It is a common practice for many companies to engage consulting talent when they want to approach a special situation from a new and different perspective, or they require specialized skillsets to complete a specific important task. There are many key benefits gained when working with an outside consultant to help design, create, implement, or manage strategic Support Services programs.

An independent consultant can provide exceptional value when an existing team either lacks the necessary skills or are stretched to thin to successfully perform the task. There are also situations when a company may be facing a significant crisis that is too difficult to solve using its current resources and engaging outside assistance will allow them to reach desired outcomes with a greater sense of urgency.

Utilizing a consultant that has extensive past experience, and most likely has seen similar situations, can lead to advantageous positive outcomes. When working with such individuals you typically get the benefit of their knowledge that has been applied at other companies in your industry. Utilizing this knowledge on your specific situation yields both timely and comprehensive results.

As you engage a consultant, their primary role is to assist an organization by being an educator, a catalyst for deeper change, a trusted resource, and a facilitator. You also can expect to get honest unfiltered feedback that is often necessary to be able to quickly drive the changes you desire. One thing is certain; involving the right consultant on an important task can help expedite the development and delivery of the project.

Some important benefits include:

Rapidly Resolve Important Issues - Delivering superior support to customers is most likely your company's top goal. There may be times when you realize you are falling short of customer expectations and need to implement changes to current programs or processes. The issue may be operational, infrastructure, or customer service related; regardless, it is imperative to resolve such situations as quickly as possible before they become worse. A consultant can help you achieve the best path forward to remedy the problem and uncover the actual root cause.

Fresh Perspective and Point of View - An important benefit is the ability of an outside consultant to bring a "fresh set of eyes" and "clear open mind" to bear on a particular situation. A consultant can add independent insight and perspective, as they are not as emotionally connected to the outstanding issue. Employees who are asked to drive change in an organization sometimes encounter difficulties achieving the goals, as they are often the same folks that might have created or been associated with the situation they are asked to address. A fresh perspective from a skilled outsider can be the change agent required to make giant leaps forward in delivering results.

Driving Functional and Operational Improvement - Companies that want to proactively enhance their level of service in regards to capability and deliverability, will hire consultants at a time when everything appears to be running smoothly. Rather than waiting for a crisis situation to occur, it is advantageous to work with a consultant when everything is functioning properly. A consultant can perform a formal top-down review of the entire services portfolio, structure, and processes, highlighting areas that will bring about improvements and advances.

Implementing Best Practices - Utilizing a consultant whose clients are in the same business sector and who has often faced similar issues as you are facing brings valuable applied knowledge. They are able to recognize common attributes, roadblocks, patterns, recommend effective solutions, and apply lessons learned in applicable situations. This specialized and targeted knowledge allows for a comprehensive solution to be defined and implemented for your situation.

Tapping Into Specific Skills - Sometimes the required skillsets and knowledge base to perform a particular task just do not exist within your team. You may have highly capable technical support engineers, great pre-sales resources that can close big deals, and even awesome Tier I customer service reps, but your team may be lacking the marketing skills or attention to detail to create program definition, workflow processes, and innovative methodology. A consultant can bring those skills and more to your team.

Faster Time To Market - Often in this fast paced competitive world we operate in, your need for a solution to an issue is immediate (or even yesterday). It may be you require a new service created to support your product offering, special support documentation, or a new specialize method to solve a particular situation. A consultant can be engaged, get up to speed quickly, and begin working on the deliverable you desire while your core team is focused on their current workload. Using an outside resource will allow you to remain focused on delivering exceptional customer service to your client base.

Current Staff Augmentation - You might be in a situation where you just don't have enough resources on the team to get the job done right, not that you don't know how. Not that you don’t know how, but rather you are challenged with a simple manpower issue. Having a lack of proper resources, either quatity or quality, can be addressed by engaging consultants. While maybe considered an expensive alternative in this capacity, consultants can quickly "plug a hole" by filling the role of full-time employees on a temporary basis, allowing the support operation to run smoothly and meet its Service Level Agreements.

No Long-term Commitments - Consultants can be brought in for specific durations to address your immediate needs and then go away. When a project ends or you attain your desired outcomes, you can return to a normal mode of operation without the consultants on staff. You can engage a consultant on a project basis, a term basis or other defined parameter that best meets your needs. There are also typically minimal administrative barriers to engage a consultant.

So, if you could use knowledge and expertise to help plan, manage, create, or implement strategic Support Services, it may be advantageous for you to consider engaging an external consultant.