Seeking a True Strategic Partner: Green Flags in the Outsourced Customer Care RFP Process

by Amy Bennet in Amy Bennet, Contact Center Outsourcing, Contact Center RFP

It’s human nature to focus on the red flags that pop up when you’re deep into the customer support RFP process. But knowing what a green flag looks like is just as critical. Here are a few green flag markers that help indicate that you’ve found the best-fit outsourced customer care partner.


If you’ve taken part in an outsourced customer care procurement process, either as a bidder or as a buyer, we’d lay money on the fact that you’ve got some horror stories to tell. We often joke that finding the right strategic partner is a lot like trying to find a romantic partner – it’s the obvious red flags that make the best/worst/most entertaining stories.

As entertaining as those stories are, green flags are just as important to be aware of. That’s where the magic happens. If you’re going to go to RFP for a new outsourced customer care partner, don’t forget to look beyond those red flags to see where the chemistry is happening. Below are some of the markers that distinguish a true strategic partner from the rest.

Understanding Your Success Measures

One of the most telling green flags in the RFP process is a potential partner’s genuine focus on understanding your success measures. A partner who takes the time to delve into the intricacies of your unique business goals, KPIs, and customer expectations is one that is committed to delivering not just a service, but a tailored solution that aligns seamlessly with your overarching objectives.

Imagine a partner who not only promises to meet your metrics but goes the extra mile to comprehend the nuances of your customer base, adapting strategies to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. Look for a customer care partner who views your success as their own and is poised to grow and evolve alongside your company.

Green Flag Alert: Your potential partner focuses on understanding how their KPIs are tied to your business goals and outcomes. They are curious about how they could positively impact your business beyond simply achieving service goals. They want to workshop risk-reward models with you.

Shared Core Values and ESG Commitment

In the current global landscape, aligning with partners who share your core values is non-negotiable. (If they haven’t already, your procurement team is soon going to tell you who you can and can’t do business with based on the vendors’ ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) scores and/or certifications. Read more about ESG and the RFP here.)

Beyond the bottom line, a true strategic partner should demonstrate a clear, actionable commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance principles. Look for a partner who understands the significance of sustainability and social responsibility, weaving these values into the fabric of their operations.

Green flag alert: An outsourced customer care partner who not only talks the talk but walks the walk, actively engaging in sound, measurable environmental practices, structuring their business policies and processes around equity and inclusion, and demonstrating a genuine commitment to ethical business conduct. By choosing a partner with shared values, you not only strengthen your brand but contribute to a positive impact on a broader scale.

Responsive and Engaged Senior Executives

In the late-stage sales cycle, with millions of dollars and a multi-year contract on the line, your potential partner should show up with their heavy hitters at the table. Throughout the RFP process, observe how responsive and engaged the potential partner’s senior executives are.

When senior executives are actively involved in the process, it speaks volumes about the importance they place on winning your business. Look for a partner whose leaders take the time to understand your unique challenges, showcase thought leadership, and commit to long-term engagement in your business should they be selected as your partner.

Green Flag Alert: As the old saying goes, 90% of success in life comes from just showing up. If your potential partner is bringing operational and strategic leaders (not just the folks involved in sales) to the pitch/presentation, that’s a green flag. If they can demonstrate that you’ll have access to senior leadership throughout the life of the contract, well, that’s a bright green flag in our books.

Invested in Winning Your Business

While expertise is paramount, an invested partner goes beyond mere competence. You can typically get a read on a bidder’s enthusiasm from your interactions throughout the process. Are they making it easy to work with them throughout the process? Are they articulating a genuine interest in collaborating on future initiatives even before they have won you business? Are they delivering thoughtful responses to each of your asks throughout instead of feeding you canned responses? These are keys that they might be right for you in the long run.

Green Flag Alert: A partner who demonstrates a genuine eagerness to win your business with a creative approach to solving your pain points and driving continual improvement, backed by a robust track record of success. This is an indicator of a company that sees your collaboration as a long-term relationship, not just a transaction. The references they provide should back this up.


As you navigate the customer care outsourcing landscape, keep your eyes peeled for these green flags – the hallmarks of a true strategic partner. Seek a partner who understands your success measures, shares your core values with an actionable commitment to ESG, remains responsive and engaged throughout the process, and, above all, is invested in winning your business for the long haul.



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