Community Relations and Outsourcing - A Marriage of Convenience


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Community Relations: a dearly held company value or an annoyingly necessary cost center? Why not both? The practice of community relations in almost any organization can be a mix of crucial, high-level engagement with customers and also a daily grind of menial tasks. The marriage of an internal community relations team with outsourced staff can be a happy one, but even a "marriage of convenience" requires effort. This panel will explore the details of what goes into making a harmonious union of internal and outsourced community relations efforts.

Takeaway: Attendees will learn, from both the company and vendor perspectives, the advantages, disadvantages and best practices regarding joining an outsourced team to an existing internal company community relations organization. Topics to be explored include: selecting the right vendor, defining the relationship, contract negotiations and pitfalls, establishing and maintaining productive communications, metrics reporting and conflict resolution.

Rich Weil, VP Client Services of Metaverse Mod Squad's presentation at GDC-Europe in August 2011.

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Community Relations and Outsourcing - A Marriage of Convenience

  1. 1. Community Relations and Outsourcing A Marriage of Convenience<br />
  2. 2. Rich Weil<br />Vice President of Client Relations<br />Metaverse Mod Squad<br />Introduction<br />
  3. 3. This is where we discuss objectivity…<br />
  4. 4. Why give up the “single” life?<br />
  5. 5. Financial – you can save quite a bit of money outsourcing the “grunt work”.<br />Organizational / Work load – a centralized outsource point can work across multiple products.<br />Staffing flexibility – easier to add and subtract staff through a vendor than to ramp up / lay-off internally<br />
  6. 6. The Dating Game<br />
  7. 7. Find the right vendor for your specific needs:<br />Play the field – ask around, shop around, find options. Even companies that aren’t a perfect fit can provide valuable comparison points.<br />Ask the right questions – make sure you are covering all your bases. Go back and ask ones you think of later, if necessary.<br />
  8. 8. Marriage<br />
  9. 9. <ul><li>The contract is your pre-nuptial agreement – Cover all your bases, because if it’s not in there, it could be a problem down the road.
  10. 10. Make sure the in-laws (legal / finance / executives) are involved and happy – consensus is vital to starting a good relationship.
  11. 11. Be flexible about the ceremony (start-up) – set the schedule well ahead of time, but prepare to adjust to last-minute glitches and hitches.
  12. 12. The details – before you get cold feet, make sure you understand your vendor’s internal policies and that the vendor understands yours. Training is vital for outsourced staff to understand your priorities.</li></li></ul><li>Married Life<br />
  13. 13. The Honeymoon – the beginning of the relationship is where you fine-tune reporting and communication processes. Learn how to talk to each other.<br />Honey, I crashed the car – defining how bad news is conveyed and crises are handled can make or break the relationship.<br />Marriage Counseling – define and implement conflict resolution practices. Don’t just throw the china.<br />
  14. 14. Endings<br />
  15. 15. Divorce<br />
  16. 16. “It’s not me, it’s you..” – it’s important to set expectations up front of the consequences of poor performance.<br />No-Fault Divorce – sometimes happens for reasons unrelated to performance. Financial, structural, etc.<br />Calling it quits– clearly communicate why the relationship is ending. <br />Dividing things up – regardless of reason, transition planning and details have to be worked out. Responsibilities and security issues are two important considerations.<br />
  17. 17. Alternate Ending<br />
  18. 18. They Lived Happily Ever After….<br />
  19. 19. Anniversary celebrations – contracts and agreements should be evaluated annually.<br />Domestic bliss – project staff should be reviewed regularly, especially home-based contractors.<br />The kids are all grown up - Low-level moderators today are the Community Managers of tomorrow.<br />
  20. 20. Questions?<br />…if I know the answer, it’ll be a miracle.<br />
  21. 21. The End? Inconceivable!<br />* All images from Princess Bride copyright of MGM.<br />