Maximize Outsourcing: Mastering the Champion-Challenger Model

by Michael Replogle, on May 15, 2024 8:30:00 AM

In today's business landscape, contact center outsourcing has become a prevalent strategy for companies looking to streamline operations, reduce costs and access specialized expertise. However, the traditional approach of outsourcing your contact center operations to a single provider may not always yield the best results. Enter the champion-challenger model: a strategic framework that allows companies to optimize their outsourcing initiatives by leveraging the strengths of two providers and alternative onshore, nearshore and offshore geographies.

Exploring the champion-challenger model

At its core, the champion-challenger model involves engaging with two outsourcing providers: a primary "champion" and a secondary "challenger." The champion serves as the primary provider, handling most of the outsourcing responsibilities, while the challenger operates in a supporting role, ready to step in when needed. This model fosters healthy provider competition, driving innovation and enhancing service quality.

The case for two providers

Many companies opt for a single outsourcing provider, assuming it simplifies management and reduces overhead. However, this approach comes with inherent risks and limitations. By leveraging two providers, companies can unlock several key benefits:

  • Diversification: Relying on a single provider exposes companies to the risk of disruptions or failures. By diversifying their outsourcing portfolio, companies can mitigate risks and ensure continuity of operations by geography and vendor.
  • Innovation and Quality: I often say success breeds complacency; however, competition usually breeds innovation. Engaging with two providers encourages them to continuously improve their services, driving innovation and enhancing overall quality.
  • Flexibility: The needs of businesses evolve and so should outsourcing strategies. Having two providers offers the flexibility to adapt to changing requirements and switch between providers as necessary.
  • Cost Efficiency: Competition between providers can lead to better pricing and terms for companies, ultimately driving down costs and maximizing value.

Real-world examples

Several companies have successfully implemented the champion-challenger model with impressive results. A leading e-commerce retailer diversified its outsourcing partnerships, which enhanced customer satisfaction and improved operational efficiency. Similarly, a software development company leveraged two providers to accelerate product development and improve time-to-market.

Best practices for implementing the champion-challenger model

Implementing the champion-challenger model requires careful planning and execution. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Determine the optimal onshore, nearshore or offshore geography.
  • Define clear selection criteria for providers.
  • Establish roles and responsibilities for each provider.
  • Develop metrics or leverage a balanced scorecard for performance evaluation.
  • Develop and ensure open communication channels between providers and internal teams.
  • Establish regular meetings to review and reassess provider key performance indicators (KPIs) and alignment with business objectives.

Challenges and considerations

While the champion-challenger model offers numerous benefits, it has its challenges. Companies must navigate potential hurdles such as coordination and integration issues, overhead costs and cultural differences between providers. However, with proper planning and consistent management, these challenges can be effectively addressed.


In today’s competitive business environment, companies must continuously seek ways to optimize their operations and drive innovation. The champion-challenger model represents a strategic approach to contact center outsourcing that enables companies to maximize value, mitigate risks and tap into alternative onshore, nearshore and offshore locations. By leveraging two or more providers, companies can foster healthy competition, drive innovation and achieve sustainable growth in the long run.

Topics:Business Process Outsourcing



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