Customers must be satisfied regardless of time or location, according to the modern follow the sun model.
For organisations that rely on remote and worldwide support for customer service, the sun never sets. Continue reading to find out what a “follow the sun” concept is and how to put it into practice at your organisation.
What is “follow the sun” model?
The traditional “follow the sun” model is a sort of global workflow in which issues are handled by and passed between offices in different time zones, resulting in increased responsiveness and fewer delays. It was created so that businesses could provide 24-hour customer service by actually following the sun around the world. Business is conducted wherever the sun shines, whether it is in San Francisco, Paris, Hong Kong, or Sydney. Customers’ requests and communications are coming in faster and more frequently than ever before, and these firms must match the demand.
Initially, this customer service strategy appeared to be only practicable for large corporations with the financial resources to open and staff several locations throughout the world. The truth is that follow-the-sun assistance is simply a way of satisfying consumers regardless of time or location, and it is something that even small to mid-size organisations can use. It can also be accomplished in a number of different ways.
Is a follow the sun model good for you?
Begin by posing crucial questions. Consider what steps you can take now to reach your longer-term support goals if you’re a small business aiming to give worldwide help. This can be accomplished by determining when your consumers are most in need of your services and carefully contemplating how to meet them there. You probably won’t need to open several offices at first initially, but a modest remote office or a representative in a critical area or time zone may be enough to meet your clients’ needs.
For example, a company has staff in both San Francisco and Budapest. They achieve their global support goals by collaborating and providing coverage for a total of 18 hours every day. They’d have to aggressively staff up to do this from a single office.
Another thing to think about is how you use technology. Are you utilising a tool that makes scaling and handing off support requests a breeze?
Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide what’s best for you, your staff, and your customers:
1. What is the size of your team?
When you’re small, you’re constantly hoping to satisfy customer demands. You locate someone to help you if you discover you have a new customer base. However, as your company grows, you’ll start to standardise procedures, create efficient processes, and form teams. You might not be ready to provide worldwide support if your team is still in the lean, leaping phase. You can, however, begin making preparations.
2. How difficult are your customer service issues?
Are the bulk of the difficulties transactional in nature, such as password changes and return processing, or are they more complicated technical in nature, needing more resources? Depending on the response, you may only require a globally accessible FAQ page or Help Center rather than a team of people who are available at all times.
3. Where do the majority of your customers come from?
If the majority of your clients are located in only one or two regions, there’s no incentive to invest in worldwide assistance. Concentrate your efforts on those areas initially.
4. What is the busiest time of day for you to get tickets?
You’ll be able to make data-driven decisions about when to grow globally if you’re using a customer service platform with strong analytics. Ticket volume statistics by the time of day will become your new best buddy. Suppose you know you’re getting a lot of requests outside of your usual support hours, regardless of where the majority of your customers are located. In that case, it’s time to consider a rotational support approach.
5. Do you use mobile apps?
After evaluating your demographics and volume, could you make up part of the support volume by employing a mobile app? Without needing to engage a remote representative, a customer support platform with mobile access may allow you to stagger your shifts between home and work and cover multiple time zones.
6. Are you the one in charge of self-service?
When it comes to worldwide support, self-service is typically the ideal place to start, but some firms miss it because they don’t have enough resources to create a nice-looking repository of help articles. In actuality, establishing a Help Center does not have to be a huge undertaking, and by providing community forums, you can allow your customers to assist one another. It’s a fantastic approach to improving your customer service.
7. What is your line of work?
How do businesses similar to yours approach customer service? What about the businesses that your company aims to be like? Do you know where you stand in terms of customer service in terms of industry benchmarking? For example, 24/7/365 service may be standard in the gambling and retail businesses. However, not every industry necessitates this. The model you select, create, and modify should be the most effective for both you and your clients.
How to put a follow the sun model into action
Some businesses choose the more traditional approach of “follow the sun,” which entails offering help at any time, from wherever, at any hour of the day or night, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. For example, one of our customers provides help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They accomplish this by forming a squad in Colorado at 8 a.m. (MST). Teams in California begin in waves at 7 a.m., 8 a.m., and 9 a.m. (PST). In addition, team members in Beijing begin at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. CST (China Standard Time). They can achieve the service level agreements they’ve set for their customers by spreading their support personnel’s start timings throughout these critical time zones. They also use a daily handoff approach, in which open and pending issues are passed on to the next team as one leaves the office. Private comments in RisePath CRM are used by them to send vital details to team members who are working on issues that are already in progress.
Other companies, on the other hand, may decide that they can meet their worldwide support demands using different strategies. In any situation, one thing is certain: your support crew must select when to be available in order to deliver the best possible assistance. Yes, this may imply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But that’s OK; there are alternative solutions that allow you to provide service anytime, everywhere, and go global quickly, regardless of your company’s size.
For example, another RisePath customer has its teams in two locations: San Francisco and Budapest. They achieve their global support targets by combining these two teams, providing them 18 hours of coverage per day without having to staff up aggressively. There’s an approach, which offers an equity management platform that trades in real time 21 hours a day. The hours of worldwide stock exchanges define this schedule.
They looked at the business units they needed to assist as well as each area when establishing a support structure based on this schedule. They also divide their customer service into two categories: participants (workers at businesses) and client administrators (HR teams administering equity and compensation). Which leads to another question that your team should think about while weighing options: How would you classify your customer base, and does your customer care team’s approach need to be different for each one?
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