How Global Businesses Can Ensure Quality Support for Customers Across Different Time Zones The article provides a proven method to organise the support team work for global business, so that no one's health is harmed.
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Imagine, if you will, a UK-based entrepreneur who founds a company that grows to operate on the global stage. This entrepreneur gains success through the provision of winning products and services and is rightly lauded for the achievement. However, as the entrepreneur begins to trade internationally, a new problem rears its head: Ensuring customers get proper support across different time zones.
The company continues to operate as it has since its inception, with its team in London attempting to service customer needs across various different continents. As you might expect, it's not long until the enormity of this task comes to bear, with team members experiencing burnout after working long hours through the night and day.
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The importance of providing a consistent customer experience
When running a global business, you will naturally have clientele located in countries in different time zones. As such, everyone needs to get the same consistent experience and levels of support. Contacting customer service is never something someone wants to do — rather, it usually only happens when there's a problem.
No one is going to call you up simply to say, "Thanks very much for meeting my needs," and excellent service is expected to be provided 24/7, not just for five days a week. Even if you have your staff work 12 hours a day, you'll still be unable to cover everyone all over the world. Working 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Europe will not suffice for other regions, such as Asia and America.
As a global player, you need to think about how you will serve your customers from the very start, as not doing so will adversely impact those not in your locality. In order to truly operate on the worldwide stage, the delivery of round-the-clock support is essential, meaning that it should be a central component of your strategy.
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Why you need to rethink your hiring approach
When attempting to meet this need, it's perhaps logical — initially, at least — that you look to hire your entire team from a single location. For example, you will likely look to recruit your team within the bounds of one city, with some working the day and others the night. The exact arrangement will largely be determined by the size of the budget you have for customer support.
Approaching the task this way may seem logical, but it's actually not. Why? Well, because if you're continually asking your staff to work through the night, you're not going to keep hold of them for long. Humans are social beings with families and friends, and a good work-life balance needs to be struck for your employees to be happy.
Even if you have a team member who's a lone wolf, they're not going to be content working all night and sleeping all day. Sooner or later, the need to maintain personal relationships and spend quality time outside is going to cause employees to resent their work and leave for pastures new.
Constant night shift work is simply not sustainable
Next, we have to consider the fact that working during the night is actually bad for the body, leading to the person in question becoming more and more fatigued as time passes. While it might be possible for someone to work night shifts consistently, it can have a significant impact on mood and even mental health. As such, it shouldn't be a long-term thing.
Of course, some people love working until 5:00 a.m., but these tend to be individuals who have a very flexible schedule — not something you could say about someone whose duties involve support work. Being a customer service agent requires you to adhere to a rigid schedule, with every person in your company representing a component of the larger machine.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so if your operation is failing at one particular stage, it can have a knock-on effect, resulting in the whole thing grinding to a halt. So, if you can't ask your staff to continually work night shifts to meet your customers' needs, what do you do? The answer to that conundrum requires that global operators think a different way.
International operators need to think locally
In order to provide high-quality, 24-hour support across different time zones, you simply have to look to recruit support teams in those different regions. This means that no one is ever forced into working at night and having their quality of life reduced. Any company conducting business across every continent needs support staff in each one.
The result is a support team that's scattered across all time zones and one that's able to cover all of your customers' needs 24 hours a day. Everyone is kept happy, too, as by working remotely, they get the freedom to live a normal life, and it's just a matter of finding specialists in each region — which is relatively easy to achieve.
So, if you're looking for support for a time zone in Asia, you should hire people from Thailand, Indonesia or even India. That way, you'll greatly expand your reach and be able to offer awesome, seamless support, no matter where your customers are in the world.