Follow-the-Sun Model: Enhancing the Remote Support for Businesses

As the saying goes, "customer experience is the next competitive battleground." The rise of the digital era made it possible for businesses to advertise easily and reach more customers in just one click. But what sets a good business apart from its competitors? Customer service. Being on the level in price and quality only gets you into the game, but excellent customer service will make you win.

Finding the best way to support your customers can be down to many approaches. One of which is the Follow-The-Sun model. It is a workflow strategy in which your team is made available anytime work is required. That is, at all hours of the day and on all days of the year. It may sound a lot, especially for small businesses, but it is actually a simple system helping businesses all over the world get the job done.

IBM, a global firm, pioneered this model. It works by placing offices — or, in the case of smaller organizations, remote workers – in different timezones in strategic parts of the world. As the sun sets in one timezone, the day's workload is handed over onto the next, and so on. A shift follows another shift making the sun never sets on customer service programs.

So, how does the follow-the-sun model enhance remote support for businesses?

1. Consistent and reliable customer service.

Suppose you have a product or service that requires round-the-clock support for different time zones someone must be available to assist customers at all times, not just during peak business hours. Handing off work from one location to another balances the workload and allows you to provide consistent service at all times.

2. Faster responses and problem resolutions.

One of the advantages of following the follow-the-sun model is resolving issues quickly and efficiently. You are constantly on top of customer concerns because your team is available 24/7, and customer concerns remain a priority until resolved regardless of when and where the ticket is raised. In addition, passing the job to a new group also allows people to see the problem from a different perspective so that each site doesn't have to repeat work and can keep track of what has been done.

3. Reasonable work hours.

While it is possible to operate with a shift-based system in a single location, it can be incredibly difficult to hire and manage several teams on a shift rotation due to the high cost of doing so. You must hire individuals to work night shifts, which might be discouraging. People who continuously move work hours take a toll on their health, and you have to pay extra in the form of specific allowances and incentives to compensate for this, as well as the necessity to provide safety during nighttime travels, and so on.

Remember that you cannot give good customer service if your employees don't feel good about coming to work. The follow the sun strategy offers a better alternative in the form of lesser cost, a nicer work environment, and a motivated, fresh team that can better serve your customers. Employees can work during normal business hours and provide service to customers in their time zones. This can help in boosting employee productivity, a better work-life balance, and overall better customer service.

4. Effective knowledge sharing through handoffs

As long as you have standardized processes and tools, there should be no information loss between teams in different locations. Handing over all pending tasks to another site before the shift in the first location ends is the objective here. So, if a ticket is halfway resolved, but the employee handling it is nearing the end of their shift, they must ensure that the information is transferred to an available employee in the following location. This also promotes sharing of best practices.

5. More global presence.

Finally, and perhaps the most critical, your company will be able to compete on a global scale. You can have a global presence without opening many physical locations around the world. Some businesses do not require a physical presence to conduct business. However, taking this method allows your organization to have a virtual presence in several regions while still providing service to all clients.

The bottom line is, it is important to remember that your competitors are only just one click away. If implemented and performed correctly, the Follow the Sun concept can help businesses reach more customers and a larger audience by providing dependable and timely customer service.

About The Author:
Chatty is a freelance writer from Manila. She finds joy in inspiring and educating others through writing. That's why aside from her job as a language evaluator for local and international students, she spends her leisure time writing about various topics such as lifestyle, technology, and business.


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