If you have an online business or SaaS product, you probably sell your products or services globally.
That means you need global customer service. And that's where the follow the sun customer support model comes in. This type of customer support can help you provide quality, on-time support to customers 24/7.
In this post, we'll learn what the follow the sun customer support model is, the benefits, best practices, and how you can decide if it's the right model for your business.
What is the follow the sun customer support model?
The follow the sun customer support model is designed to address customer needs without regard to geographic location or current time. Essentially, it's 24/7 support, no matter where the sun is up, without needing any customer service department to work late shifts.
The main goal with implementing a follow the sun support model is that people in one location don't receive preferential support. You'll have increased response times, fewer delays in solving issues, and satisfied customers.
One way to implement a follow the sun approach is to have customer support owned by one site at a time -- wherever the sun is up. And when the shifts switch, you'll have each site hand off work to the next shift.
The main reasons to use this approach are that you'll have faster problem solving, consistent levels of customer service, reasonable work hours, and you'll be able to branch into new markets.
Customers who aren't in your timezone won't have to wait for you to wake up to receive service. Additionally, you won't have to hire any customer service reps to work a night shift -- meaning you'll have happier employees who are working reasonable hours.
With this model, none of your locations are neglected or receive better customer service. Additionally, if you have a site for each area around the sun, in different timezones, you'll be able to acquire more leads in that location because you'll be delighting your customers with consistent service.
However, if you implement a follow the sun customer support model, keep in mind that you'll want to make sure you have the right tools to ensure each site communicates with one another and can take effective notes on cases that need to be handed off. This is a highly collaborative, communicative approach to customer service, and it's a delicate line to balance.
That being said, we have a few tips for you if you decide to implement this model:
- Establish goals: Define your goals around your customer's needs in each location you service.
- Provide tools: Get your system set up with the right tools so your customer service teams can collaborate and communicate easily.
- Stand-up meetings: Hold stand-up meetings right when shifts are switching from one site to another, so your employees can give the new reps an overview of what's happened, and any outstanding issues that need to be addressed.
Now, before you jump into a follow the sun customer support model, let's determine if it's necessary for your company.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How large is my team?
- How complicated are our support issues?
- Where are our customers primarily located?
- Do we get enough tickets from each timezone to support a customer service agent?
- Do we offer self-service?
- Is 24/7 support standard in my industry?
These questions will help you determine if you have enough tickets coming in from each area in the world and if it's a standard practice to offer 24/7 support. Additionally, it will help you determine the processes you currently use and if your customer support is robust enough -- do you offer email, phone, and live chat support? Do you also have self-service options like a knowledge database?
Now, what does this look like in action? Let's review the diagram below.
Follow the Sun Customer Support Model Diagram
The follow the sun customer support model means that you have customer service representatives available whenever the sun is up -- so as it becomes daytime for different parts of the world as we orbit around the sun, you'll have various customer service sites beginning their day and handing off their issues to another site. To visualize, we created the diagram below:
Global customer support might not be necessary for every company, but it's important to begin using a global customer service model if you have international customers who are submitting tickets while you're asleep.