Growing companies are always looking for workflow models to improve customer support and enhance productivity. It used to be that the sun never set in the British Empire. Today, it’s quite possible to never have the sun set on your company floor—figuratively speaking. Not because companies are empirical entities that dominate territories across the world but because the ability for companies to establish a consistent and ongoing workflow is actually possible thanks to remote work, virtual meetings, international teams, and innovative work strategies. The world of IT support and software development can make use of the different time zones to its advantage by using this successful system. When implemented correctly, the follow-the-sun system produces world-class customer service, expands companies to international markets, and improves overall company performance.
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How Does the Follow-the-Sun Model Work?
The concept of follow-the-sun is not entirely new but has gained traction in the past few years thanks to the improving technology that makes it possible and far more efficient. This highly-regarded system of customer support is based on the idea that by having locations around the globe, your company can pass along the work at the end of their workday to someone in another time zone. So at the end of the day, one group of workers hands off the work to the second shift in another part of the world. In this way, the work follows the sun.
For Companies Ready to Augment Their Operations & Provide Continuous Support and Productivity
If you are leading a company that is on the verge of moving into international markets and ready to scale operations, you have to think strategically. A wrong move can cause quite a disruption to operations and set your company back. If your growth rate warrants an expansion of your team and reaching for new territories, using the follow-the-sun model can be beneficial for you. As a recruitment agency, CodersLink has helped U.S companies scale their operations by taking advantage of the talent pools in Mexico. Some of these companies have chosen to expand their operations by taking advantage of qualified international tech employees and setting up a constant workflow across the globe. This can save companies money and improve operations.
Companies like Prezi, for example, focus their operation in two locations. One in San Francisco and one in Budapest. With these two teams, they are able to meet their support goals by providing 18 hours of coverage. CodersLink has worked with companies like Netprotect, helping them build their location in Mexico to add to their European and Asian locations and create a seamless operation.
Benefits of Using the Follow-the-Sun Workflow Model
Offer World-Class Customer Service Without Interruption
Most heads of companies understand that customer service is essential, and in today’s world, people expect solutions and responses quickly. Having a long workday in which more customer needs are met simply means you address customer concerns more quickly and efficiently. According to a 2018 study by Harvard Business Review, good customer service matters on all platforms and a wide-scale study showed that people that have good interactions with a company are likely to return or become loyal to it.
The follow-the-sun model:
- Provides great global support for your clients and customers
- Allows for faster troubleshooting and problem solving
- Increases responsiveness and communication with customers and clients
- Is available to smaller companies, not just large enterprises
- Does not require grueling overnight shifts of your staff
- Helps to open up leads and opportunities in new markets
Get Better Performance for 21st Century Demands
Today’s high-demand high-speed world requires fast solutions to challenges and roadblocks in all aspects of a company’s operation. Whether you are talking about software development, customer service, or troubleshooting a problem, there is nothing like having your company running 24-7 to ensure the utmost productivity and overall performance.
Having your company clock running twenty-four hours a day might mean a couple of things for performance and integration:
- Faster turn-around times and meeting deadlines.
- Faster solutions to problems.
- Innovative solutions to problems.
- Opening up new geographies and markets for your company.
- Operating an international team with diverse viewpoints and experience.
Take Advantage of International Markets and Expand Your Operations
Another benefit of the follow-the-sun model means that you can take advantage of the opportunities to expand your operations and tap into international markets. One of the things that we do here at CodersLink, is to provide companies with the specialized tech talent they’re looking for. Sometimes that means opening up operations in the growing tech hub in cities like Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City. Companies have found that opening up shop south of the border means that they can hire highly-skilled and creative teams for a better rate. These teams provide customer support and software development as your company expands to new markets.
Increase Your Team Diversity and Strengthen Creativity
Many tech executives or team managers will tell you that a diverse team has many benefits for productivity and innovation. As noted by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2019, diverse companies are simply more creative because they are bringing together people from all walks of life. Having a team composed of people with different professional and educational backgrounds will:
- Bring broader ideas and new perspectives to the table.
- Help you retain top talent.
- Enhance productivity.
We know the value of a good team. It’s why we’ve partnered with over 70 different companies to increase their hiring reach. With our pool of more than 12,000 vetted and professional candidates, recruitment processes are not a completely exhausting undertaking and facilitate the opening up of operation centers and teams in another country.
How to Implement an Effective Follow the Sun Model
If your company is ready to move on to the next phase of growth, this model provides the opportunity to enhance company workflow. When done correctly, you can take advantage of different time zones to provide continuous customer support, increase productivity, and shorten time to market.
Different phases to implement this model include:
- The planning stage: This model requires a solid planning phase that lays out the strategy for how the work will flow from one time zone to the next. This means good communication and risk management. Begin by ensuring everybody in the team understands their role and responsibilities. Have back up plans and an established communication strategy at the end of the day.
- Establish ownership and oversight within teams: Even if different teams are working on a project, it’s a good idea to establish what might be considered your ‘home base.’ This gives the project some oversight and defines ownership so there is someone taking the lead. This helps avoid confusion.
- Have an organized calendar and sequence: Consistency is key. Setting out a calendar for project teams and support teams help map out what the work looks like and ensures ease of transfer.
- Define and establish the hand-off process: This is likely the hardest part of the FTS model. This is the process by which work and responsibilities are passed on from one team to another team as shifts are changing. If everyone is on the same page, service ticket times decrease, security is strengthened, and the work achieves a seamless quality.
Setting up your remote location: For follow the sun, companies will likely have 2 or more locations across the globe. If your company is considering establishing an entire home base in the western hemisphere, partner up with a company that will help you find the right team, establish secure networks and connections, and provides the legal support that comes with having a remote team in a foreign country. CodersLink has helped companies set up a location in Mexico with qualified tech teams.
Common Challenges Faced When Implementing This Model
Like any new business strategy, follow-the-sun does require overcoming a few challenges that may present themselves. Some of these might include:
- Call Quality
- Handoff strategy.
- Communication between team members.
Hiring the right team is essential for ensuring the right infrastructure is put in place and maintained, as well as safeguarding information. Customers today expect instant action when they run into a problem. Your IT architecture and the people that run it are essential for any company, especially one with a global presence. A recent study found that arranging technical assistance and 24/7 accessibility were the top two ways that companies improved product experience for users.
How CodersLink Has Helped Companies Improve Their Workflow Through New Models
Having a follow-the-sun operation is not reserved for only large enterprises. Small to midsize businesses have also benefited from this model and have been able to implement this model without any problems. Companies like Prezi have used this 24/7 operation to ensure that their clientele around the world has access to support when they need it.
Netprotect, J2 Global subsidiary is a global leader in internet security. They have a sophisticated yet simple array of consumer and business solutions. They partnered with CodersLink to hire a team of mobile engineers to relocate them to the U.S. Soon, they opened a support team in Mexico to fulfill their 24/7 operations. The company already had working teams in Europe and Asia. Their team in Mexico was established through our Build-Operate-Transfer model and successfully led to a flourishing team in Mexico.
Working with us, the company was also able to:
- Grow their team in Guadalajara from 0 to 45 employees in 18 months.
- Build multiple teams for Netprotect– Software engineering, QA, support, mobile.
- Save $1.2M within 12 months.
CodersLink works with companies of all sizes looking to enhance their creative teams. In today’s tech world, there are many strategies that can completely revitalize and scale a company as they move towards the next growth stage.
Thinking about your company’s customer support or daily productivity? Consider the possibilities in building teams outside of the U.S. Follow-the-sun is only one strategy to scale your operation. Connect with CodersLink and find out other ways we can help your company grow.