Follow-the-sun support has fast become the top worldwide standard of customer service. The idea is to provide all your customers and (potential) customers throughout the world with 24/7 support by call routing to available service representatives around the globe. As the support centre in London enters the afternoon shift New York is just starting up. New York hands over to Sydney and so the cycle goes on, providing continuous support and service 24/7. Previously the exclusive jurisdiction of large companies, follow-the-sun support is now becoming an achievable reality for micro-multinational businesses worldwide.
Why is this important? Because despite the emergence of alternative communication forms, voice is still, and is expected to continue on being, the preferred form of communication for the large majority of customers. 60% of all B2C communications are made via voice and a recent study by the Sussex Innovation Centre only served to further evidence the strength of voice as a customer communication channel. The study found that text communications like email are merely a transactional association, whereas voice allows for the building of trust and relationships between businesses and their clients. Sometimes, hearing the nuances in a customer’s voice is all it takes to alter the sales pitch or support line slightly. To see more information on the vital weight voice holds in the B2C communications field, view our white paper here.
Given that voice has proven to be such an effective form of communication with customers, the ability to offer 24/7 follow-the-sun voice support to clients holds amazing business benefits. Fortunately, these benefits are now available to companies of all sizes because of the emergence of Cloud computing. Hosting your company’s voice systems in the cloud provides a vast range of increased opportunities and it’s fair to say that this online platform has significantly levelled the playing field between macro vs. micro business’ customer service.
The concept of follow-the-sun support does however have its own unique challenges. This was made clear when the Sussex Innovation Centre study also found that the main barrier to entry perceived by small businesses in going global is still technology & communications infrastructure. We here at Natterbox have extensive experience in helping small businesses grow into and manage global 24/7 support voice services. Our aim in this post is to talk you through a couple of the bigger challenges you can expect to face when implementing 24/7 support. And of course, we’ll tell you how to overcome them too.
Challenges of Global 24/7 Support
As with every business upgrade, there are a few challenges to be faced along the way when integrating follow-the-sun cloud based voice with your existing systems. It’s important to think about how best to resolve these to fully take advantage of the benefits of your new system. Utilizing this technology should not only improve your customer’s experience but also your business efficiency. So before taking the plunge into offering 24/7 globe-wide support, make sure you understand the challenges involved with this offering and how to resolve them. When done properly, follow-the-sun support can add a whole new level of competitiveness to your company’s service.
So, what are the challenges?
Challenge #1: INFRASTRUCTURE
If your business opts to enter the 24/7 global service market using on-premise IP PBX infrastructure there is a whole host of problems awaiting you. One significant issue with on premise voice management is that each setup can only service one geographical location. In order to expand to another office around the globe you will need to buy and manage a whole new PBX setup. In addition, this form of PBX doesn’t have any disaster recovery protection so a simple power outage or major natural disaster could knock out your voice systems – cutting off customers who may be calling from other unaffected countries and expecting service. An increasingly complicated and expensive setup option, on premise PBX simply doesn’t scale well when you are trying to go global, especially for those on a small business budget.
The Solution: Cloud PBX
A more feasible and overall better featured approach for business voice systems is Cloud PBX. This is an easily scalable option where you can add support staff users as you grow and it is also accessible from anywhere regardless of global location. The benefits of this solution are endless: 24/7 up time, infrastructure maintained by a third party, expert help available from your provider, high quality hardware without a large capital investment, and inherent disaster recovery, just to name a few. You can integrate Cloud PBX software with your CRM system to further increase your business efficiency as well. The best part is that it doesn’t cost the earth. Cloud PBX is definitely the modern solution to 24/7 voice globalization.
The next challenge is a direct result of the previous solution. Nevertheless, as it too is solvable, Cloud PBX is still the system of choice for any business wanting to offer 24/7 and/or follow-the-sun global support.
Challenge #2: Call quality
While cloud based PBX allows your business the opportunity to easily use their systems to offer global 24/7 voice support (including follow-the-sun customization if desired), it can also cause call lag. Call lag can happen even on local calls if your system is routed through a cloud telephony service. The reason for this is that while both call parties may be in the UK, if your cloud service is in America then you can expect the same amount of call lag as you would on a regular international call. This can mean a poor customer call experience in some situations, which is definitely unacceptable for any business wanting to remain and/or become successful.
The Solution: Natterbox’s Global Data Centre Network
Natterbox has been developing cloud voice for many years and appreciates the importance of call quality to your customer’s experience and therefore to your business. As such, Natterbox has deployed Global Data Centres (GDC) around the world. This means that your calls will be switched via the most proximate GDC every time. This mitigates call lag and provides the positive experience that you would expect when making a local call. Natterbox means that you can offer your customers the best call experience while enjoying all the business benefits of Cloud based PBX. When choosing a Cloud PBX provider, it is important to pay attention to where the call switching is taking place so you don’t fall foul of poor call quality.
Get Started With Cloud PBX Today
If you want to provide your customers with a superior experience then switch to 24/7 follow-the-sun support today. For help solving the challenges involved in this shift so that you only enjoy the benefits, you can talk to Natterbox. Our team has helped many businesses set up new or more effective international voice systems.