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What is following the sun strategy?

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In IT, finance, accounting, and customer support, following-the-sun describes a global workflow strategy where issues are handled between different time zones to prevent delays in responses. This method was introduced so companies could provide 24-hour, round the clock service – following the sun around the globe. When the sun is shining over a given region, the company is conducting business there. This ensures customers’ requests and questions are handled as quickly as possible.

What are some pros and cons for the following-the-sun method?

A round-the-clock strategy isn’t right for every company. These pros and cons will help businesses decide if the method is worth investing in.

Pros:

  • Faster resolution times
  • No need for night shifts
  • Company gains global visibility
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Businesses gain an edge over the competition

Cons:

  • Workers in different time zones will need to communicate with each other and the main office
  • It can be challenging to maintain the same level of quality support across regions
  • This method may only be suited to larger companies or global organizations

How do you know if following-the-sun is right for the business?

Organizations can evaluate what’s best for them and their customers by asking certain questions:

Does the business have a global presence? A global presence means clients or customers may have inquiries outside of the main entity’s operating hours.

What kinds of issues are clients having? For simpler issues, a globally accessible FAQ or resource page can provide the help required.

Where are the customers or clients located? Unless the company truly has global reach (customers in more than a handful of regions), this method may not be needed.

Does the company want to scale the business? Scaling and having a presence overseas will necessitate catering to different time zones.

Is the business an enterprise-size company? Larger businesses will need higher levels of support.

Is it important to keep up with competitors? If major competitors offer 24/7 support, their advantage may persuade customers to choose them.

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