Are you having trouble calculating the difference between EST and PST? Have you ever juggled one-hour discrepancies between states and cities? The tangle of time zones can twist your business into knots, especially if you’re involved in supply and customer service. Whether you’re dealing with clients or partners, it pays to be conscious of time zones. This inconvenience is necessary, but can be mitigated by outsourcing services to teams who can handle aspects of operations round the clock.
Toggling the timezones can be messy, but becomes second nature once you get the hang of it. Here are three strategies to start with:
1. Use Your Phone’s World Clock and Converter
It’s one of the most neglected features of smart phones, also one of the most useful. You’ll find this indispensable when you’re doing business in multiple locations. If you’re trying to schedule a meeting with clients from different countries, setting the best time to meet is easy when you have all the local clocks on hand for comparison.
Use this feature as a crutch until you know the conversions by heart. You can also rely on your smartphone’s world clock for every transaction. Either way, use this often enough and eventually you won’t need it.
2. Lay Down Timezone Rules with Clients
This is an awkward way to start, but must be settled so everyone’s clear on expectations. Which timezone will be used as basis in meetings, deliveries? This depends on your relationship to the other party. If you’re dealing with customers and clients, you’ll have to adjust. Otherwise you’ll have to compromise.
What’s the use of setting timezone ground rules? No one has an excuse for missing deadlines and deliverables if there’s a standard time set. You’re also displaying good business sense if you go out of your way and adopt a client’s local time as basis.
3. Keep Your 24-Hour Workday Feasible
Round-the-clock customer support is unavoidable when you’re serving customers in various timezones. It makes sense to have someone accommodating customers at the other end, responses customized and sent as soon as possible. This is crucial if you’re selling products worldwide; a feasible solution is to outsource services to contact centers, or dedicate teams to work in rotating shifts. You can also handpick sales reps based on locations you’re serving, working from home and on flexible hours.
Outsourcing pays off in customer service, if the response times complement the customer’s timezone. Being considerate of client’s time also increases chances of repeat service; you don’t want to annoy someone by replying on an ungodly hour. Personalize service by hiring someone local (or nearby) your clients to handle calls and queries.
Managing a business with global reach is a challenge, but it’s very doable with the right strategies. It also helps if you outsource services to reliable partners. Step up your game as you expand to new markets.