3 Keys to Scaling a Global Support Team

Last night’s Support Superheroes Meetup featured key learnings on successfully growing a global support team, led by Optimizely’s Holger Tamm. Tamm is currently Optimizely’s head of support and services, and was senior director of customer support at Oracle prior to his current role.

Optimizely is a US-based customer experience optimization software company that has expanded into much of Europe and soon will be opening an Australian office. So Tamm is no stranger to dealing with the pains associated with overseeing an increasingly internationally-integrated team. These are three considerations that he says to keep in mind (and advice for how to work through them) when scaling support globally.

1. Outsourcing is Good for Cost-Cutting, But Technology Can Be Great

At face value, the cost of outsourcing support might be less than keeping support in-house. The opportunity cost will distort that ratio, however, as there are compromises to quality that are often associated with outsourcing. One way to make a clearer case for in-house support is by leveraging new technology to help. For example, translation technology is becoming increasingly more adept and can reduce the cost of having agents that speak specific languages to meet SLAs. Fun fact: Only 19% of SaaS companies outsource versus 61% in overall tech.

2. Global Teams that Still ‘Feel Local’ Have a Distinct Advantage

When language isn’t the only barrier, and physical location matters due to accommodating time zones, etc., companies may choose to still use in-house support, just offshore. If this is the case, it’s important to still make the offshore location feel like it’s on the same wavelength as headquarters. That means always having a “local presence” to navigate the new territory. Employees that have worked at home base and understand the company culture should be leveraged to hire, onboard, and oversee overseas expansion.

3. Employees that have Ongoing Opportunities Will Create Cultural Continuity

Retaining good talent is difficult, especially when that talent has less than desirable work shifts to accommodate 24/7 support. A great way to combat bad hours is by offering employee growth programs. That can be anything from a rotation program where an employee can work in a new, exciting place at another office location, to work training programs so that employees that start as agents can grow into other roles throughout the company.

Did you know that Support Superheroes meets monthly? Check out our next Support Superheroes meetup, organized by Helpshift, coming up on July 19!

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