When businesses are considering outsourcing to the Philippines, they often have questions around how the time difference with their home country will affect their operations.
For some, outsourcing to a destination with a different time zone can initially be seen as a hindering factor, but the reality is that using time zone differences with outsourcing can provide an incredible, untapped advantage.
Having spent many years helping businesses around the world set up offshore teams operating across multiple time zones, we’ve seen first hand what works and what doesn’t. Based on these observations, we have compiled some of our top tips in this article to help you better understand how to use time zones to your advantage when outsourcing.
How to outsource across multiple time zones?
The 24/7 nature of outsourcing to the Philippines creates a number of opportunities for businesses and provides four key advantages:
- Staff are willing to work in whatever time zone you need.
- Finish projects faster
- Extend your billable hours
- 24/7 Customer support
Of course, successful and efficient outsourcing doesn’t just happen. It requires proper planning and a little know how, but by following the tips and advice below, you should be on the right path to building an effective offshore team.
Your team, your way
There are many great advantages of setting up outsourced teams, however, before we go any further, it’s important to note that when you set up an offshore team, no matter where you are in the world, the staff will work to the hours that you choose.
The Philippine outsourcing industry has been around for a long time, and staff are well accustomed to the fact that this may involve working night shifts to fit in with the operational hours of their client.
Regardless of whether you need your staff to work days, nights, or any combination of the two, the incredible cost savings associated with outsourcing still remain. Staff working nights will receive a slightly higher salary, but the price difference is nowhere near what you could expect to pay in Western countries.
Outsourcing to the Philippines gives businesses the flexibility they need to set up the teams and operational structures that they need, and having the freedom to affordably set whatever shifts are needed is just one example of this.
Finish projects faster
All projects have deadlines and deadlines mean stress, but what if there was a way to supercharge your output delivery?
By using the ‘chase the sun’ method of outsourcing, companies are able to hand over projects to each other each day to a team in a different time zone in order to complete tasks and projects quickly.
This method can be very effective, but for it to work well, it’s important that effective communication methods and regular meetings are put in place.
We recommend that regular video meetings are held daily, just to check in on how projects are travelling and to highlight any issues that may arise.
While time zone differences may limit the windows in which these meetings can be held, the Philippines is uniquely positioned to fit in well with both US and UK/European businesses. Our US clients are usually ending their day as the Philippine team is starting theirs (when working PH day shift), with a nice overlap of the two working days to catch up and debrief. Likewise, UK customers also have an overlap of work hours, only in reverse. E.g. UK based workers are starting their day, while Philippine based staff are ending theirs.
The end result is that work gets completed faster, staff are easily able to check in with the other team, and the risk of employee stress and burnout is greatly reduced.
Extend your billable hours.
The expression ‘time is money’ is very popular amongst business owners and managers, and for very good reason. The more hours in the day, the more money that can be made. In fields such as Accounting and Legal work, the standard practice is to charge clients in time blocks, but in a regular business day, there is roughly only an eight hour period, and a limited number of clients you can take on before you reach capacity.
A popular way around this is to set up a system where the local staff attract new work and take care of all the client-facing advisory roles, while sending the functional process driven tasks to their offshore team who complete it overnight. The local staff check it in the morning and charge the clients accordingly.
Businesses operating with this model are easily able to increase their capacity to look after a greater number of clients and double the number of billable hours available to them each day.
24/7 customer support
In today’s global marketplace, time zones and hours of operation are increasingly becoming things of the past. If you have a website that is promoting a product or service, your customers can access it 24 hours a day. If nobody is there to take care of them, there’s a good chance that you are losing business. This is where outsourcing can really help.
One of the most popular ways that our customers are able to stay in touch with their customer base is to handle customer inquiries themselves during the day but set up multidisciplinary contact teams to operate outside of the customer’s regular hours.
The teams are generally able to cover all incoming emails, live online chats, social media messages, and phone calls. Best of all, a full report is created at the end of every shift ready for your local team each morning. It’s a great way to ensure that you never miss out on sales, leads, and clients again.
Choosing the right partner
One final piece of advice when looking at setting up an offshore team is the importance of partnering with an outsourcing provider that offers 24/7 operation and support.
It is paramount that your provider is able to be there for you and your team when you need them, not just when it’s convenient for them.
Additionally, BPOs that run their services 24/7 are also better placed to assist you with managing your teams across multiple time zones, because apart from years of experience helping clients, they themselves operate across multiple time zones every day.
At Cloudstaff, our clients are able to reach us at any time, day or night, no matter where they are in the world. Our offices run 24/7 and so do our support services, but this isn’t always the case with other providers.
Our customers all have a personal account manager who works to their designated time zone, as well as HR, Sales and IT support teams that run 24/7. We also provide our customers with the tools to monitor their staff, track projects and view progress reports in real time.
We understand what it takes to operate effectively in a globalized marketplace and are always ready to share our experiences with businesses looking to take their operations to the next level.
Want to know more? Speak with one of our friendly outsourcing experts today.