Moving your Customer Success team offshore can make scaling business operations easier and more affordable, but how can you ensure your offshore team is meeting expectations once you take the leap?
This question has perplexed business leaders in recent years. It doesn’t help that much of the research on the subject focuses on offshore IT and product development teams, rather than Customer Success — two very distinct functions that require different management approaches.
Maintaining a high-performing offshore Customer Success team requires careful planning and consideration. By focusing on three essential pillars of good management — communication, respect, and staying present — you too can find offshore success.
Here are some tactics to keep your offshore Customer Success team engaged and involved:
Communicate clearly and consistently
The strength of communication networks plays a key role in any successful offshoring. Too often companies think that offshoring a vital service team like Customer Success relieves them of the responsibility for oversight and leadership; in fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Communication with offshore supervisors and management is essential for managing offshore teams. That begins with frank conversations about expectations, providing feedback, and establishing what matters to the company and why. This context is critical to help ensure that it’s not just the rules that are followed, but the spirit behind them.
Hone onshore communication skills
While an offshore team is likely to speak your onshore team’s language, they may not be familiar with local slang or colloquialisms, and opaque turns of phrase can result in confusion that impacts work results.
It’s important to train your onshore team to communicate clearly and effectively with the offshore team. Working with Customer Success offshoring experts to strengthen interpersonal skills can improve employee outcomes onshore and offshore.
Provide the right tools
Make sure your organization’s tech stack includes communication tools to accommodate and include your offshore teams. Chat tools like Slack help keep people connected in immediate ways, and video conferencing platforms fill the gap for creating face-to-face connection.
The way you use these tools matters as well. Be sure to welcome offshore team members into the fold by including them on company-wide channels and welcoming them into the conversation.
Mutual respect is a part of any successful offshore team relationship. Respect team members as both employees and as people by remembering to:
- Respect their contribution. Compliments and public recognition should not be exclusively reserved for your onshore team.
- Respect (and respond to) their feedback. Invite input and ideas from offshore employees on how to optimize business operations and product offerings.
- Respect their culture. Respect their culture in the same way you expect them to respect yours.
A partner with experience building global teams like Bolton Remote can help bridge cultural gaps and prevent innocent miscommunications that could come across as disrespectful, ensuring smooth and productive working relationships throughout your organization.
Activate transparency and accountability
Be candid about your business, your expectations, and your goals with all employees. Team members value transparency and accountability from leadership, whether they work on-site or overseas. This openness sets standards that people can understand and strive to attain.
Be open with feedback, both positive and negative
Accountability is a two-way street and you shouldn’t insulate your offshore team from knowing how they could perform better. Be open about providing feedback — both positive and negative — to help your employees grow and improve.
Remember, offshore Customer Success team members are in-house workers, they’re just located elsewhere. Each team member should be measured by the same criteria you would use for any of your employees. Employees should receive regular performance reviews, professional development opportunities, and leadership support — just like your local team.
Be in touch and available
Regular check-ins with team members help to build connections and foster a sense of trust and shared experience. They also create spaces where offshore teams can offer meaningful feedback.
Of course, connections between onshore and offshore employees don’t only need to be stuffy and formal. Be sure to include times for virtual water-cooler chat where team members in both locations can get acquainted with one another. When employees feel left out, their happiness plummets and they tend to underperform.
Translate excitement through your leadership
Share your vision and strive to inspire. When Customer Success agents are passionate about a company, they translate that enthusiasm into their conversations with customers. That helps get customers excited about your product, too.
Customer Success employees are also the front lines for gathering feedback on your product. They hear firsthand whether or not your customers are having their own expectations met, which directly impacts your business goals. You want them to be enthusiastic, motivated, and engaged!
Be there... in person
Communicating values and expectations to new employees takes time, effort, and commitment. Having an experienced manager from HQ visit your offshore team on a regular basis is critical (when it is safe to do so).
Taking a Customer Success team offshore sounds like a challenge (and in some ways, it is).
Really, it comes down to adhering to three pillars of success:
- Staying present
If you can keep these three things in sight, our years of experience lead us to believe that any company can successfully manage an offshore Customer Success team that will exceed expectations. That way, you can meet changing customer needs and expectations, expand service hours, or transition to new customer service technology without affecting your bottom line.
Bolton has a wealth of experience providing on-site management services for offshore teams.