8 insights into building a successful global customer care team
By Payoneer’s very own: Anat Leshem, VP Operations and Natalie Margolin, Director of Customer Care
As the world is becoming smaller through the Internet, more and more people across the globe, in diverse languages and with cultural differences, are rightfully demanding great customer service. Building a successful customer care team for your marketplace, ad network or platform can be challenging. The team is the main point of contact with your customers, and also represents the voice of the company, putting a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.
Recruiting the right people and the right managers, keeping them motivated and maintaining a high level of job satisfaction, while keeping your costs low – all these are challenges every company faces if they want to provide expert guidance and support.
How does a company meet these growing needs while faced with these challenges? Anat Leshem, VP Operations and Natalie Margolin, Director of Customer Care, both from Payoneer, provide a few insights on how to achieve the most effective customer care team possible.
1. Choosing the location
“Customer care teams naturally grow as the company develops” says Anat. “Six years ago, our team at Payoneer consisted of 15 people working on a shift pattern, and each shift started with a briefing from the manager. Now we have a team of over 200 people worldwide, in three different locations – New York, Hong Kong and Israel.
We developed the hubs in response to our growing ecosystem of businesses and account holders in each location. As they grew, we had to grow as well, to offer the level of service they expected. Local teams with the right language skills and knowledge, in the right time zone, are essential for an efficient customer care team. At Payoneer we added different locations worldwide in response to customer demand.”
2. Creating a technology package
Anat also discusses the important role technology plays in the success of customer care teams.
“The other aspect that has changed dramatically, allowing us to build this model, is the range and scope of digital tools that fit the global need to distribute the wealth of knowledge, as well as allowing each customer to approach us in whatever channel of communication he prefers.
For example, because of this technology, our Hong Kong base acts as our Asian hub, where we support customers in numerous Asian languages, such as Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. In all of our locations we use four main communication channels; including email, chat / messaging, social media and telephone. With our skilled team, we’re able to provide in-house support in 18 different languages, and have the capability to support any language through email.”
3. 24/7 support
Offering customer care at any time is crucial for a successful support team. As Natalie explains, “seeing as we are a global payments company that deals with sensitive issues like people’s money, we also recognize that our customers require 24/7 support, so we can provide assistance at any given moment in case of emergency. By putting the right team in place across the world, we’re able to offer a ‘follow-the-sun’ philosophy, that allows us to provide local support in every region, which our customers not only appreciate, but expect.”
4. Achieving global growth
Having a global team can be challenging, but Payoneer has successfully taken a local customer care team and developed it globally. Anat describes the process they followed to make it work.
“We have a good structure – we have three shifts in place, with lots of positioning in the CC team. Groups are structured according to seniority and level of knowledge, with a supervisor for each shift and a team leader in place. The leader ensures the teams undergo training, and analyze their performance, while providing a social environment that maintains motivation whilst encouraging a sense of fun and happiness.
These teams are being duplicated globally, with tweaks to suit each location. We provide one team of supervisors globally (with supervisors in each location), allowing each hub to tweak their local culture, including a mentoring program, which differs slightly per location. There’s lots of mobility in and out both professionally and managerially, to make sure the team works well together in each location. This system has given rise to lots of individual success stories coming out from our customer care teams.”
5. Keeping teams in-the-know
Training is a crucial aspect of the success of these teams, but a global model such as Payoneer gives rise to cultural and language challenges. Natalie explains how the company overcame this.
“The training teams are divided into two – one for onboarding and one for ongoing learning. For each area the same methodology is applied to ensure all relevant information is received and learned.
Every team member attends various courses, including a ten-day soft-skill course, and a course that outlines the specific Payoneer information. This is followed by ten days of on-the-job training. At the end of this period they receive a certificate, and can then go solo while still being mentored and overseen by the team leader.
Daily training is carried out through short, 15 minute, e-learning courses and questionnaires. We also provide an extensive knowledge platform that they can use for reference at any time, which is updated regularly. In this way, all teams, wherever they are, are receiving the same training and the same information, regardless of language.”
6. Recruiting the top people
According to Anat and Natalie, one of the most important aspects of any customer care team is the people, and it’s this factor that makes Payoneer unique.
“Our teams are multi-cultural,” Natalie says, “yet at the same time we are one family. We all celebrate every holiday, regardless of culture. We respect the range of cultures and languages, which is a central part for all our hubs.
Working hard to maintain a high level of employee satisfaction across the hubs is important, and we achieve this by providing a great atmosphere to work in, celebrating achievements, holidays and birthdays, recognizing achievement with awards, and with simple gift-giving. It shows we care.”
7. Yes/no to outsourcing
When asked why Payoneer currently employs an in-house team to provide customer care and not an outsourced team, Anat specified a few reasons:
“As Payoneer grows and develops, we are constantly adding on more features and solutions to the Payoneer offering. Our customer care teams need to be updated on these new solutions and features through ongoing training, which is difficult to provide to an outsourced team. Another major advantage to an in-house customer care team, is that the team provides online feedback from customers to different teams within Payoneer. For example, immediate feedback to R&D regarding product changes. This is invaluable information that is vital to the success of Payoneer.”
8. The learning curve
Learning from experience is crucial in any aspect of business. A customer care team can be the difference between not only keeping your customers, but building enough trust that they continue to use Payoneer services in the future. Building the right team is therefore an essential part of any company’s success.
In Anat’s case, when asked what 3 tips she would have given herself 5 years ago, her answer was simple:
“Hire good people earlier on; provide efficient training, focusing on electronic training tools; and make sure you have a great knowledge group in place, that is an integral part of every product and project lifecycle from the very beginning.”