Follow-the-Sun Model

Follow-the-Sun Model for Round-the-Clock Customer Support

Hey there, have you ever heard about the follow-the-sun model?

It’s an interesting customer support concept in the customer service industry. You will be surprised to know that this concept has revolutionized the traditional customer support process. 

If you haven’t heard about it before or have a limited grasp of it, this blog will be a great resource for you to grasp it well.

 Alright, let’s kick off the learning journey!

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What is the Follow the Sun Model?

The “Follow-the-Sun” model is a global operation customer support system designed to provide round-the-clock service regardless of geographical location or current time.

It’s a savvy workflow model for the customer support team that ensures uninterrupted customer service, literally following the sun around the globe. According to this model, a 24/7 support system will be on without overloading or forcing employees to work night shifts.

In this manner, you need to arrange a support team in different geographical regions. So that the current team in charge can hand off the leftover or unresolved tasks to the next as each region’s shift ends.

For instance, when a customer support center in Washington finishes its shift, it can hand off unresolved issues or queries to a team in another part of the world, such as any region in Asia where it’s daytime.

Why you need to implement follow-the-sun model

Implementing a follow-the-sun model, your teams will be distributed across different time zones, maintaining shifts. As the current shift ends, the unresolved issues can seamlessly be handed off to the next shift’s team.

As a result, your overall customer support operation will be uninterrupted, and the shifting of unresolved issues will continue until they are fully resolved.

Plus, you can maintain your continuous support operation even if there are any issues, such as regional, technological, political, etc., by reshifting the support teams spread across different geographical zones.

As your support teams will be in action 24/7, your customers will receive timely assistance around the clock. Consequently, you can reduce the customer’s wait time and hit hard to maximize customer satisfaction.

In the arena of modern customer support, companies prioritize improving First Response Time (FRT) and lowering Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR).

When you implement the model in your support system, your customers will receive a timely acknowledgment, which results in improved FRT. Again, as the model includes continuous operation, it will greatly lower your MTTR.

Most importantly, being physically and mentally healthy is crucial for customer support agents. Their role in the company is often considered the most hectic job, and it’s difficult for them to maintain a work-life balance.

When you implement the follow-the-sun model for your support system, your support agents won’t need to work overtime or late-night shifts. This allows them more personal time with their friends and family or space for personal growth.

Consider if the follow-the-sun model is appropriate for your business

  • Understand your industry type and competitors
  • What time do most of your support tickets come in?
  • Define the complexities of your tickets
  • Is it costly to manage night shifts or overtime in your region?

Understand your industry type and competitors

First, you need to identify the nature of your industry and its implications, whether it operates on a global, regional, or local scale.

If your industry, such as e-commerce or SaaS, reaches a global audience, you need to serve customers across multiple time zones. In this circumstance, the follow-the-sun model is appropriate for your business.

This model is also applicable if you operate your business on a regional scale and your customer base is in different time zones. Otherwise, you can stick to your usual business hours for support.

Lastly, if your business has a local customer base, they can contact your support heroes during business hours.

Again, gaining comprehensive knowledge about the sector to which your business belongs is another crucial factor.

This will help you understand how other companies in your industry handle customer support and determine whether the follow-the-sun model is a good fit. If appropriate, you can implement this model and be one step ahead of your competitors.

What time do most of your support tickets come in?

You need to analyze the historical data to identify when your support system flooded with tickets. Depending on your customer base, tickets may arrive in specific time slots or throughout the day.

For example, 90% of your tickets arrive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. In that case, implementing a follow-the-sun model isn’t worthwhile for your business.

There’s no need to schedule additional support shifts for the remaining 10%. The remaining 10% of tickets can be snoozed for the next day, or you can share the responsibility among your current support agents.

Conversely, the follow-the-sun model is appropriate if your tickets arrive around the clock in an average ratio.

Define the complexities of your tickets

You need to categorize your support tickets. While some issues can be swiftly tackled, others require specialized knowledge or longer resolution times.

Again, some complex issues can be solved with allocated resources, such as a comprehensive knowledge base with troubleshooting guides, FAQs, or automation.

Implementing a follow-the-sun model is a sound choice if most tickets need longer resolution time and collaborative hands-on expertise. Otherwise, you may continue your traditional support process.

Is it costly to manage night shifts or overtime in your region?

If hiring support agents for night shifts or overtime is expensive in your region, you can consider managing support agents from other regions. In this case, you would need to form a support team from different time zones from yours and also with daytime hours.

It’s a winning expense management strategy that ensures 24/7 support coverage without breaking the bank.

Note: When hiring customer support representatives from other regions, It’s worth considering some crucial factors like language proficiency, cultural understanding, effective communication, availability during pick hours, and similar kinds of stuff.

Follow-the-sun model best practices

  • Maintain a helpdesk software dashboard
  • Seamless handoff
  • Being proactive
  • Monitor performance metrics

Maintain a helpdesk software dashboard

Maintaining a helpdesk software dashboard is extremely effective while you are using a follow-the-sun model support approach. An efficient helpdesk software dashboard will give you real-time visibility into your support ticket status, agent availability, workload distribution across different time zones, etc.

In a word, you can access a comprehensive overview of your customer support process and effectively manage your support operations across different time zones.

Seamless handoff

Daily ticket handoff between shifts is a core part of the follow-the-sun model. It enables your support team to provide continuous and consistent customer support. To run the support process smoothly, you need to ensure the handoff process is seamless.

Here, you need to ensure that the knowledge transfer is perfectly maintained. This ensures your support agents get critical insights, updates, status, and possible solutions for unresolved issues.

Consequently, you can seamlessly maintain a collective understanding of customer needs and challenges across shifts.

Being proactive

Customer support is no longer reactive. It has embraced a proactive support approach. And guess what? The follow-the-sun model is itself proactive.

So, best practice is establishing a clear goal and creating a comprehensive plan while implementing the model.

To set a clear goal, you need to determine the scope of this support model. Consider whether you will opt for round-the-clock support or partial coverage during specific hours.

As you proceed, consider crucial factors like customer demand, team availability, business requirements, etc.

Again, you need to plan the best possible strategies to maximize the model’s effectiveness. In your plan, consider including the following–

  • establishing a clear communication channel
  • ensure a seamless transition between shifts
  • training and development
  • continuous development 

and so on.

Monitor performance metrics

Monitoring performance metrics is another key best practice. You need to ensure it regularly to evaluate your implemented follow-the-sun model. In this context, your performance metrics can be the following:


By monitoring these performance metrics, you can make informed decisions, identify trends, and allocate resources to optimize support quality across different time zones.

Wrapping up

Finally, we are confident enough that you have a good grasp of follow-the-sun model customer support. So now it’s your time to implement it in your business or share the knowledge with other people involved with customer support activity. 

That’s all from us. We appreciate you taking the time to read this blog.

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