15 March 2018
Different time zone, same service
In a world that is getting smaller; borders, currency and timezones shouldn’t be barriers to business.
Having a relationship with customers who live thousands of miles away and whom you may never meet is daunting but hugely rewarding for all involved. Widening your horizons, as someone seeking a service as well as a provider, gives you access to a whole new world of possibilities.
But, if you’ve never needed to manage your business across continents, where do you even start?
Well, we’ve asked ourselves that very question and we thought we’d share some of what we’ve learnt from supporting clients that live and work all over the place.
Sure, I know what you are all thinking, this is obvious and one of the most basic components of service whether your customer is in St Kitts or St Albans. You are entirely right but when you are divided by thousands of kilometres, the need to build and maintain a strong and informative relationship is key. Be open and direct with your client from the start and ask what they need from you to feel comfortable about progress, when you should be available for them (especially if there is a time difference) and how they can get a hold of you. Concrete touch points and scheduling make an international relationship far more fruitful all round.
Don’t be afraid to clarify what is going on, intended, expected or just what is meant. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a bit more detail or simply saying “I don’t understand”. It is better to fully understand a client/service provider while you have their attention rather than muddling through a piece of work because you are too embarrassed to ask them to repeat themselves.
Be open about your process and at what stage of that process you are at. The beauty of a doing business in a different timezone is that you can shoot an idea over in your afternoon and have feedback read and waiting for when you come in the following morning. Relationships across time zones can often be far more agile in that respect.
The common thread is that as long as you are open, receptive and above all, eager to learn from each other, you can’t go wrong.