86: Cross-cultural Support with Chris Taylor

86: Cross-cultural Support with Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor is figuring out how he handles different customer bases in a scale-up, and how to manage their different expectations.


I’d love your thoughts on this episode! Comment below, and like/love/share/support if you found this inspiring, thought-provoking, or useful!

Charlotte Ward 0:12
Hello, and welcome to Episode 86 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is cross cultural support. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome back to the podcast today Chris Taylor, Chris. It’s been a while but it’s lovely to have you back. And this week you’re joining me to talk about cross cultural support. Right. So I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences.

Chris Taylor 0:47
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’ve only started running like a global team in the last year before then I was pretty UK centric. I’ve also moved from business to consumer to business to business. So there’s differences in the way that is done, as well as cross cultural, you could dig so much into the data for this. I mean, it’s something that I’m trying to study really actively within my organisation because I have an intuition that there’s significant differences in the way our different regions interact with customer support. So as an example, we cut our support into like three global areas, we’ve got APAC, we’ve got Americas and an AMA, so European Union mostly. And there’s massive, massive differences in the volume of tickets we get and the types of queries. So as an example, generally, in APAC, we tend to get a lot more tickets during onboarding processes. And slightly more. I don’t know if it’s hand holding but just talking people through concepts and process and that kind of thing. Whereas on clients in America’s are a lot more hands off. So they only come to us if there’s a, like a bug or problem. And then they seem to be a bit more independent with it. I don’t know whether that’s a side effect of us working with less partners there, as well, but that’s just kind of what I’ve spotted from initial kind of

Charlotte Ward 2:18
a gut feeling. And, and you described it a couple of other factors there. I guess there’s just where your customers are in terms of the load, but also your relationship with them, particularly locally through partners and that but you talked about this being more of a hunch than data driven? And I think it I think, I feel slightly nervous of drawing kind of regional and national stereotypes into this, but there are, there are differences in the way we have to support because we have to respond to the needs of any of our customers individually and, and certainly as groups, right.

Chris Taylor 2:52
It’s definitely not an act of like trying to stereotype regions or anything like that. I just think there’s this model The self quo model, which is like a customer gaps model, and one is between what the customer expects from your service and what their actual perception of it is, right. And my overarching theory is that all of these different cultures have different perceptions on what customer support should be. What is that for? adults? What I think you got the main differences from, I think it’s perhaps then something that we still think about, particularly once we get to a certain scale, right, that we, we should think about attempting to measure what those expectations are. Again, we’re taught we can slice and dice our customer base in a number of ways but culturally definitely is one way we can do it, whether we choose to or not, but it’s one way we can we can obviously slice and dice on on organisation size or the tear or any number of other factors right but but yeah, that so so is that model the effectively what I’ve seen as customer expectations score. Is it that one? No, it’s, I think it’s I haven’t heard that might be interesting. But it’s called serve quo. It was invented in like, I think the 80s or 70s, by a group of marketers, who were looking specifically at customer service in retail. So they identified five customer gaps, which were the gap between their expectation and perception. Another one is a gap between management expectation and what the customer actually perceives. And there’s a gap between your service delivery and your policies. So what do your policies support the service expectations that you have? And there’s a couple more definitely was some research but yeah, it can be a useful model for this type of

Charlotte Ward 4:42
Yeah, the expectation versus perception is really, really the big one there that I just think fits quite nicely with what we’re talking about in terms of how we behave to our,

Chris Taylor 4:53
to our different customer groups, right. Yeah. And for me, as well like tyke have we’ve got a slightly different business model. In APAC, each of these regions have different ways of doing business. So naturally, the way we support is going to be changed between them, I think.

Charlotte Ward 5:09
And you’re quite early stage in terms of supporting growth right now. Hiring into a pack only just and and, you know, a small footprint in the other regions. As you grow. Do you think you will aim to develop a tone or have you already developed a tone? And do you think you’ll, you’ll perhaps build some idea of the different customer sections in that tone guide?

Chris Taylor 5:33
Yeah, I mean, we have general rule of thumb at hikers that we don’t have any corporate speak. All of our juniors are individuals that fully full stack, back end front end engineers. So we just tanks whole ethos is that we’re like an engineer, led company, built by engineers, for engineers. So so we recruit very specifically for a very technical level of engineer. I think in terms of time Main guidelines are, be yourself, be honest, and just don’t feel the need to fluff things up for a customer. We’ve really focused entirely on building relationships with our clients. So we’ve got a whole area called consulting engineers, which you might call a type of customer success, but they’re engineers who go into these companies. Essentially, we want to be seen as a partner. We’re trying to build relationships, understand the strategy, how we can support that at a very individual level. Right? Absolutely. And I think in terms of tone is not really set in stone as much as style guide is just to be yourself.

Charlotte Ward 6:41
That’s it for today. Go to customersupport.leaders.com/86 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


A little disclaimer about the podcast, blog interviews and articles on this site: the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text and podcast belong solely to the author or interviewee, and not necessarily to any employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.