Global Payroll: Customer Service Starts with Communication

By Sarah Townsend | Updated July 16, 2019

Global Payroll Services

What’s the greatest frustration when dealing with customer service? Communication! It’s common in any industry, and it even happens for businesses seeking to manage their global payrolls.

Customer service communication tends to break down in two areas:

  • Availability of communication (someone to speak to at the end of the phone)
  • Clarity of communication (knowing the individual clearly understands the detail of the information that they are sharing and is able to clearly explain it)

If you work in global payroll, you know that managing global payroll is not a 9 – 5, 40-hour week – the global payroll manager needs to communicate in regards to events occurring in different time zones across countries in EMEA, APAC and the Americas. Despite this, having the ability to pick up the phone and speak to a contact in the same time zone is a ‘need’ for the successful payroll manager, not a ‘nice to have.’

As a customer, it should not be the payroll manager that has to adapt to the time zones; a truly capable global payroll service provider is able to provide the right coverage to meet the communication needs of the client. In other words, they are able to pick up the phone when the payroll manager calls. Secondly, having clear and detailed instructions from the payroll service provider is incredibly important in terms of effectively managing the expectations of the wider business and to be able to complete any necessary actions or steps needed to manage the payrolls.

For example, receiving communications that do not clearly detail the timeline of receiving certain reports, year-end documents or deadlines of tax declarations can cause a significant challenge, and in the worst case scenario, can lead to missed deadlines and late payments.

That’s why the availability and quality of communication is a significant frustration within modern customer service – each payroll manager needs to know that they are partnering with an individual with the right knowledge and who is committed to communicating in a clear, concise, and pro-active manner.

Customer Service Methodology

The foundation of a great customer service methodology is the partner-mentality between client and vendor – not just ‘ticking a box’ against a contracted scope of work each pay-period; but doing all that is necessary to deliver timely, accurate and compliant payrolls, whilst going above and beyond to meet the specific needs of each client. From establishing flexible office hours or scheduling out-of-hours discussions, regardless of their location, to taking the time to produce detailed explanations of certain payroll complexities, good customer service commits to ensuring that every step is taken to achieve a level of comfort and confidence with the client.

For example, managing more than 20 payrolls in over 20 countries can be a complex task with a lot of unknown and uncertain steps in order to remain compliant. It’s important that a vendor craft an appropriate approach to customer service to ensure that each client has a level of comfort and is confident when managing payroll each payroll. The end goal is to achieve an open line of communication, remain contactable, share knowledge, and provide clear guidance and instructions.

Why Customer Services Makes Payroll Easier

Customer service is fundamental to delivering successful global payroll – the ability to share clear and detailed guidance to complex and otherwise onerous tasks or responsibilities is essential to working in a manner that ensures the right steps are taken in each country to remain compliant. The ability to clearly communicate and meet upcoming deadlines is essential in ensuring that payroll teams can plan their schedule to complete the day-to-day tasks and prioritize the review of payroll reports to ensure the timely payment of employees.

Customer service does not just make global payroll ‘easier’ or more ‘manageable.’ It is essential in order to be successful. And it starts with good communication.

The more you engage with customers, the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.
– John Russell, President, Harley Davidson

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