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Focus on ModSquad Europe: Inside Our European Operations Center

As we celebrate the fourth anniversary of ModSquad’s European Operations Center in Derry, Northern Ireland, we took the opportunity to steal a few minutes with ModSquad’s Director of Client Services, Stephen Dunne. He’s a busy man, having joined the company two years ago and now providing solutions for clients across the continent and beyond. “We do everything from content moderation to customer service and full community management,” notes Stephen, with those engagements supporting companies in a wide range of industries. “I can’t think of a vertical in which we don’t have some form of presence,” he says. We spoke with Stephen about ModSquad’s growing presence in Europe.

ModSquad’s Director of Client Services Stephen DunneMost people that have heard of ModSquad think that we only offer remote, or virtual teams, but we do have Operations Centers. What drives clients’ decisions in using the Ops Centers rather than remote Mods?

There are a number of reasons a client may use an Ops Center, a primary reason being heightened security. Due to the nature of a project, we may need to access personal data or require a higher level of administrative access to carry out certain functions, and our Ops Centers serve this purpose well.

Can you build a team that is both remote and in the Operations Center?

We absolutely can, and a good example would be when we have clients operating multilevel tiers of service. We might have triage or Tier 1 Mods who are able to work remotely and then Tier 2 Mods working on elements of a project where access controls are restricted and they need to be office-based.

When clients use remote teams, how do you ensure that they turn up for work?

All of our Mods self-schedule and therefore use our scheduling tool to pick their shifts for the month ahead. We allow them to set up reminders on their mobile phones alerting them to their shifts. As in life, there are times where a Mod may not be able to make a shift. They’ll use our internal messaging tool to let their Project Manager know, and the PM can then make arrangements to get the shift covered, ensuring continuity of service. All of our Mods check in with a Project Manager for whichever project they work on. There are a number of Project Managers and Assistant Project Managers based in our Derry Operations Center as well as throughout Europe.

Does the EU operation offer the same services as the United States? What are the advantages for European clients?

We absolutely offer the same services as the U.S. And though we’re a 24/7 company, many of our clients operate within standard business hours in Europe. Having localized sales, account management, and services departments ensures that we can talk to our clients at times that work for them. We have an established team of experienced professionals who have worked in the European markets for a number of years now. At times we also need to visit clients’ offices and vice versa, so having teams based within a few hours of travel of each other makes things easier, although that doesn’t stop us jumping on video calls and conference calls.

Europe has GDPR and other local regulations. Can you talk about MSQ EU’s familiarity with those regional laws and how you work to protect clients and their customers?

I’m sure every business in Europe or businesses that work with Europe will well remember getting ready for GDPR in 2018. Of course, ModSquad also took part in those preparations to ensure we were fully compliant, which meant working with a number of clients to update contracts as well as refreshing all staff on the new principles. Our IT, information security, and legal teams led the charge with this initiative, ensuring we made the deadline.

How do you build a team culture when many Mods are remote and based in different countries or regions?

It all starts with orientation and a good welcome, where you get to meet your project’s Project Manager and learn about ModSquad before diving into your project-specific orientation. Following on from that, we use such tools as Basecamp and Slack to ensure there is a regular flow of communication between our Mods and project management teams.

In our Derry Operations Center, we get together and have pizza night in the office or head out to play laser tag or pool. On a more global scale, we run company-wide events, such as the extraordinary fundraising we do for Extra Life each year. All of our Operations Centers and remote teams take part in the 24-hour gaming marathon, raising funds for The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. It’s great fun to join in live streams and see gamers in action.

Do you work closely with the EU sales team?

Yes, I work quite closely with VP of Sales Clive Jefferies over here. The internal relationship between sales and the services team is key to the success of our projects. I’ll often jump on calls with Clive or assist on the development of RFPs to help design a solution that will meet potential clients’ needs. We’ll also frequently conduct business reviews together, ensuring our clients’ projects are on track. When sales signs a new client, they’ll make sure they introduce them to their Account Manager and Project Manager. There will be a thorough handover where the sales team will walk them through the contract and project specifics.

You’ve been a customer for outsourcing services and also worked for some of ModSquad’s competitors. What would you say differentiates ModSquad?

Adaptability and flexibility. If I put my client hat on, what I love about ModSquad is the unique nature of its business model, which allows an unrivalled level of flexibility, especially when it comes to serving multiple languages around the globe. We are not constrained by the norms of other outsourcers, and this allows us to adapt and change. Having our worldwide network of remote Mods means we can react quickly to a call to action. I recall a gaming client that launched on a modest schedule, not expecting the huge influx of volume that they got. In the first three weeks our hours practically tripled, but the uniqueness of our model allowed us to meet that need. Although I make that sound easy, we couldn’t do all of this if it wasn’t for the cooperation between our European and U.S. counterparts across services, HR, IT, information security, accounting, and sales.

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Talk Back

Posted on June 13, 2019

We love Derry! Great article Stephen!

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