The world of business presents a plethora of challenges that must be addressed, regardless of brand size. As businesses continue to grow, some problems cease to be – but new challenges inevitably emerge. Businesses that operate within a local customer audience obviously face different struggles than businesses that operate within the digital realm.
Likewise, businesses that cater to audiences in one or more countries must deal with the challenges that international commerce and communication present. As it turns out, one of the most effective methods in bolstering sales, market share and customer retention in international markets is good customer service.
Today, let’s examine some great tips that can improve your customer service in international markets.
Provide 24/7 Solutions
Ultimately, international companies must strive to reach customers and provide assistance on the customers’ timetables. While it may not be feasible – particularly for smaller brands – to provide around-the-clock toll free number service, offering at least one real-time form of customer service to every international market is crucial.
Whether this be a real-time ticket support system or 24/7 live chat, offering solutions that ensure every customer can rectify potential problems ASAP goes a long way towards improving customer retention. This can also be an excellent way to field questions from prospective customers, thereby growing your customer base.
Understand Local Cultures
The phrase “lost in translation” has a clear meaning – but it’s not the full story when it comes to customer service across borders. Even when speaking the same language, just as much confusion can arise from a cultural disconnect. Methods of expression, specific words used and even tone can all impact how potential and current customers from different markets view your efforts.
While having a culturally disconnected moment via phone or live chat is perhaps less likely than via a person-to-person interaction, being mindful of your audience(s) is key. As such, it’s vital that you and your staff avoid any phrases or mannerisms that could potentially be offensive to international markets.
Review Customer Feedback and Complaints
Let’s face it: sooner or later, you will have to deal with irrational or unreasonable customers. While this is a less than uncommon occurrence, many international businesses can sniff out particular problems – whether it be in their products, services or customer service experience – by simply reviewing feedback left by customers.
In some cases, chat logs or recorded telephone calls with your CS department can shed light. In other cases, analyzing customer service feedback left directly on your website or on a review platform helps uncover the truth. Ultimately, if you see particular patterns or recurring complaints, you can then begin to address these weak-points and produce better results for customers.
Appreciate Your Customer Service
In many cases, using one or more call centers or comparable solutions to field international customer service enquiries creates stress on those responsible for it. Whether these individuals are contracted or in-house, ensuring their happiness in as many situations as possible can go a long way towards improving customer service outcomes in the aggregate.
Everything from better pay to longer breaks and more flexible service options when dealing with complaints can help improve day-to-day morale. This, in turn, ensures that your workers are better-equipped and more likely to work hard on behalf of both the company and each customer.
Improving the customer service experience – particularly for international businesses – is easier said than done. However, there are many ways to begin improving outcomes, and options for businesses to focus both on improving customers’ experiences and improving employees’ morale.