In this article we’ll look at why customer service must remain a key priority for any businesses looking to expand abroad, plus some of the ways technology can help you broaden your customer touchpoints, grow your sales, and deliver great after-sales support.
Entering new international markets can be an exciting time. But to succeed, you’ll need to ensure you’re delivering world-class customer service to all your shoppers, in every moment that matters.
Failing to do so will seriously impact your ability to grow brand awareness and drive consumer engagement. In fact, 60% of global consumers have stopped using a brand due to just one poor customer service experience.1
Remember too that while happy customers make the best sales people, the reverse is also true. 87% of customers share good experiences with others, compared to 95% of customers who share bad experiences.2
How new technology can help
Over the years, technology has widened the number and range of interactions consumers have with brands – and so the opportunities to keep customers happy, and address problems as and when they occur, have also increased.
And it seems consumers want technology to play an even greater role in things. When asked how they would improve their interactions with brands, 60% said they would expect easier access to web support channels, such as social media, communities, and live chats.3
To live up to these expectations, you’ll need to ensure technology sits at the heart of your customer service proposition. Here are four ways you can use technology to anticipate the desires of your shoppers, and meet the needs of a more informed and demanding customer base.4
1. Offer more ways for people to reach you
Just providing a telephone support number is no longer enough. Today’s consumers want easier and more convenient ways to make contact. Ensure your customers can also reach you by email, online chat, and social media – and monitor each channel to ensure you reply quickly and consistently.
2. Provide reliable self-help systems
Over 90% of customers5 expect brands to offer some kind of self-help platform – such as YouTube videos or FAQs. Bear in mind though, customers who have used a self-service portal for service, cited “too little information” as the key cause of a disappointing experience.6
3. Be on-call, on mobile
When customers have a complaint or question, they instinctively reach for their mobiles to access the support offered by your website, online chat or social media. Make sure you have systems in place that are optimised to help: 60% of customers say they have a more favorable view of a brand if their self-service offering is mobile responsive7.
4. Help customers faster
Customers will have no problem calling you up to ask for support, but they won’t like being kept waiting. More than half of consumers in Brazil, Japan and the UK say one to five minutes is the longest time they’ll wait on the phone. And when it comes to social media, over half of global customers say they expect a response to any questions to be addressed within 24 hours8.
The more things change, the more they stay the same
Technology has fundamentally changed the way brands design and deliver their customer service. Yet, in many respects, consumers’ expectations still hark back to the same principles as before: they want a great product; solid before- and after-sales service; and peace of mind before handing over their cash.
No matter how big your business is, or what you offer, technology empowers you to meet these needs in new and better ways.
You will face countless decisions on your journey to delivering world-class customer service – especially in markets other than your own. One tool you might find useful is Market Finder.
It has free guides on how to manage your customer care when expanding abroad, and by answering a few quick questions you’ll also find out how prepared you are, and which resources can help you most.