When delivering great customer experience on a global scale, organizations must be mindful of numerous factors, including local privacy concerns, how different cultures respond to specific service strategies, and regional regulations. 1to1 Media recently wrote an article on how to go about building a global service team. A summary of that article is below:
Delivering Consistent Global Service
If businesses were people, customer service would represent their personalities, for support interactions reflect the character of the company in question. Brands across industries recognize the criticality of superior customer service, yet many global companies still struggle with developing consistency throughout varying countries.
According to a recent Deloitte study, 40% of organizations worldwide have dedicated resources and capabilities to focus on customer experience in the contact center, while 62% view customer experience as a competitive differentiator. Thus, accuracy and quality of information (82%) and ease of interaction (73%) stand as the top priorities across global contact centers. However, developing strategies that span the globe and establishing successful service teams can become tricky as organizations work to balance culture and consistency.
Many organizations view their service delivery segments individually, country by country. However, this method doesn’t support the ideal consistent global service delivery model or customer experience, as this divided strategy cannot sustain the expansiveness of the average global enterprise. Contact centers, instead, must work to centralize the resources that support their global customer experience in order to remain nimble and aligned with the company’s global business initiatives.
For global contact centers, the best service delivery models are those that can adapt quickly to changing consumer expectations while accounting for regional differences. “Customers across the globe are speaking out and speaking loudly—they want a frictionless experience and they need to know that the companies that they do business with have their backs,” says Richard Bledsoe, executive vice president and head of International Global Markets & Industries, at TeleTech. “Companies need to respond and proactively stay ahead of these advanced customer demands.”
Companies must look to implement flexible technologies and adopt the right skills and processes necessary for their particular brands to manage and maintain this continually adaptive experience across multiple countries. By creating this solid infrastructure, contact centers can begin to establish an international understanding that enables them to address and solve issues adequately and respectfully.
Here are 2 characteristics that will help companies understand and react to unique, country specific consumer needs:
- Local Expertise: Companies that assign brand and customer experience ownership to an individual in each country of operation often find more success when it comes to addressing local consumer preferences. While establishing global standards for customer experience are important, it’s critical to also possess in-country responsibility for understanding the unique requirements of those consumers.
- Continual Testing: Successful organizations understand that consumers will inevitably prove that their initial service delivery designs are flawed, hence why it’s important to frequently modify the design to maintain and improve performance.
By implementing such strategies and tactics, global service teams can then begin to tackle the three greatest challenges facing their international operations: cultural understanding, privacy regulations, and localized communications.
The Culture Clash
Before any company can successfully conduct business in another country, their global service team must understand the cultural differences from country to country, for an acceptable practice in one may offend the customers of another. However, organizations cannot achieve such goals without immersing themselves in the behaviors of these constituents. To surmount this potential culture clash, brands should seek to hire employees who demonstrate a passion for communicating with people from different countries. These agents must possess the strong desire to learn more about these cultures, for they are more likely to embrace educational training exercises, thereby making them the types of representatives every company wants to see on the frontline. Such an eager perspective also ensures that these agents will share what they learn from each interaction with executives and their management team in order to educate the entire enterprise.
Privacy and Security
When working with global customers, security and privacy must be top of mind, for many countries have location-based regulations and restrictions for data hosting and email. Thus, companies must tailor their offerings to address these concerns, while also educating and preparing support staff should any issues arise. As Brent Rhymes, president of worldwide field operation at Zimbra, explains, employees across the organization must be well-versed in the laws and cultural preferences of their customers’ countries, particularly as they pertain to the business’s offerings and the reasons behind them.
Global companies, above all else, must do everything in their power to deliver customized, localized service responses by providing easy access to representatives who speak the given country or region’s native language. While adjusting for language differences between English-speaking countries takes significant effort, it’s important to recognize that a little more than 5% of the world speaks English. Not only does this figure highlight the magnitude of the challenge facing such global organizations, but it also shines light on the fact that companies must respect the global economy and step outside their comfort zone in order to build and maintain lucrative relationships.
While implementing localized policies and procedures are necessary on the front end, companies must also train agents in their native language to maintain consistency and ensure understanding. Many tend to assume that, because an agent’s multilingual, they should be trained in English, but this common misconception often leads to a breakdown in communication. Ultimately, all efforts must further the organization on its journey toward successful global service. Thus, clear communication holds the key to long-term loyalty and solid relationships.
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