Customers can make or break a business. And any business paying more attention to only making money instead of improving customer experience will find it hard to retain customers. Customer experience becomes even more important when you’re an international business working with customers and clients spread across the globe.
Here we discuss the importance of customer experience and creating a global CX strategy for your business’ global customer support system.
What is Customer Experience (CX) Strategy? And Why Do You Need One Globally?
Customer experience (CX) covers almost every aspect of a business’ offering such as product features and services, customer care and support, product marketing, packaging and shipping, reliability, and more.
Another way to think of CX is the experience and interaction a customer goes through when connecting with your company; whether they are researching for a new product or making a purchase or getting support.
A good customer experience means that customers were satisfied with your business or product. And these satisfied customers are likely to remain loyal to your brand and also recommend it to others. A bad experience will lead to fallouts, cancellations, returns, and ultimately lower sales.
Therefore, developing a strong customer experience strategy can prove crucial to the success of your international business.
What is the Goal of Customer Experience?
Before you start to create a CX strategy for global customer support, you need to determine what the goals are for your particular business. In other words, what CX objectives do you want to accomplish? A customer experience strategy can help you achieve core business and customer experience goals when executed well. Here are some CX goals to consider:
A) Business goals may include:
- Customer retention
- Customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Product purchases
- Product development
- Number of bad customer reviews
- Churn rate and turnover
- Number of products
- Number of dissatisfied customers
B) CX goals may include:
- Including new features and tools
- Collaborating with other companies that customers use regularly (think: integrations)
- Giving customers self-service options
- Improving responsiveness and reliability
- Preparing for different buyer personas and profiles (remember: not all customers have the same views, and even customers with similar demographics may not have the same experience)
This being said, the main role of a global CX strategy is to get global customers and improve your business’ international presence.
The ROI of Global Customer Support
But is spending time making customer experience for your global customers worth it? Here are some key benefits for providing global customer support and improving global CX:
- Access to a wider, diversified audience and market
- Increase revenue and coverage
- Improve global customer retention
- Improve company’s international reputation
- Access to greater talent
- Gain a competitive edge
While doing business internationally may come with new costs and experiences, there is great value in reaching a wider audience and providing support to your customers wherever they are.
Learn more about growing your business globally in our guide to global expansion.
Is Customer Experience and Customer Support the Same?
The short answer: yes and no. Customer support, more appropriately, is a part of a business’ customer experience strategy. In a CX strategy, you aspire to make every process of the customer’s interaction with your brand easy and valuable.
This starts with marketing, where your customers first see your brand. This can be via different digital marketing channels or offline marketing strategies.
Next, you focus on other touchpoints such as signing up for a newsletter, downloading a PDF, reading online content, signing up for a demo, chatting with a chatbot, navigating the website, booking a demo, and so on.
Finally, focus on the process of making a purchase, onboarding, customer service and assistance, tech support, and so on.
It is important to note that CX does not end at the customer making a purchase. You will want to retain that customer by continuing to provide value via new features, reward programs, and responsive customer support. Customers who continue to have a good experience with your brand will promote it and become advocates for it.
Building a CX Strategy for Global Customer Support: 11 Best Practices
When developing a customer experience strategy for global customer support, you need to also consider ways and tools that can help your global teams work well together to ensure your customers experience the same quality of service no matter where they are located. Here we list 11 global CX strategies that will help your business improve CX for global customers.
1. Set Clear Goals and Objectives
First, you and your teams need to have clear goals and objectives that everyone will work to achieve. What aspects of the customer experience do you want to improve? How can each team contribute to this improvement? What steps do these teams need to take to achieve this goal? These are questions to consider when setting objectives. The more clear and specific you get with these goals, the better your team will perform.
2. Adopt a Customer-First Approach
A customer-first strategy is an approach that focuses entirely on the customer and improving CX. Such an approach looks at different ways your business or products can help your customers succeed and live better lives. And to adopt a customer-first approach, you need to work closely with your customers. What do their day-to-day lives look like? What issues do your customers face? Which problems are they trying to solve? And so on.
Learn how to put your customers first in our post about building a customer-first strategy.
3. Take Time to Understand Your Customers and the Market
To understand how to improve customer experience, you need to understand your customers. Who they are, what they need, and how to solve their problems with your solution. And to understand this, you will need to conduct market research.
VoC is a part of a customer-first approach because it makes your business and employees take time to listen to the customer and the market you are trying to sell in. VoC collects customer feedback about a business and its products. This research is then used to inform product and service development.
Market research is the process of researching, studying, and collecting information about potential prospects and current customers. Usually conducted by the sales and marketing teams, market research provides insights into how a product is performing in a new or existing market. Marketing teams may even use this research to update their buyer personas and customer profiles, and to understand the customer journey.
4. Work with Local Recruiters and Hire Locally
Part of running global customer support means being available for your customers in a time and language that they prefer. This means providing local customer support for each location. Experts recommend working with local recruiters and hiring local talent.
Local agents and employees can more effectively communicate with international customers. They’re able to provide cultural context and familiarity which makes callers comfortable. And it bridges the distance between your business and your global customers.
5. Improve Responsiveness and Reliability
This goes without saying but your global customer support team needs to be reachable and quick to resolve issues. Irrespective of the type of business you run, customers experiencing an issue will want answers and resolutions quickly. They need to know that your business is dependable, especially if it is not located in their own country. This means your business should:
Cloud-based phone numbers use international call forwarding to route calls from one location to another. This way, you can get international toll free numbers or local phone numbers for multiple countries around the world. Callers from these countries can then call your international business for free or local calling rates, instead of high long-distance rates. And you can route those calls to your global customer support teams spread in different regions and time zones.
By managing your international calls this way, you are providing support without regard for geographic locations and time zones. This is called a Follow the Sun support model. Such a model enables your business to offer 24/7 customer support by routing calls to available agents in different countries. And global customers can get their support in a language and time that works best for them.
Such a model also improves your business’ ability to be responsive and reachable. And that, in turn, makes your global business more reliable.
6. Consider Multilingual Support Tools
In an effort to improve your business’ reliability and accessibility, you want to offer global support in multiple languages. And while most teams may not have the means or budget to hire multilingual employees, there are some tools you can use to translate chat messages and conversations to bypass language barriers.
Tools like Unbabel and Lokalise can translate messages reliably and in real-time. What’s better? They can be integrated into your existing chat or CRM systems such as Intercom, Salesforce, and so on. Use these to reach more customers and improve their interactions with your business.
7. Train Your Staff Well
One key point to offering excellent global customer service is to maintain consistency across all channels and regions. To do this, you need to train your employees consistently throughout all regions and locations. Create a rigorous cross-cultural training program and ensure managers stick to it when training new employees. Conduct regular performance reviews for each support team to see how every region is performing.
8. Ensure Smooth Handoffs Between Regions
You don’t want a customer to have to call back or wait because the agent does not have the right information. Time spent searching through information or making up for lost information can lead to dissatisfied customers. Agents should be able to get the most recent and updated information quickly.
To maintain consistency and reduce interruptions, invest in the right technology and software that ensures smooth handoffs between regions. Consider project management tools, content management systems, and CRMs. You may even consider phone system automation tools that make it easy to update and share information via the cloud.
9. Optimize for Local and International SEO
Building a CX strategy means improving engagement on all touchpoints within the customer journey. You need to map out the journey and look for ways to make it easy for your global customers to find your brand and interact with it comfortably.
This means optimizing your website for local and international SEO. A local SEO strategy means improving your business’ ranking in search results. By doing this, you can increase organic traffic from customers in your location.
International SEO, on the other hand, works similarly to geotargeting where you deliver different content and ads for different locations. Use international SEO to optimize your website for different countries and languages to attract organic international traffic.
You can learn more about local and international SEO from SEO guides published on HubSpot, Moz, Semrush, Search Engine Journal, and more.
10. Provide Self-Service Solutions
Make it easy for customers to get support and help resolve their questions or issues by offering self-service solutions. This could be in the form of:
- FAQ sheets
- Knowledge Base or online support center with how-to and troubleshooting guides
- Help articles and content available online and in-app
- Ticketing system that automates issues and resolutions
This way, customers can go in and resolve issues quickly, especially with simple tasks. For more complex ones, they can reach out to your global customer support teams.
11. Review and Set Milestones to Match Your Objectives
No strategy is perfect. And as your business grows, your goals and objectives might change. You will need to update your current strategy, identify strengths and weaknesses, and make changes. Review goals, measure and track key metrics, set new milestones, and continue moving forward.
Customers Drive Your Business — Make CX a Priority
It is evident when a business is not paying attention to its customers and their experience. Customers will leave and find another business that takes the time to prepare valuable experiences for them. Don’t fall behind. Don’t underestimate loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing. Give your customers a reason to become advocates for your products and services.
Start building your global CX strategy now because, at the end of the day, your global customers will help your business grow and become more successful worldwide.