Serving Your Global Customers Well

“If your customers are made to feel as if they are outsiders, they will eventually find a competitor who makes them feel better about doing business with them.” – Shep Hyken

The quote is very relevant especially for a company’s global customers. When a company’s main office is located elsewhere and the customers are scattered across the globe, it is very possible that service drops somewhere along the way. It is highly recommended that companies treat their relationship with global customers to be as valued as local customers, who could be larger in number. Gaining customers is not an easy task and it sure would be tougher to attract global customers and when a company does succeed in getting them, they must remember to work consistently at the relationship. In fact, we would say that global customers require even more and focused attention since there is the ‘disadvantage’ of distance and they could feel left out and ignored. It would make good business sense to formulate separate strategies and processes to service global customers and put in place value-added benefits and services in order to make them feel special and attract repeat business and even recommendations about your company to their associates.

The principle of caring for your global customers and making them feel valued and important is almost the same as developing great relationships with local customers and those in closer proximity. A company that is customer-centric and has strategies that revolve around its customers would find it much easier to serve even their global customers. They would be able to make their global customers their top most priority. They would display their commitment by providing top class customer service, enhanced product quality, have dedicated teams to manage their global customers and put together other such strategies that would provide a feeling of inclusion.

Since it is not always possible to meet global customers face to face, companies need to work harder to ensure that there is a continuous ‘connection’ with them. Investing in latest technology that allows virtual face to face interactions are indispensable to building and sustaining great relationships with global customers. It is also imperative that these customers know that the company appreciates their business and wishing them on their important occasions, festivals and achievements or simply reaching out to express gratitude for their business. Whatever the manner a company decides to reach out, it is crucial that they consistently remain connected with their global customers.

Given the distance, global customers need to be continually assured that the company will deliver on its promises. This is made possible by providing on time service, fast delivery, appropriate pricing and use every possible means to meet and exceed their expectations. Just one instance of being let down could trigger off distrust and soon the relationship would weaken and eventually break. Every effort must be made by the company to ensure that whatever they have committed is delivered to the global customers and if possible go over and above those promises. It is vital that these customers see you as dependable and trustworthy, especially since there could be major differences of culture, language, beliefs and other such ‘dividers’.

A company’s reputation is built and strengthened by what they do for their customers, who in turn will speak about these services – both good and bad. In order to attract and retain customers in such a fiercely competitive business scenario, it is vital that companies focus on providing stellar service and great quality products with the best pricing. Global customers must be able to perceive the company’s commitment to a long term relationship and during which the company would make every effort to exceed their expectations. They must be delighted each time there is an interaction and at every touch point.

We have discussed several times that the best way to make customers feel valued is to solicit their feedback and involve them in some key decisions. Global customers would have a better sense of what would work in their markets and hence seeking their advice and knowledge on various aspects of the products and customer service, will lend a sense of inclusion and being in the ‘driver’s seat’. It delights customers to see that their suggestions and feedback are incorporated in the company’s strategies and over time are more amenable to providing their inputs, which in turn drives them to loyalty and being more profitable for the company.

Global customers, just like other customers, employees, other stakeholders, must be treated as valued partners – simply because they are. Helping them with projects, events, launches in your home country, conducting CSR projects together and other such activities with your global customers will ensure that they see your company as a partner they can go to and trust beyond just the business relationship. Such activities serve to strengthen the bonds between companies and their global customers and working together becomes a matter of choice rather than only a business need. The more such partners a company has, the better chance it has at succeeding and remaining profitable.

Global customers are often not fully aware of the conditions of their business partner company and in order to put them at ease it would be the onus of the company to provide them with information. This information would be beyond the scope of business and would be more to help them in their personal realm and also just to add to their knowledge of the country that their business company is operating in. It is interesting for your global customers to learn and understand topics that cover the different cultures, beliefs, religions and other such subjects.

Your global customers would see you also as a point of contact in a country other than their own and could need services and products in addition to what you provide. Arranging for meetings and introductions with companies that could provide for their needs is a great way to sustain the interest and trust of your global customers. They would trust your recommendations and would be more than happy to do the same for you in their country of work. This kind of sharing and give and take, builds a sense of belonging and affiliation which are indispensable to any business relationship.

By building a network and close bonding with your global customers, a company is able to create a solid foundation for itself in countries outside of their own. In the current competitive scenario, it is crucial for companies to have a global outlook and it is not difficult to reach out given the many and easily accessible channels of communication at everyone’s disposal. Supporting the global customers and other customers in every way possible will ensure that they open up more business and doors to other avenues of business opportunities. With the customer’s support, companies can hope to gain a lot more than they would just through their own efforts.

The basic premise of customer service is to increase the customer’s trust and reduce the amount of effort they need to exert to do business with a company. Global customers also deal with the same issues but in addition also have to deal with ‘remote and virtual’ interactions given the consideration of distance. Every interaction and action of customer service must serve as a benchmark and the next must be an improvement on the first – a great strategy to make and retain global customers, thereby ‘shrinking the global world of business’, for your advantage and benefit.

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