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How to take your customer experience international (for the first time)

Expanding your brand to new, international markets can seem like a daunting endeavor, especially when you start to think about the expectations placed on your customer care team.

There are different languages, time zones and customer priorities to consider, on top of sometimes significant cultural differences. All of these factors add challenges to an already intense product launch process.

Brands looking to go international for the first time can find comfort and confidence in partnership. Customer experience (CX) outsourcing may be the best way to manage these common (yet complex) challenges. By bringing on a trusted partner with a global presence and expertise in delivering top-tier customer service, your new customers can feel confident in your ability to give them the kind of support they expect. This is a key way to help your company earn customer confidence and early business in new markets while giving you a foothold to further expansion.

Benefits of global outsourcing

Upon entering international markets, if your business finds itself sacrificing operations, product development or future planning so that you can keep on top of customer service, a proficient CX partner can get you back on the right track. This will help your customers get the support they seek, and keep you focused on other aspects of the business.

Working with a customer care partner can also accelerate your ability to deliver consistent, culturally appropriate customer experiences as you scale — something that can be hard to achieve when starting up in a new country. An outsourcing partnership can establish business continuity in a time of growth and uncertainty. It also can give you broader geographical reach and access to local resources while helping you overcome skill and labor gaps at home.

Additionally, working with a global customer experience provider offers you additional support as you navigate unfamiliar regulatory and compliance obligations in new-to-you areas. A partner who has "been there, done that" when it comes to handling these intricacies can be a real asset.

A partnership can even help you to improve your time-to-market on future products and services. For example, a solid customer experience team can help you scale quickly and as needed according to your product development cycle, allowing you to capture revenue potential in a new market quickly, efficiently and with solid results.

Why businesses outsource customer experience

A recent IDC Info Snapshot, sponsored by TELUS International, honed in on the subject of why businesses form partnerships for CX strategy and delivery. The research revealed what both buyers and potential buyers of customer experience services prioritize as essential capabilities. The top responses were:

  • Data strategy and master data management (48% );
  • Customer experience benchmarking and best practices (47%); and
  • Target operating model design (31%).

Businesses choose outsourcing to meet the kinds of challenges that come with growth, particularly when entering or furthering their reach in new markets. In common among these top survey results is a theme of being strategic and sustainable. Rather than jumping into a complex matter like international outsourcing, businesses are keen to take a considered approach, and for that, the experience of an established partner can help.

Things like workforce dynamics, growth strategy implementation and operational efficiencies all pose certain challenges to companies that opt to keep customer service completely in-house, when the house itself is expanding. Working with a reputable outside partner with a firm handle on your international market can greatly assist in addressing the kinds of business risks that can stall growth.

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Why fast-growing brands need an experienced CX service provider to scale operations

Discover the advantages of partnering with an experienced CX service provider to scale your operations in this IDC Info Snapshot.

Addressing specific challenges through customer experience outsourcing

When moving into a new international market, teaming up with a global customer experience partner can simplify some of the following challenges:

Different languages - It's worth noting that 76% of online shoppers report they prefer to buy products that offer information in their native language, according to a 29-country survey by CSA Research. In fact, 40% of respondents said they would never buy from a website in another language. But the need to accommodate the languages common to your new markets isn't all about eCommerce. Customers and potential customers will invariably seek support, and for that, they're looking for the empathic help of an agent who speaks their language and understands the context. Critical to expansion success is an outsourcing partner that helps to guide customers through the customer experience in their native tongue.

Different time zones - Expanding to new locations means you need to put all your customers on an equal footing in terms of service, no matter where they live or where your teams are based. People expect customer service during their own business hours, not those of a company based halfway around the world. This is made easier by hiring teams in your new markets.

Localization - Localization means modifying your digital customer experience to work well within the customs, language and social construction of a specific culture and location. It can take into account regional sayings and even humor, and norms such as religious traditions, to make sure your messages and their meanings work well in the local context.

That said, successful international CX goes way beyond just language; it also incorporates the cultural context throughout the experience. The truth is, failing to localize can significantly impact your efforts in a new market.

Planning for disaster recovery - In today's volatile world, unexpected events can happen any place and at any time. With a customer experience partner, brands can take confidence in knowing there are backup plans in place for your international location. That means you can count on a minimized and controlled impact, in the event of an emergency.

Choosing the right customer experience outsourcing partner

Having a good customer experience partner doesn't detract from or dilute your company's culture. Instead, it enhances what you offer to your customers and lets you provide better service and customer experience.

At TELUS International, our Culture Value Chain (CVC) is the foundation of everything we deliver, including proof of our ability to replicate, sustain and even enhance your brand in an outsourced model.

Please speak with a TELUS International expert to learn more about our CX outsourcing.

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