International companies must build trust with their U.S. customers before they can become hugely successful. That can be daunting, especially for a startup or small business located in a place like Asia or elsewhere in Europe or South America.
Follow these three tips and you will be well on your way to keep your U.S. customers delighted.
- Clear communications
- Local support
- Track record
For building trust, the key barrier to overcome is clarity of communications with your target audience. Obviously, the distance, the language, cultural differences, and the foreign accent can come in the way of understanding, and can even cause misunderstanding. Because geographic separation precludes frequent face-to-face, in person meetings, you will need to become adept at virtual meetings.
When you schedule meetings, get agreement on the agenda and share documents for review ahead of time. Make sure that the “gives” and “gets” are clear for both parties and the commitments are understood. After virtual meetings, keep in touch using regular updates on email or chat, “check-ins”, and conversations on the phone.
Customers want instant connection with you via chat or phone call. You may not have the resources to provide in-country support but you can get a local US phone number that your customers can call if they have a question. Simply get iPlum app for your customer service personnel and add a US phone number as a second number on their phones. Then your US customers can always reach you like a local call, and your employees can call them right back.
The key here is to manage your processes and overseas resources in such a way that your US customer does not feel the separation. Your service agents will need to be trained to speak English well enough so your US customers can understand them. The downfall of many service organizations is the undue reliance on scripts to such an extent that customers get frustrated by “canned” responses that are not helpful.
In order to build your brand reputation, you’ll need to establish a track record of timely delivery of high quality products and services. Quality means meeting customer expectations all of the time. This can be achieved only by setting the right expectations and making sure that the promise of your brand and the value that you deliver are understood and appreciated by your target customers.
The good news for international small and medium sized businesses is that the days of only large multi-national companies having the inside track on U.S. customers are long gone. Now you can reach them too. With the right communications tools like iPlum for your employees, you can differentiate and build trust with customers, investors and partners, and achieve success.