Expansion Guide V: Customer Support and International Team Building

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Building customer trust and maintaining it is a challenge for any brand. Despite having a multitude of tools in your hands, direct interaction with customer service is still key. The simplicity, speed and professionalism with which we deal with your enquiries is the factor that determines whether a purchase will be made with you and whether the buyer will return to you again. We have to look all the more at the issue and the possible solutions if the sale is made abroad, where the decision-making processes for the purchase are subject to details relating mainly to communication, but no less to delivery, return of goods, or localization. Such customer service is your hands, eyes, and face. When to bet on human power and when to use the possibilities of artificial intelligence? What to watch out for, what are the possibilities and where is the online age taking us?

Consider the Most Important Factors

Developing an effective customer support management process depends on knowing the most important factors that serve as the solid pillars of your strategy. Based on these, you can build a quality service that will save you time and money and, we believe, deliver a positive customer experience. Which are they? 

1. Personalised Experience

A personal approach, empathy and willingness to solve small and complex problems. The customer needs to feel that they are unique, that their case deserves the most attention, that they are not being placed aside, and that the answers to their questions are not just a set of one-size-fits-all approaches. The most preferred method of communication is still contact with a real person, so you need to build a series of technical communication elements that will make your job easier, but won't prevent the customer from reaching the manpower.

Great customer service improves customer satisfaction by up to 32%, retention by up to 33% and revenue by up to 42%. A staggering 93% of customers buy from companies with excellent customer service. Customer support statistics show that loyal customers are five times more likely to make a repeat purchase and four times more likely to recommend your brand (https://cocoroco.com/blog/companies/customer-support-trends-2022/).

2. Trained Team of Specialists

The professionalism of the team you have goes hand-in-hand with the personal customer experience. The team must be trained, have a set of solutions at hand, should have clear information about products, processes and the brand itself. It is important to work with experienced specialists with an impeccable knowledge base, which you should convey to them.

3. Solution Speed and Service Availability

The ideal is to resolve the case immediately. If the situation does not allow, it is essential to keep the customer informed about the progress of the solution. The present day opens up a range of possibilities for us to communicate as quickly and efficiently as possible. We will look at the different alternatives and their implementation in the article below.

4. Localisation

The trend is clear – up to 56% of customers consider communication in their own language as a more important factor than the price of the product itself, and up to 42% of customers have never purchased in a foreign language. That's why we consider total localisation services, including translations, domestic bank accounts and phone numbers, to be a key step that has a direct impact on sales and customer experience.

The Communication Options are Probably Well Known to You

These are digital times, accompanied by new alternatives for communicating with our customers. Although face-to-face telephone communication is still at the forefront, chatbots (or classic chat) are a very effective means of facilitating communication for simpler issues. Email communication is a regular feature, which is more effective when dealing with more serious issues. We cannot fail to mention social networks, which facilitate "real-time" communication and are a necessity nowadays. Also worth considering is emerging artificial intelligence which, in an ideal scenario, will gradually replace manpower. Right now it offers sought-after self-service and quick solutions – from gathering general information and pre-populating fields to solving common customer issues (such as order tracking and password re-setting). Let's not forget the well-designed FAQs listed on your website, which significantly reduces the number of interactions.

Beware, however, of the possibilities of artificial intelligence and chatbots. The research clearly indicates the direction this option should take;

  • 46% of respondents said that robots prevented them from communicating with humans
  • 54% of respondents preferred a human even though a chatbot would save them 10 minutes
  • 86% of users say chatbots should always be able to contact a human

( https://cocoroco.com/blog/companies/customer-support-trends-2022/)

The implementation of each option is subject to a number of factors and it is not possible to determine clearly which will be the most optimal choice. The ideal is to use all options and give the customer a choice. You can cover a broad base without restrictions. It also depends on the type of product, the business, the country where you are already selling or planning to expand. However, the key is to remain active in communication at all times.

For example, did you also know that increasing positive customer experience across all channels is closely related to service availability? At Expandeco, we are already actively working in 14 European languages and with the basic availability to communicate with e-commerce customers between 8 am and 4 pm. 

Technological Foundation

Reconciling all the options is a more difficult step, but not unsolvable. There are a number of apps available: Zendesk, Freshdesk, Liveagent, Daktela, Cloudtalk.

We know the direct benefits they offer you:

  • ticketing: ascertains that not a single case is lost and that attention is paid to it
  • mailbox sharing: efficient task of sorting and assignment without staff constraints
  • prioritisation: sorting tasks by importance, complexity and timeframe
  • everything under one roof: the perfect overview across channels
  • reporting: accurately measured metrics for process optimisation
  • prediction options: workload, team efficiency, and development assumption
  • control system: status of requirements and various tasks

Without a good technological foundation you will make your work much more difficult; individual cases must have a clear classification and a clear system in which it is processed by the assigned person.

Another significant advantage of the above-mentioned applications is high-quality reporting, which is the basis for further progress not only of the team, but also of the business itself. Tracking metrics will help you in many ways to direct your activities to optimize and streamline your work.

Daktela itself also offers the option to monitor satisfaction - customers are able to rate the service and their experience following interaction. So clients can easily detect any discrepancies.

So How About Customer Support?

Let's take a look at the two basic options open to you in this case. You can easily outsource the service and entrust yourself to the experts – saving you the time and effort required by a team abroad, as well as the finances. However, setting up a local customer service team can also be a good option if you have the resources and channels to do so.

Put Yourself in the Hands of Experienced Scouts

There is a turnkey service that will make you skip all of the above points. Customer support providers for online shops, like Expandeco, will make the whole process easier for you. How does it work?

Every collaboration starts with the choice of customer support languages and the related scope of services. We then analyse the needs of the online shop and propose the most suitable cooperation procedure in 4 basic steps:

  1. Together, we undergo intensive initial training.
  2. The technical interconnection of all related systems and the start of our building practical knowledge as your new reliable colleague.
  3. Already after the first month of operation, we serve more than 90% of the tickets independently.
  4. A successful start-up with full support and minimal need for your involvement.

The "Customer Support" service is fully centralised; we connect your chosen communication channels to our innovative CRM, where you will find a consistent record and overview not only of expenses, but also of cases and activities carried out. Your main advantage will be cost optimisation, centralisation of the service, customer and client satisfaction and a fully responsible team that will be managed without the need for your intervention. 

"Novesta has been using Expandeco's services for almost 3 years. We currently serve the entire European market with the help of Expandeco. We rate the cooperation so far as absolutely hassle-free. We particularly appreciate Expandeco's pro-client approach, which is especially positively evaluated by the customers of our online shop.” -  Gabriela Boboková, Novesta

Building a Team In-House – What to Look Out For?

If you decide to build local teams, there are a few important points to keep in mind that you will need to implement if you want to achieve a high level of service.

  • providing a local phone number (ideally also a bank account) to increase the credibility of the online shop
  • quality control of customer support in a foreign language – we recommend having a local team leader who is responsible for the operation and results of the department
  • variable team workload depending on the season, fluctuation of the workforce, recruitment
  • monitoring and evaluating market feedback
  • suitable technical facilities depending on local possibilities

Physically distant teams face many challenges in the form of different time zones, challenges in the use of technology and tools, language barriers or national differences. In order to effectively manage an international "cross-border" project, it is therefore important to pay special attention to each team across borders.

In addition to the more technical parameters, do not forget about the difference in cultures. Working with a diverse team has many benefits including different thinking styles and problem solving skills, an international team can open up new perspectives, diversity can become your advantage.


The Best Customer Service is the One That Customers Don't Need, But...

It is probably clear that we have outlined the optimisation issue. In fact, up to 65% of e-commerce interactions revolve around the same set of questions. So it is advisable to analyse them, not leaving out any of the channels, and ideally incorporate them into FAQs, create quality descriptions on the online shop, whether they are related to products, processes, delivery or returns. This eliminates the number of emails, phone calls and messages.

It is advisable to use automated emails, especially for delivery and returns, where the processes are clear and unchanging to a high degree – the fact that the customer does not know where their goods are raises questions and doubts. We want to avoid this.

IVR, Interactive Voice Response, is also suitable. This is a technology that allows people to communicate with a computer-controlled telephone system using voice tones entered while using a keyboard.

We also recommend training your team to be able to transform into a "sales" role and help the business overall, because no one is closer to the customer than the person on the other side of the line. If you've managed to eliminate customer service inquiries, you can use that time for value-added activities.

Summing Up

In this article, we've looked at the four most important factors on which you should base your management of the process. Based on these, it is necessary to choose the technical options available, ideally within the broadest possible framework. Then consider outsourcing customer service options that will make your move into other markets much easier. Building a local team may also be a suitable alternative, but it is subject to many contingencies and involves a number of procedural tasks in relatively new and unfamiliar markets. Don't forget the important tracking of metrics that will open the door to solutions and process optimisation.

However you decide, the most important element is still the end customer and their satisfaction. Check if this is really the case. 

Download our clear checklist and have everything important at your fingertips on one A4.

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