International consumers can be quite the challenge for customer care centers. Outside of the predictable language barriers, different cultures may expect unique standards of service. Companies must carefully examine the needs and preferences of each consumer group to prepare care agents with the information and best practices required to satisfy a global audience.
Businesses should be ever vigilant for changes in the customer support expectations of each culture they service. Developing trends and new technology provide customers with brand new methods for communication, and organizations must recognize when there is a shift in the performance of large consumer groups.
As more countries turn to social media channels to interact with brands, businesses must be just as willing as customers to embrace social platforms for consumer communications.
A global social media audience
When companies grow, they need to invest in new solutions for old activities. An increased consumer audience calls for more support channels in general. If an organization offers its products or services to global consumers it seems it is increasingly likely to come across an audience that demands social media support.
A few years ago, market analyst Ovum conducted a survey of consumer social media use in different countries, according to CRM Magazine. The researchers were surprised to find customers in developing regions were much more likely to use social media channels to contact businesses than Europe and the U.S. were. Also, the Ovum report discovered 32 percent of respondents in Brazil, China, India and Russia had used social media support platforms, compared to only 10 percent of survey participants in France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.
“A growing number of consumers seek businesses that supply social media options for support.”
NewsGram, an Indian news source, reported this older study goes along with a recent American Express customer service research paper that found the use of social media for customer communication with brands in India has flourished in recent years. According to the new report, over 70 percent of Indians used social media for customer service at least once between 2014 and 2015. This is more than twice as many as indicated in the previous report.
Reactive and proactive solutions
One thing to keep in mind is both the Ovum and the American Express surveys were conducted online. Internet polling is much more likely to attract tech savvy consumers. They both still indicate a growing number of consumers who seek businesses that supply social media options for support.
Companies can use similar polling methods to gain insight into customer behavior. An organization that searches for a social media solution should find a software system able to monitor reputation statistics on public sites. Clickz said many Chinese companies track audience performance on social sites to learn about brand preferences, measure the success of product launches and respond to questions and complaints before public opinion spirals downward. Asian countries use unique social media sites like Weibo and Qzone. Several organizations use these platforms to promote their brand and encourage feedback.
Customers may either speak to a company directly on social media or talk about a brand to their contacts. Forty-seven percent of the respondents to the American Express survey said they use social platforms to seek a response from businesses, and 56 percent said they used them to share the details about the customer experience they received from an organization. A company social media center needs software tools to look out for communications and supervise platforms for brand mentions.
Going where your consumers go
It’s important companies stay abreast of their consumers’ preferences. When geographical or cultural obstacles separate organizations from key customer groups, digital solutions can bridge the gap. By being aware of what channels consumers prefer to use, and then utilizing those platforms to collect data on activities and needs, a business can be ready to meet demands and anticipate expectations.