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Holborn Assets is an international financial services provider. They work with 15,000 clients across six offices worldwide. Additionally, their services include international customer service.
Holborn executives manage accounts in territories that including the UK, Europe, the US and the UAE. Moreover, they support a massive range of global clients with a wide range of needs.
But wherever the office, their approach and commitment to providing first-class international customer service is the same.
Here, the head of client relations for Holborn Assets, Peter Wilson, explains their international customer service strategy. He maintains that a strong, unifying customer service strategy has been key to Holborn’s success.
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Wilson reveals here his golden rules of international customer service strategy.
The Golden Rules of International Customer Service
It’s the oldest business rule in the book: Customer satisfaction is central to any successful venture.
And for those of us working in the financial services sector, trust and consistency are an essential part of our core branding. Therefore, getting trust and consistency right is especially important.
In our own business we face an additional challenge. This challenge is one that many larger organizations also face. That is, we support customers in a variety of territories. Nevertheless, we maintain a consistent brand identity worldwide.
But how do you make sure that a client in Kuala Lumpur registers the same level of satisfaction as a client in the UAE? And is it really possible to promote the same standards of international customer service in markets that on the surface may have very little in common?
As it turns out, it is possible. What’s more, we’ve come up with some easy-to-follow international customer service strategy guidelines to help you find your way.
Craft Your International Customer Service Mission Statement
You expect your logo and branding to be the same whichever office you’re in. Your international customer service should come as standard, too.
Being clear about what you expect from colleagues and your organization as a whole is an important first step. Decide what success looks like for you. Then, write that down.
Define clearly the basic level of international customer service you expect from your colleagues. Articulate your customer service goals.
Put your answers in writing to craft your mission statement. When you can see it in black and white you’ll gain clarity about exactly where your company stands in terms of international customer service.
Your mission statement can clearly set out the terms and standards you expect team members to uphold. Be sure to write it in such a way that employees in different offices can understand it. You’ll want them to buy into it and bring it to life.
Think Long Term
We have a three-year international customer service strategy. That’s because we’ve learned that setting long-term goals allows you to develop a strategy that is genuinely robust.
In today’s busy business landscape it isn’t easy to stand out from the crowd. However, if you want to succeed, it is important.
A good long-term international customer service strategy won’t just help you to retain clients. It can also become the way you differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Get to know your clients. Note in your customer relationship management system (your CRM) how they like to be dealt with. This will ensure continuity of service if an employee changes positions within the company.
Are You Listening?
Respond to client feedback. Further, use your experiences with clients to inform future working. This requires active listening. In other words, find ways to gather and use feedback on your products and services. Then learn to be agile enough to absorb this feedback into your long-term plans.
Acquire Local Knowledge
Establishing an international customer service protocol doesn’t mean ignoring local culture. On the contrary, it means observing and using the most important elements. What’s more, you must make local culture part of your wider strategy.
Always be respectful of clients’ local business culture. Further, note their personal expectations as well.
Invest in Training
Once you have set your international customer service goals, it’s important to have a clear road map for achieving those goals.
This might require additional investment in training and recruitment. You’ll want to ensure that all staff are meeting the required standard. Further, make sure they get regular updates. You’ll want them to stay ahead of any relevant industry, legal, and regulatory changes.
Have Coffee with the Team
Whether you’re working with a team in Hong Kong or one in Manchester, senior staff need to know how their teams are performing.
Of course, sitting down for a face-to-face meeting isn’t always possible. However, whenever it is possible, make the most of the opportunity. In this way, you will ensure that your teams are using brand guidelines effectively. You will also be able to follow up and brainstorm new ideas.
Checking back on progress, meeting new recruits, and ironing out any concerns are all much easier to do in person.