Clients want to work with businesses that will not only provide value for money, but that will provide their help and support them every step of the way.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to help international clients when you’re not in the same country. However, it is possible to improve satisfaction and retain their loyalty. Find out how to build strong relationships with overseas clients below.
Make Time for a Face-to-Face Meeting
While it might be possible to form relationships via video conferencing, it can be a bit of a formal process, andit might prevent you from building a strong rapport with an important client. If you want to maintain their loyalty, and it is cost-effective to do so, consider meeting an international client face-to-face.
Not only will it help you to strengthen a growing relationship, but going out of your way to meet with them will make a client feel valued. Once you arrive at a meeting, try to develop a personal connection, so they will never feel tempted to turn to your competitors.
Monitor Your Language
Even if an international client speaks English as their first language, you may need to adjust how you talk or write to them. For example, if you are working with aUK client, you’d need to write “colour” instead of “color.”
You will also need to monitor any native sayings or colloquialisms, which might leave them scratching their heads. It’s also important to remember that certain words will have different meanings in another country, which could potentially cause great offense.
Be Sensitive to Time Zones
While it might be 12 pmin your country, it could be 7 pmfor your international client. Familiarize yourself with your clients’ different time zones, and even make a note of them to review, so you can avoid bothering them during dinner or waking them up in the middle of the night.
Itmight mean phoning an overseas client outside of your working hours or arriving at the office early to take their call. However, they’ll appreciate the effort you have made to speak with them, which could help to secure their future custom.
Simplify the Contract Process
Different time zones and a lack of face-to-face meetings could convince a client to consider a more local business. Give them a reason to stay with your company by proving you are a fast, efficient business with great attention to detail.
For example, you should aim to immediately prove you’re the best brand for them by simplifying the contract process. It will speed up the sales cycle, which can help your business enjoy a greater profit marginwhile allowing your client to focus on other aspects oftheir business once they’ve signed the paperwork. You could even attempt to present them with a new contract following a face-to-face meeting. Prove you’re a reliable, professional brand and learn moreabout a contract lifecycle management program.
Familiarize Yourself with Their Local Holidays
There might be times when an international client will shut their business down for a local holiday. For example, a client or contractor in China will not work during Chinese New Year, which lasts between five to six days.
Also, you should only send them a holiday greeting if you understand the context and nuances ofa holiday. If you don’t, it could result in you making a big mistake that might be hard to recover from. If in doubt, avoid commenting on it altogether.
Alter Promotions to Your Clients’ Seasons
If you want to run a mass campaign to secure an existing international customer or attract a new one, you must learn about the different seasons in different countries. For example, while it might be summer for you, it could be winter in Australia. Avoid creating mass advertisements using the words “summer” or any seasonal language, as it might not resonate with an overseas market.
Be Honest and Transparent
You cannot put a price on honesty and transparency in business. The last thing a client will want is to be lied to by a supplier or partner. While they might be thousands of miles away, they might still realize when a company is attempting to deceive them. Once you betray their trust, there will be no going back.
For this reason, you must be honest and transparent with an overseas client at all timesand deal with any potential conflict in an open manner. Tell them when something isn’t working, or if you’re having trouble with a product, service, or delivery to their destination. Clients will place great value ona business that is willing to present them with the truth, so it is more likely you will strengthen a professional relationship than destroy it.