“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward toward the technology, not the other way around”
There’s tonnes of advice out there on how to prepare a company to scale internationally, with information on preparing investors and your brand, to get you fighting fit for global domination. And there’s no doubt you’ll be soaking up as much advice as possible. But have you thought about scaling your Customer Experience (CX), so it can travel with you? Whether you’re using a steady growth strategy, or planning a much steeper curve (as LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman terms as ‘Blitzscaling’), you’re going to need to get your CX model into proper shape to keep up with your ambitions.
Below are my 5 essential tips on how to scale your CX internationally, based on the experience we’ve gathered through helping partners, like Google and Airbnb, build their global markets.
01 Get integrated into the culture
This may sound obvious, but you need to know how you’re going to get your CX model properly integrated in your new market. Not just building teams with the right language skills, but understanding what you stand for and what that means to customers in your new markets. Your product and service offering may be brilliantly simple, whilst your new customers’ expectations might be a lot more challenging. Therefore, a detailed review of both your existing CX model and your new audience is needed to truly get under the skin of your new customers. You need to anticipate their needs before they’re aware of them. Use what you’ve learned, but get hold of people who can help you apply that to your new target customer. You may have a strong instinct about customers in your new launch market; but those instincts can quickly become assumptions without proper insight.
02 Build the right team
Surround yourself with people who have experience in scaling internationally, not just more experts in what you already do. Logically, your CX operations are going to grow exponentially. If you don’t plan, a random CX structure could be the undoing of your brand’s reputation. You can hire the experts (and burn the resource to find them) or you can work with a CX partner who’ll create bespoke operational models to get it done. Experts in scaling understand how to take what makes your customer experience special and migrate this into new markets. And if you’re planning to ‘Blitzscale’, you’ll need the partners to install the teams, the means and the operations… fast.
03 Defeat chaos with process
Your company has grown at breakneck speed from launch, you’ve built a powerful and loyal customer base and the future is looking very bright. While the journey to success may seem effortless to the outside world, internally it’s been chaotic. You’ve used the period of accelerated growth as an excuse to put off best practices and business processes. As fun as the chaos has been, you can’t expand by replicating it. Processes need to be established and standardized, so that everything which made you successful in your original market has the best chance of being repeated in new markets. Even at a steady growth rate, getting both ops and CX process right will save you burning valuable resource in firefighting chaos.
04 Use automation to focus your teams on higher value needs
Define what is transactional in your customer experience and what is adding value to the brand. Use automation in essential processes; be smart with automated email and use CX bot resource to host customers through routine experiences. This helps free-up valuable people for more critical CX engagement. You need to build trust amongst your new customers and you’ll stand a much better chance by making valuable customers feel loved. The technology is out there to help you focus people on the big things. If the plan is to grow fast, automation will give you and your teams the time to focus on making your CX better than your competition.
05 Use your new customer’s expectations, not yours
Your successes so far are worth congratulating. However, your new markets and new customers aren’t part of the applause, just yet. Even though you can ride some of the hype wave into new markets, you need to understand what your new customers expect from a leading customer experience and not rely on what’s happened before. Get the right people (partners) to give you the right insights into what customers will be looking for. Build your CX team, processes and policies to not only meet your new customers’ expectations, but beat them.
Whether you’re planning a steady growth curve or Blitzscaling, you’ll need to get your brand fighting fit by competing through a customer experience which creates advocates, and quickly, in your new market. Build the right team to uphold your values at every customer touch-point. Be honest about the chaos and get the processes in place to help your international expansion. Use automation to free up your CX teams to build love for the brand. And let your customers set their own expectations, so you can exceed them.
Customer experience is a relative expectation. What you might consider as beautiful customer service in your launch market might not even touch the sides in your new markets. You need to know what to expect and find the right people to tell you.
*If you would like to find out more about how to effectively scale your CX operations internationally, please contact us today and we will get in touch to talk all things CX. *