It’s every retailer’s mission to grow beyond its initial target markets, expand into new regions, and dive into opportunities that await in other areas of the world. Of these geographies, the United States retail market is viewed by overseas industry leaders as having the richest potential, with an overall revenue of $4.5 trillion last year, according to eMarketer.
Success breaking into the U.S. market is also a golden ticket for further, faster expansion into the rest of the western world, as American consumer culture is considered a trend-setter on a global scale.
“The U.S. is by far the largest retail market in the world,” said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s retail practice, according to NRF. “If you’re a successful retailer with a thriving concept in your home country, it’s a logical place to look for expansion. There are challenges, but it remains tempting. There’s a trophy aspect to being successful in the U.S.”
“American consumer culture is considered a trend-setter on a global scale.”
Finding a foothold in the competitive U.S. retail space is easier said than done, especially when a company is striving to grasp the cultural and strategic cornerstones of the American markets.
Fortunately, fortifying call center operations can dramatically boost a retailer’s stateside customer service, strengthening its presence in the U.S. and even sparking more rapid saturation of the market.
Here are a few ways in which effective call center services can strengthen brand internationalization, and what to look for in a partnership:
While a retailer may have mastered the art of customer service in its home country, the U.S. environment has a variety of cultural distinctions that may not be intuitive for its standard call center to handle, especially in its first run at the American market.
Leveraging the support of a call center based in the United States can help to ensure that a brand is fully calibrated with U.S. consumer culture, bolstering trust and familiarity in this new demographic.
For instance, American consumers have high expectations regarding the frequency of communications when it comes to order fulfillment, according to ICMI research. The source found that U.S. consumers were especially attuned to the accountability of a brand, especially when orders were delayed or they asked follow-up questions concerning quality or fit. Call center agents must be aware of these heightened expectations and deliver stellar service.
“American customers were the most demanding regarding communication across the globe as a culture,” stated ICMI researcher Kevin Brown. “Certainly, we had non-American customers who also were demanding in the same way, but the USA and Canada stood out as the cultures, rather than companies, that demanded frequent and detailed communication.”
Successfully kicking off an internationalization journey is about more than comfort and familiarity with culture. American consumer practices are much more in tune with technological advancement than those found in other regions of the world.
This pattern is strongly evidenced by the U.S.-led push toward omni-channel customer experiences, a principle that places the consumer above all by offering seamless transitions from one communication avenue to the next. Forbes highlighted just how influential this trend is, citing it as a strategic necessity for success in modern retail.
“They can access products and services by calling a company on the phone, by using an app on their mobile smartphone, or with a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer,” noted experts at Marketo. “Each piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary.”
“Omni-channel service solidifies the brand as a modern, innovative retailer.”
Since the omni-channel standard is still relatively unknown territory for many overseas retailers, a U.S.-based call center services program built on this concept is an invaluable asset for a foreign brand looking to make its mark in the states.
Consumers will not only enjoy the freedom and assurance of the omni-channel experience, but will instantly recognize the brand as a modern, innovative retailer, boding well for its further expansion.
Superior brand care
Aside from culture and technology, the essence of customer service success lies in brand care, and this should remain the ultimate priority of any internationalization effort. A call center partnership should serve as a foundational component of a brand’s expansion effort into the United States, as highlighted by a testimonial from a Manchester, England-based retailer that made the transition.
“We ask them for critiques on the website and our brand strategy from the perspective of an American customer,” explained the customer service director, noting the value of a U.S.-based call center connection. “In fact, we use them as our U.S. customer experts, because that’s what they are.”
With a blueprint for expansion and an experienced call center partner that knows the culture, technology, and brand care needs of the American retail landscape, a company has everything it needs for success in the U.S. and beyond.