Online Retailers: Discover the Specific Aspects of Foreign Customers

12.08.2016, 2m

International business - Do / Don't

It's evident that customer satisfaction is one of the key factors when it comes to successfully selling your products. Once retailers succeed in retaining customers and turning them into loyal customer instead of one time buyers, can they say that their efforts really paid off.

UK retailers pride themselves on their excellent customer service. Especially with sole traders and smaller companies, they take special care to answer customer queries quickly and they always try to find a solution even if it is extra effort is required. This is a profound base for dealing with international customers.

Different countries, different habits

In English culture, politeness and speaking in a way that no one feels offended is an integral part of the social fabric. Even if a customer's wish cannot be fulfilled, a direct no is something we hardly come across.

Likewise, starting a conversation with "Hello, how are  you doing today?" is quite common in the UK. However, this is not the case everywhere. In Germany for example, customer's might stop for a minute when they hear such a question. In a business context, they would probably not expect such a  conversation to start this way or they might take a more serious approach to it and answer honestly.

Similarly, Germans tend to be more direct than Brits which is why a direct no is more common than a nicely wrapped why of saying no. To take another example, Italians and Spanish are known for being more "bubbly". Their way of talking might be different, but it doesn't mean they are fighting all the time.

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Being successful with foreign customers

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do". Following this approach can help you understand the mentality of foreign customers and enable you to provide a service that exceeds their expectations.

With Polish customers, you should try to be very precise in your communication. They have a tendency to question everything and if your communication leaves a gap for interpretation, that could lead to repeated questions on the same topic.

Sometimes, arguments can get heated, you should try to avoid that. The polite English nature will help immensely in such situations. Be open to customers' criticisms and try to convey that you will initiate steps to improve your business.

Spanish customers' English might not be perfect, so you should keep this in mind in your communications with them. Similar to the Brits, Spanish people like small talk to strengthen a business relationship.

In Germany, legal compliance is very important. Consumers' awareness about their rights is much higher than in the UK. Therefore, it is essential to know the law if you target the German market.

Have a look at the following graphic for an overview of the dos and don'ts with foreign customers.

The specific aspects of foreign customers

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