One of the key factors involved in effective localization is cross-border communication. How you interact with customers from a foreign market plays a pivotal role in your localization strategy. In order to make sure things don’t go wrong, here are 4 factors that you need to focus on:
1. Customer care and support
Communication is more than just speaking. It’s about actions and a good business makes sure that customers know how much they are valued. The primary factors that help with this are care and support. Treating your customers as human beings transcends cultural, lingual, and geographical barriers.
So, make sure you have a robust customer support process or system in place. If you can’t do it, make sure you can at least direct them to someone who can.
As a business marketing its offerings to a global customer base, you will have to establish support systems on the ground as well. This is one of the few ways in which you can earn the trust of your customers and help the see the value you are offering them.
Try to connect with the customer at a personal level. Maybe they have something going on in their life that’s adding to the problem. Try and empathize.
2. Focus on the technical side
So you translated all your content into the customer’s native language? Great job, but you’ve only scratched the surface with that move. Communication is more than just language. It’s about how you connect with the customer and make them feel.
That’s where the technical aspects of your localization strategy come in.
You need to change everything about your message, even the way it is presented. This includes fine-tuning technical components such as design, layout, and colors. When customers come in search of information, not only must it be presented in their native tongue but also in a way that is familiar to them.
You might find is strange that this needs to be done, but the truth is people read into things more than you expect them to. A simple mistake such as using the wrong color can have a negative effect, especially if that color has negative connotations in the customer’s culture
3. Change your communication style
Speaking in the customer’s language is great, but are you doing it the right way? For instance, Americans tend to be a little informal and casual in their approach. In certain eastern cultures, however, a more formal approach is preferred. In fact, elderly customers would even expect to be treated with a certain amount of respect.
So, make sure you note your tone and voice when interacting with cross-border customers. Find out as much as possible about the kind of communication style they prefer.
Similarly, when speaking in their language, keep it short, especially when you aren’t fluent. Limit yourselves to basic greetings and pleasantries. This is, sometimes, all you need to establish an atmosphere that is supportive of cooperation.
It’s enough to show them that you are willing to learn about their culture and that you have their best interests at heart. Anything more than this would be seen as, “desperate”. Customers are not irrational. For the most part, they know who they’re talking to and would probably find it frustrating if they’re forced to listen to you butcher their language.
Another solution would simply be to hire a local who can get the job done on your behalf.
4. Use the Right Platform
Determine which platform is the ideal one for connecting with your cross-border customers. Is it Facebook or a local social media tool? Do they prefer mobile or are they still dependent on traditional platforms?
Determining the right platform will make your communication even more effective.
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