While many companies focus on increasing international sales by localizing customer experience from lead generation to conversion, post-sales support is often overlooked. When it comes to maximizing your international growth potential, post-sales support in-market is vital for building brand loyalty and winning repeat business.
WHY POST-SALES SUPPORT MATTERS
1. Repeat Business
Acquiring a new customer costs 5 to 25 times more than the cost of converting a sale from an existing customer (source: Harvard Business Review).
Investing in repeat business is not only more cost-effective, but also more lucrative. The Common Sense Advisory (CSA) recently ran a study of 10,000 consumers across 10 markets. Here’s what they found:
- The average eCommerce merchant now generates 43% of their revenue from repeat purchases, with some top performers generating closer to 75%.
- 74% of customers said they are more likely to be repeat customers if the post-sales support is in their own language.
- 90% of global consumers now expect brands to offer self-service customer support portals.
As the numbers show, repeat business is a vital ingredient for maximizing your international success, which is why it’s so important to have an accessible, localized post-sales support structure.
2. Building Loyalty
While lacking in-market resources often makes it challenging for many organizations to engage international markets, it’s a crucial component for building brand loyalty.
For instance, Japan represents a country that needs in-market resources and localized support in order to build loyalty. According to the Edelman 2017 Trust Barometer, Japan ranks 26th out of 28 nations surveyed for level of trust in business, media, government and NGOs. Therefore, Japan would unlikely engage with any organizations that have not taken localized post-sales support into account.
Although Japanese consumers do their diligence before making purchases, they generally have a low level of English proficiency. In fact, Japan ranked 37th out of 80 on the English Proficiency Index.
Ensuring your platform supports customer reviews in-language is important for post-sales engagement in-market. However, this doesn’t mean you necessarily need to invest in live chats or telephone support to capture this engagement – you can succeed with simply having localized, automated CRM communication.
Bear in mind, that localizing isn’t just about language. It’s also about tailoring your support to regional preferences. For instance, in Germany, 83% of eCommerce shoppers said they would choose one online retailer over another offering the same product because of a positive delivery experience (source: Lengow). Since German consumers expect to receive delivery and product tracking information, this should be localized in German.
Each region responds differently to sales support efforts. For instance, due to data privacy concerns, loyalty programs are ineffective in Germany; whereas in China, nearly 90% of consumers would buy, and buy again, from companies that offer loyalty programs.
3. Reducing Post-Sales Support Costs
When customers have a difficult time finding answers to queries in their local language, it’s possible they may not buy your product or service again. Worldwide English proficiency isn’t nearly as universal as native English speakers might imagine. In fact, 80% of respondents demand post-sales support in their own language, according to the Common Sense Advisory’s study “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy.”
Localizing post-sales support doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg – in fact, it could even save you money in the long run. By localizing documentation and building platforms where customers can troubleshoot answers to questions in their own language, you’ll dramatically cut down on call center costs, email queries and increase the likelihood that your international customers will buy from you again.
Keep in mind that post-sales support varies from country-to-country. In Germany, for example, mobile data plans are expensive, so PC desktops are still an important eCommerce feature. Offering a fully functional, post-sales support section on your website will appeal to your German audience, as they’re more likely to be on their desktop and can easily navigate such a resource.
On the other hand, in China, the growing consumer generation typically engages with brands via mobile apps like WeChat. This means an active social media presence capable of responding quickly to instant messages at any time of day is important. In India, mobile penetration is high and PC ownership is low, but 3G and 4G are limited and expensive for most; so, post-sales SMS communication is recommended.
Localizing post-sales support is often overlooked. When you put in the extra effort to localize, you can maximize global growth by getting repeat business, building loyalty and reducing post-sales support costs.