Weaving Globalization & Localization Into Your Customer Self-Service Strategy

4 min read

Let’s face it, growing is harder than it looks. It’s hard to get onto the right track for your company to begin expanding, but it can be even harder to scale that growth while maintaining what makes your company unique and special. That’s why so many customers favor local companies who focus on maintaining brand and customer experience before profit. But what if you could have both? What if you could maintain your company’s distinct identity and customer satisfaction across the globe, expanding in profits and happy customers? Needless to say, that is what many companies are after, but it is quite challenging to do successfully. 

That’s where globalization and localization come in. They go hand-in-hand with building a successful self-service experience, and when done right, can bring you those desired outcomes. 

Building a successful self-service experience means building one that brings convenience and ease to all of your target audience’s customer journeys. But, offering support for your products and services on a global scale to many different cultures is hard. This is because expanding to a new culture is more than just making your website available there. All of your site pages need to be translated, which means hiring a translating service. Your contact options need to be tailored to location and routed to a customer service team that can answer those questions in the customer's language. New content needs to be created and existing content needs to be updated when you introduce new products and services into that market. All the while maintaining brand consistency across unique cultures with different product and support needs. That’s a lot!

So first, let’s break down the different outcomes your company could experience from successfully integrating globalization and localization into your self-service strategy. 

Values of a Successful Global Scale Strategy

1. The ability to reach a vaster customer base means more sales, higher revenue, increased site traffic to boost SEO and awareness, and overall positive company growth. 

2. When expanding into a developing market, globalization can bring higher demand for new products from an unsaturated market. You have the ability to offer products and services to regions of the world that may not have had access to them prior. 

3. Not only can you increase sales and revenues, but you have the opportunity to lower costs of operations. Expanding into new markets can bring decreased labor costs and even lower natural resource expenses. 

4. Expanding the right way can bring a thoughtfully elevated level of customer satisfaction. It is not just about translation, but carefully adapting to suit the needs of each culture. This allows you to show that you care about your customers and truly understand what they need, therefore, building customer trust. This creates higher CSAT, renewals, and retention, decreased churn rates, and more. 

5. The ability to reach global markets more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Once the scale strategy has been streamlined, you can continue to grow at your own pace, as quickly as you choose, without the headache each time of manual translations, rendering, re-designing, etc. 

6. Expand your company’s talent pool past your local area and onto a global scale to reach the most ideal fits for different positions. Spreading globally can help your company fill specialized talent roles, enabling you to continue expanding successfully. 

The Challenges

1. Figuring out where to start

For many companies, one of the biggest challenges with expanding globally is trying to figure out where to start. It is a big task that involves a lot of moving parts and can feel very overwhelming at the beginning. Starting companies must figure out things like what service or translating platform to work with, how often they will publish translated content, how many translators they need to work on their content, if they will translate manually or automatically, and more. 

2. Consistency

Another big challenge for many companies is successfully providing a consistent customer experience and maintaining brand while still respecting regional differences. For example, in some cases different products may be sold in different countries. Or, maybe the E-store is available in certain countries but not others. Not to mention that shipping, returns, and warranty policies will oftentimes change based on location. So it can be quite tricky to tailor all of these changes while still maintaining both content consistency and the unique styling and core values your brand holds. 

3. Scalability

Arguably the biggest concern for companies looking to expand globally is scalability. When deploying self-service, you need a way to create these global experiences to scale with your company’s ongoing growth. It’s not a one-and-done deal. Since deploying to new markets will allow your company to expand, you need a system that can keep up with that growth. 

4. Agility

Agility goes hand-in-hand with scalability. In order to have a scalable system, you need one that is agile as well and can, therefore, work quickly and efficiently to evolve with your company. It sounds simple enough, but becomes difficult when you consider all of the different factors at play here: launching in new countries, launching new products, evolution to existing products, frequent updates on content and UX, business conditions changing, and more. 

5. Lack of resources

Another big challenge that holds companies back from global expansion is lacking the necessary resources to do so. Achieving all of the values listed above often comes at a price. You have a couple of options here; hire an external agency or assign an internal position dedicated to it. Both can become costly and time-consuming, especially if you are choosing custom development that’s entirely manual, inflexible, and time-consuming. 

6. Communication

When spreading to new regions to expand your company’s customer base and even internal teams, communication will become more challenging. Rather than having all of your employees, resources, and customers located together, they become spread across the globe. This can create a time and distance barrier in any transaction. For example, maybe a customer in Germany received the wrong product, while you are located in the United States. They can’t just come to your store to return it or mail it across the state. Instead, a whole new system must be enacted for when situations like this occur. 

So, What Can You Do?

Those challenges may sound a bit overwhelming, but the values can be worth it. So, how can you try to ease some of these challenges and prevent your company from falling into a hole? The first answer is to simply know and understand what you are getting into. So you can check that one off! Next, begin creating a thorough strategy of how exactly you are going to do this. 

To start, ask some questions: 

  • Where do you want to start expanding?
  • What external or internal source do you need?
  • How much will that cost and how much time will it take?
  • Down the road, will this system continue to keep up with your company’s growth?

Of course, depending on your company, your plan will include more in-depth information, but there are some starting points. 

We think the topic of globalization and localization is quite complex and is something that many companies struggle with but is so crucial to future expansion and success. So, we find it important to dive in deeper. We will continue to explore more topics on globalization and localization in our future articles surrounding translation, writing, contact routing, staffing, etc. 

For now, learn about the design aspects of bringing globalization and localization into your self-service. 

David Hayden
Software entrepreneur who enjoys building products that empower business people to create and evolve enterprise applications without code.

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