Nowadays, an ever-growing list of companies and professionals opt to work remotely. The number of remote workers has been steadily rising since the 90’s. This increase is easily explained: a majority of telecommuters report heightened productivity and reduced stress, and their employers notice a lower employee turnover and savings in operating costs. You may be one of these remote workers, and you may be looking for ways to succeed internationally from your home office.
Learning to succeed internationally from your home office
For those who work from home independently, international expansion is an arduous task. Customer service remote workers are must present an efficient, professional, and legitimate front, despite operating with limited means from their home office.
1. Get closer to your customers
Expanding to serve customers all over the world shouldn’t mean lowering your service standards. In order to avoid sacrificing service quality in favor of a broader appeal, you must focus on bringing yourself closer to your customers than ever.
Make yourself available
When a customer needs to reach you, it can be a tremendous put-off to struggle to get in touch. If you’re hoping to succeed internationally from your home office, you’ll also need processes which simplify and expedite your tasks. Strive to save your customers effort and focus on providing excellent and memorable service.
- Make sure that your contact information (phone number, email, etc.) is visible and readily available. Your customers won’t be deterred by hidden contact information, and they’ll just be that much more irritated when they do get through to you.
- Think of ways to make customers’ lives easier: a click-to-call button or a call-back option both go a long way in saving customers time and frustration.
- Invest in local phone numbers from every area in which you operate. Whether performing inbound or outbound calls, customers are more likely to respond favorably to a number bearing their area code.
Know your audience
In order to succeed internationally from your home office, you’ll need to be adaptable. To cater to foreign markets, it’s necessary to align yourself with the demographics which make up those markets.
Do some research on the areas in which you’re looking to implant your activity. Become familiar with customs and habits, both human and professional, in order to avoid culture shock. Thankfully, working from home can afford you great flexibility. You’ll be able to switch up your schedule and be available during working hours in multiple parts of the world.
2. Be a blowfish
Blowfish are well known for puffing themselves up with water in order to appear more imposing. They can alternate between swelling up to appear impressive and deflating to regain speed and manoeuvrability. If you’re looking to succeed internationally from your home office, you’ll need to be a blowfish.
We mentioned that working from home means being more flexible and adaptable. But appearing bigger than you really are (i.e. a single person, at home) will grant legitimacy in the eyes of customers, who are more inclined to trust a seemingly larger organisation. To achieve this goal, you’ve got a number of tools on your side.
A toll-free number can make your small operation look much more imposing than it is, not to mention more memorable.
An IVR service has the dual advantage of making your operation seem more professional while also screening and routing calls more efficiently, saving both you and your customers valuable time.
Today’s business phone systems boast a plethora of features to offer businesses of any size the same presence and customer service abilities.
Don’t sacrifice efficiency
Presenting the means and ressources of a much larger operation won’t suffice if you cannot deliver on those promises in terms of customer service. It’s important to avoid spreading yourself too thin, and to focus on efficiency.
- Don’t offer more service channels than you can adequately man.
- Emphasize cross-channel consistency, which is a crucial part of a positive and memorable customer experience.
- Encourage first-call resolution, a prime indicator of customer service success.
3. Nurture collaboration
Even if you’re working alone from your home office, collaboration with coworkers and employees is essential to your international expansion. However, when you are physically removed from the rest of your team, that presents a special set of challenges to overcome.
Communicate often, communicate well
For remote or scattered teams, communication is key. However, it’s hard to find the right balance between a cohesive, informed team, and micro-management and endless meetings. The latter are distracting and disruptive.
The balance lies at the intersection of dutiful planning and adaptable interpersonal skills. Remote teams require more fixed planning than onsite ones. This is intrinsically difficult, especially if teammates reside in different time zones. Thankfully, there are many tools which strive to give dispersed teams an edge when it comes to collaboration.
A fixed schedule won’t suffice, though. Every team member needs to hone their communication skills, in order to make meetings efficient and worthwhile. If you’re looking to succeed internationally from your home office, you’ll need to cultivate even finer interpersonal skills. Not only will you need to relate to a different customer demographic, but you’ll need to practice patience, empathy, and strategic thinking with coworkers as well. Working from home doesn’t mean working alone.
For remote workers, interaction with teammates, managers, and employees is either planned or borne of necessity. As a result, these interactions don’t need to be overly frequent to have the same managerial impact, merely focused and to-the-point.
Working remotely means being self-sufficient, but that shouldn’t preclude teamwork. It’s much easier to work cohesively with others when technology is on your side.
For example, using a collaborative phone solution has a plethora of advantages to succeed internationally from your home office: shared contact lists and inboxes, the choice to tag calls and better communicate, and the ability to assign tasks for a smoother process.
When your team and the customers you serve are spread out all over the world, being able to rely on your tools to favor communication and collaboration is a load off your back.
Building a global presence as a budding entreprise is intimidating. But it’s possible to satisfy customers and excel internationally no matter the size of your operation. By being disciplined and using the right tools to your advantage, you can make a splash and succeed internationally from your home office.
Have you tried Aircall’s phone system for remote teams? Start developing an international presence today!