Customer service is the heart of every thriving business. Without loyal and satisfied customers, a company has little chance of sustained success. For businesses with an international presence, providing top-notch customer service is no small feat, but it is imperative nonetheless. With that in mind, here are some customer service do’s and don’ts for the global business:

 

DO train your contact center staff to serve as brand ambassadors.

 

The best way to ensure that your agents are spreading a positive corporate image is to help them understand how important they are to what you are trying to accomplish. The call center is the frontline of customer interaction, meaning your agents are often tasked with the enormous responsibility of creating a good first impression. Share statistics like Forrester’s finding that 89 percent of consumers who experience poor service with your brand will leave for the competition, and get a crucial “buy-in” from your team.

 

DO deliver on what you promise.

 

According to Accenture’s 2013 Global Consumer Pulse Survey, 84 percent of U.S. customers have been frustrated with companies promising one thing but delivering another. For example, if you promise 24/7 customer service — which you should, especially during global expansion — you better be able to deliver on that guarantee.

 

DO promote an engaged social presence.

 

Be aware of who is trying to interact with you and try to reciprocate. Research shows that 42 percent of dissatisfied customers expect a maximum 60 minute response time on social media. If you’re on Twitter, respond and re-tweet. On Facebook, comment and update your status frequently. Take a cue from KLM, T-Mobile, and SONY, which ranked as the top three most socially engaged global brands according to a study conducted by Socialbakers.

 

DON’T mistake an apology for service recovery.

 

Saying you are sorry only goes so far. Mistakes are inevitable in every business, so how you handle them is what makes the real difference. Southwest Airlines, which is in the process of expanding flights to international destinations, displayed a willingness to go the extra mile for service recovery this past year by meeting a customer’s creative complaint with a unique response of their own.

 

DON’T mislead your customers.

 

FedEx took a major hit to its public image and its bottom line with a $21.5 million settlement this past year stemming from complaints of overcharging. The company was forced to change its best practices for classifying deliveries; worse, the complaint was filed under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a law generally associated with cases involving the mafia. Not exactly the kind of image a global company wants to project.

 

DON’T ever insult your potential customers.

 

This should be fairly obvious, but an examination of incidents in 2013 suggest otherwise. Engaging in a contentious back and forth with consumers seems to be a bigger problem on social media than it is anywhere else, partly because accounts get hacked and partly because people forget that in the era of the screenshot, tweets and Facebook posts live forever. Whether through insensitive posts like those from Epicurious or London’s Luton Airport, or salty language like the kind Nokia used on its Facebook page, avoid the kinds of mistakes these companies made in 2013.

 

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These are just some of the most important ideas to keep in mind as you tweak your customer service model. One overarching theme to keep in mind is that when all else fails, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Would you be satisfied with a short apology after a major inconvenience? Would you do business with a company that was all over the news because of a scandal? Probably not, and neither will your potential customers.

 

Did we leave out any big Do’s or Don’ts? Let us know in the comment section below.