The inescapable challenges of International business expansion
With increasing globalisation and digital connectivity, most businesses are eyeing on international expansion. Companies are transacting with customers located across the globe and reaching a mass audience. In fact, such global expansion has become almost a requisite for long-term growth.
However, as the global marketplace becomes more interconnected, the challenges involved increases and become more detrimental. The target market widens, the size of potential audience enlarges, and so the number of competitors. Herein, businesses have no other option but to make the extra effort to capture foreign market and ensure sustainability.
Where is the challenge?
1. While conducting business in different countries, most companies operate with a virtual office.
2. The list of competitors includes not only local business entities but international ones as well.
Owing to this, gaining customers’ trust and attracting potential leads from a whole new market is a big challenge. You may consider heavy brand marketing as the way out, but driving those customer calls and ensuring conversion is an altogether different aspect.
Needless to mention, business marketing should be the prime step but it should be coupled with another requisite i.e. a professional (and reliable) business contact number. Top-notch marketing might capture many eyes, but in the end, an unreliable contact number (say, a number with foreign country code) can displease many.
Wondering how your existing phone number can be facilitating problematic for your international customers? Here’s how it can be (as against your assumptions):
1. High calling cost
Assumption: “My International leads will call on my given business number even at the cost of extra calling charges”.
Reality: Expecting your prospects to be committed and keen to contact your business ‘only’ is too unrealistic. Most people don’t even call for the 2nd time if the business number was unreachable for the first time. Obviously, they have multiple dealer options ready. Herein, calling a foreign business number with extra charges could make many people rethink and they’d rather prefer any of your competitors (someone with say, a toll-free number?).
A business with an easily accessible and familiar contact number would always do better than its inaccessible counterpart.
2. No Internet connection
Assumption: “Skype, WhatsApp calling, there are so many options for my team to connect with the international customers”
Reality: Ok, recall your few such (online) calls. How many of them were actually smooth enough which didn’t make you scream “hello, hello”? Not many, I’m sure. Expecting your prospects to download the certain application and then call your number is certainly too big of an expectation. It won’t take more than 3 minutes of a disturbed internet connection (call) to make your prospect give-up on talking with your agent.
Potential customers can’t be and shouldn’t be expected to show patience and commitment in connecting/dealing with your business agent, especially when the options are vast.
3. Trust issues!
Assumption: “My brand marketing itself would earn my target audience’ trust and credibility on my business”.
Reality: Trusting a business to deal with is indeed crucial for most people. And, it’s equally difficult for businesses to earn it. A company set-in or originating from a particular country wouldn’t have to struggle much for its customers’ (located in the same country) trust in the business. But the ones originating and operating from a foreign country would always have to make an extra effort to gain their prospects’ confidence towards their business. Needless to say, people want to be sure of the company’s easy and accessibility.
Getting customers to trust your business is imperative for success. Geographical distance makes it a hard-won goal.
The one-stop solution
The challenges are many but there’s always a way out. This time its the phone number that would help, an international virtual phone number.
It would be a display contact number for your business starting with the required country code. Being a virtual number, it will have multiple phone numbers mapped behind it. This will facilitate your agents attend customer calls sitting anywhere across the globe.
Simply put, the number will be helpful for:
→ Ensuring easy accessibility
→ Eliminating extra calling cost
→ Removing internet dependency
→ Earning customers’ trust
Where setting up local office becomes infeasible, professional contact number acts as the helping hand. Most importantly, it resolves all the probable communication challenges with your international clients.
A local contact number thus, will ensure your presence in the countries of your business operation and help you get an edge over your competitors (at least over the ones with unfamiliar contact numbers).
To summarise, good communication is at the core of an effective international business strategy. A virtual office is of no value if not built with a smooth communication facility. Businesses should be easily accessible to their customers and a reliable contact number will serve the exact purpose.