In International Online Sales it is essential to maintain trust after it has been established. This article raises two questions:
1.What can be done to maintain trust and stay in customers’ confidence?
2.Does trust work the same in different countries?
Three step trust program
The first step is to always ask for feedback. New customers must be asked how their experience was with our company. Soon after the product has arrived with the customer he should receive a quick simple survey email to ask him how was the buying experience. The message should only contain 3-5 questions and focus on whether the experience was: 1. bad. 2. as expected 3. recommendable to friends and partners. The customer should be able to finish the survey in less than a minute.
At the time of the making of the sale, customer service should ask for an email address where the survey can be sent, to ensure high rates of participation.
Stay in contact. Get in touch with the client when you ship his goods. Once the goods have arrived, check with the cusomer again to check if everything is okay. Make sure customer service is not too busy to keep in touch with customers. If customers are forgotten the moment his goods are shipped, the custoemer will feel this and shall not be loyal. If you take care of any potential shortcomings before they are felt we will gain the customer’s confidence and win his confidence.
Act like a virgin. This means you should treat each customer like he is the first. Do not be afraid to be honest about the size of the company. A small company needs its customers and should not be afraid to show eagerness. Clients will feel loyal to a supplier who needs their business and treats them accordingly.
Comparing trust internationally
Online marketing is very much a North American invention and the main unspoken assumption is that Online Marketing is similar accross the globe. However, just within Europe there is a big difference between one country and the next with regards to trust. In southern European countries there is less trust as has been established in the work of the Political Scientist Francis Fukuyama. E.g.in his book “Trust“.
In “Trust” Fukuyama establishes that levels of public trust differ from nation to nation. He shows that there are political consequences but more relevantly economic consequences too. In low-trust societies it is more difficult to make transactions happen. The USA is a high-trust society and so are northern European countries. But in the Latin, Southern European countries trust is generally lower and buyers need more assurance to buy than a website can give them. So they will use a web shop as a catalogue, but will only purchase after personal contact through a phone call with a customer service. They need to establish whether a businesws is legit by interacting with a real human being as a representative of that business.
Exporting southwards is a bigger investment
As a result it takes much more customer service to establish a viable business in Southern Europe than in Northern Europe or North America, something an export strategy must take into account.