Positive international shipping experiences and quality customer service go hand in hand with ensuring consumer satisfaction. The worldwide expansion of online marketplaces opened new opportunities for consumers to receive fast and reliable shipping from virtually anywhere. But with high demand comes high customer service expectations. With many moving parts to consider in an international shipping process, like customs regulations, global shipping options, and tracking capabilities, devoting a team of experts to assist with international shipping matters has never been more critical.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 benefits of having a dedicated customer service team when shipping internationally.
Having a dedicated customer service team when transporting goods internationally offers numerous benefits, including a smoother and more efficient shipping process while ensuring customer satisfaction. And consumer satisfaction has never been more apparent than today. In fact, the fate of your business depends on it, as 80% of consumers will forgive a bad experience if their customer service experience is considered “very good.” In contrast, only one in five consumers will forgive a bad experience if their customer service experience is rated “very poor.” This statistic shows that having a devoted customer service team is essential for businesses to build customer retention.
Here are some of the key advantages of having a dedicated team:
Each country has specific regulations regarding how to ship items across its borders. However, regulatory processes are constantly changing, requiring shipping agents to possess varying knowledge of different countries’ customs regulations, document requirements, and restricted or prohibited materials.
A devoted customer service team is well-versed in international shipping procedures to reduce the risk of delays and compliance issues, a common reason for unsatisfactory customer experiences. While Jim, a dedicated customer service rep of five years, is familiar with Spain customs regulations, he was unaware that the Canary Islands, although being a part of Spain, are not considered a territory within the European Union and require a different clearance procedure. Ensuring your customer service agents understand ever-changing regulations is critical in preventing timely shipping delays.
The terms customer service and customer support are often used interchangeably, but you need both to develop an infallible system. Customer service is a broader concept shaping the entire end-to-end shipping experience. Customer support is often regarding a specific customer issue, or concern focused on resolving a problem during a particular shipment phase. For example, if Millie placed an order for express shipping but finds her package is delayed, she will likely seek support to determine the cause.
Having a team of professionals readily available to offer prompt assistance, tracking information, and updates to Millie is essential in ensuring she receives the correct information in a timely manner to avoid additional distress.
International shipping often involves multiple parties, including customs officials, carriers, and local authorities. A dedicated customer support team serves as a central point of contact, facilitating clear and effective communication between all parties involved to avoid miscommunication.
Customization is vital when it comes to international shipping services, as every shipment requires specific regulations to follow for its delivery. A dedicated customer service team can tailor shipping solutions to meet specific international requirements, such as choosing the most cost-effective shipping methods, or addressing unique challenges in different regions.
Arranging a team of support specialists who follow a dedicated model can help resolve customer issues immediately to mitigate common shipping errors, such as damaged goods, lost shipments, or customs complications. A support team knowledgeable of cross-border shipments understands the ins and outs of the global shipping process to resolve problems efficiently by liaising with customs authorities and shipping carriers. Having a concrete system in place for approaching common problems and assigning a dedicated agent responsible for each issue helps troubleshoot problems swiftly, minimizing supply chain disruptions and improving customer response times.
As important as it is to resolve problems quickly, it’s just as important to mitigate risks before they happen. International shipping carries inherent risks, such as theft, damage, or legal issues. A dedicated customer service/support team can implement risk mitigation strategies and insurance options to protect valuable shipments. Support agent responsibilities may include:
It is crucial to anticipate and mitigate potential risks associated with international shipping to prevent problems from arising.
Customer service teams are known for providing positive customer interactions and support when necessary, but what sets a standard customer service team apart from an exceptional one is the ability to offer additional opportunities that will benefit the customer.
Pricing is a key component in how a business selects its shipping provider. Identifying cost-saving opportunities, such as consolidating shipments, optimizing packaging, or choosing the best carriers and routes to minimize shipping expenses, helps business owners recognize cost-saving solutions to develop a financial plan that better measures KPIs to meet their business needs. For example, small businesses and startups need more financial bandwidth in their early stages of development. An experienced customer service agent can help them determine their best course of action to optimize costs and ensure scalability over time.
Going the extra mile by finding cost-effective shipping solutions could be what sets your business apart from others, improving your brand reputation and customer satisfaction simultaneously.
Staying compliant with import/export regulations is critical for avoiding penalties and shipping disruptions. Dedicated customer service agents can ensure that all documentation and customs declarations meet the necessary requirements of the destination country. For example, when shipping to Australia, products like supplements or pharmaceuticals may require a specific license, such as the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) registration. Similarly, the packaging and labeling requirements may differ for food products or products requiring refrigeration. It’s essential to ensure your support team understands all details regarding international regulatory compliance to avoid product seizures and shipping delays.
Giving customers tracking information for their international shipments enhances transparency and trust. Today, shipping service providers utilize advanced technology to provide real-time shipment tracking from virtually anywhere. This technical advancement improves the customer experience, as many shoppers like to see the progress of their shipment during transit. Tracking also mitigates common shipping issues like lost packages or international shipment delays. Helping customers see where their package is or notifying them of a potential delay helps improve the customer service experience and prepare your team for potential forthcoming issues.
A dedicated customer care team can identify potential issues and take steps to prevent them, reducing the likelihood of delays or complications. While tracking and quality control are proactive steps to avoid international shipping problems, it’s also essential to understand your customer’s needs and provide an appropriate contact center to get in touch with them. For example, some companies take an omnichannel approach. This approach involves providing a seamless customer support experience across multiple communication channels like email, phone, instant chats, and social media. Opening various communication channels provides an outlet for consumers to get in touch based on their preferred method.
If you receive most of your customer feedback via email, creating a landing page on your website for customer requests or a common FAQs page can help direct customers to a contact page where they can fill out a form or email you directly. Social media is also a great place to connect with consumers and provide an apology if a customer leaves an unsettling review.
If customer service requests are coming in by phone, a dedicated call center with representatives knowledgeable of international shipping regulations may be a great asset to manage higher call volumes. And since customers may be based in different countries, it may be wise to staff agents who can work overnight to offer 24/7 support.
Opening multiple communication channels helps agents connect with customers to address problems they may not have known they had. Identifying recurring issues through customer communication can help avoid future shipping problems.
As your international shipping needs grow, a dedicated team can scale its operations accordingly, ensuring continued efficiency and reliability. Understanding each facet of international shipping is a challenging task. Developing a customer service team with this expertise takes time and extensive training. While many providers choose to contract out their workers through outsourced customer support services, outsourcing may not be wise considering the knowledge it takes to understand country-specific customs regulations and requirements when shipping internationally, particularly if your service offers customized solutions.
In some cases, businesses may elect to use a shared model for customer service, meaning the same customer service agents helping your customers are also working for another company. Shared customer service models may be a good option for smaller to mid-sized businesses that still need to be fully established; however, to truly scale and improve your brand awareness, an in-house team can provide top-quality support received through years of experience and hands-on training.
ePost Global has over 25 years of experience shipping goods internationally with innovative software solutions to produce the best customer experiences in the industry. Throughout our many years of experience, we’ve found that one thing rings true in maintaining a loyal customer base: a devoted customer service team. Providing customers with the correct answers they need when they need them is what separates one shipping carrier from another. We do this through:
Unparalleled Customer Support: Our primary objective is to ensure a smooth and stress-free shipping process from the initial onboarding stages of business expansion to the moment your shipments safely reach their intended destinations.
Advanced Tracking Capabilities: Our robust technology provides real-time tracking information to customers and your team to mitigate issues like shipping delays or seizures to prevent supply chain disruptions.
International Expertise: We have efficiently managed countless international shipments through the years, developing a profound understanding of the intricacies involved to effortlessly overcome potential obstacles ensuring the successful delivery of your items.
At ePost Global, we understand the importance of delivering high-quality customer care and the many benefits associated with establishing a dedicated team. By choosing ePost Global as your trusted delivery partner, you can experience the benefits of streamlined operations, improved tracking, and efficient customs clearance.
Contact ePost Global to learn more about our customer care process and start shipping internationally with ease.