International Customer Service – one size does not fit all

Tue 18 Aug 2015
Posted by: IOE News
IOE News

Anna Shevchenko MPhil Cantab., CEO of 3CN talks about the International Customer Service training course delivered for the IOE.

Our International Customer Service training was born when I was approached by the organisers of the 2012 London Olympics. Following a risk assessment they had identified a training need for their Games Makers volunteers to understand how to respond to people from different cultures in difficult face to face situations.

When providing international customer service, it is vital to understand that different cultures experience the same situation according to their own cultural values and a failure to appreciate these differences can lead to misunderstandings and a poor experience for both the customer and your business. For example, when dealing with a customer from Singapore, it is essential that you understand that patience is a valued quality, whereas a customer from Russia is used to being able to vent their frustrations in a much more open way!

Cultural differences are even more vital to understand in face-to-face situations where the ability to read your customer’s body language will give you vital clues as to how you are being received and how they are feeling. Factors such as perceptions of time, how you phrase a question and a myriad of other cultural nuances play a vital role in how you are received by your customer and these will be different for each market you enter, so when it comes to international customer service it is very definitely not a case of “one size fits all” and you will need to adapt your approach for each market you deal with.

The up-side to all this is that dealing with a new culture can be very enriching on both a personal and business level offering the potential to make new friends and contacts across the world and exposing you to ideas and possibilities that might never have occurred to you had you remained solely in your home market.

Designed for all staff involved with dealing with international customers and suppliers, this course is based on over 20 years’ hands-on experience. It blends the introduction of key international customer service principles and best practice with videoed case studies, group discussions, a quiz to enhance and check the knowledge and scenario role play. Emphasis is made on learning through engaged analysis and practical interactive case studies.

By the end of this programme, attendees will be able to:

1. Manage their international customer service effectively, understand various cultural attitudes to customer service and customer support.

2. Analyse and understand international customer needs; decode body language; deal with customers across the language barrier and avoid the risk of causing offence.

3. Recognize and utilize different, country-specific customer service techniques and the powers of persuasion.

4. Understand culture specific attitudes to: questioning, service expectations, attitude to time and deadlines.

5. Manage misunderstandings and conflicts and deal with emergencies in accordance with national expectations of various cultures.

Click here to book your place on the next the International Customer Service training course

Anna Shevchenko is CEO of 3CN, a leading UK consultancy, specializing in cross-cultural risk management and conflict resolution. whose clients include international corporations, several UK government departments, the World Bank, the Council of Europe and the EU. She was involved in managing international customer service for two British corporations, leaders in their fields, before joining 3CN.

She speaks 8 languages, has lived and worked in 36 countries. She is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Defence Studies, DUKE CE, Leicester University, Canterbury Business school and a number of Diplomatic Academies across the world on the topics of ‘ Conflict, security and culture ‘ and ‘ Cross-cultural communication’.