Managing customer experiences for any enterprise is a difficult task -- and when customers are spread globally across numerous countries and languages, the difficulties are even greater. However, according to a new report from Forrester and sponsored by SDL, these problems can be resolved.

Planning is the Key to Successful Strategy

Like everything in IT, the key to resolving these issues is planning: first, identifying exactly what the problems are and second, developing a strategy to resolve those issues without too much disruption.

The paper's starting point is that because of the rapid development of new and (literally) far-reaching technologies, enterprises are facing the problem of having to manage customer experience in places and cultures that are unfamiliar to them.

This is clearly a problem. But it would be possible to argue that it is one that has always existed -- and the real issue is that customers expect a lot more these days due to the development of CXM technologies.

But that’s a discussion for another day. According to the Forrester white paper  "Global Processes Help To Deliver Local Customer Experiences,"  the globalization of products and the increasing difficulty in distinguishing different brands of the same product has led to one real differentiator for enterprises -- the quality of the customer experience they deliver.

The report also states that distinguishing different brands will be even harder in the future, as the widespread use of digital technologies will make customers more aware of the global landscape and give them higher expectations.

Connecting with Global, Local Customers

The development of global markets now requires that enterprises not only make physical in-roads into each market, but also that they provide a relevant customer experience in each market.

Localization has been an IT discipline for years, but the wider the market -- and the further the reach of the company -- the more difficult it is to do. Forrester suggests a framework for putting a plan into place:

  1. Local brands, local CXM strategy: Recognize that customer experience is the customers' perception of the way they see themselves interacting with a company. It is local by definition.
  2. Developing clear understanding of the local customer base: This is almost Marketing 101, but it basically means getting to know your local markets by understanding what the customers are thinking. Social media analysis might be considered a good example of this.
  3. Experiences relevant to local market: From the research into customer wants and needs, enterprises should develop local solutions -- and translate insights into local action.
  4. Governance: Companies need to develop the best processes and practices, and apply them to local markets.
  5. Metrics: Enterprises need to have a collection of global metrics to compare results of initiatives across markets, and measuring the success of regional and local campaigns.
  6. Customer-centric culture: The key to a successful customer experience strategy and culture is putting the customer at the center of it. This can be achieved by hiring practices, socialization of customer experience strategies and a rewards system.

While the report suggests that companies need to rethink their approach, it would probably be more accurate to suggest that companies need to check that their approach has not deviated from the right path.

Many companies already have mature and developed global CXM strategies. But there is always room for improvement, especially as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries are generally regarded as displaying the most growth potential in the medium term.

In all five BRICS countries there are radically different regional considerations that need to be taken into account. But it is important to remember that each country has within it distinct local markets to be considered as well.