Going Global: Mastering A Global Expansion
Hi there CX Scholars,
I wanted to extend a huge welcome to the 400+ folks who joined the newsletter in the last week or so.
It really means the world that you share this with friends and colleagues.
Thanks for tuning in!
You love to see a shorter week with the same amount of work to get done. It allows us to double down and meditate/medicate to get the work done. 🤪
Kidding aside, it’ll be a fun week here at JRB. We are toiling on our second Direct Mail campaign and putting in the work to prep for a big upcoming launch.
On a personal note, I’ll be heading to Amsterdam later this week and will be there for a week. Although I’ll be primarily working from there, it’s a good change of scenery.
The most exciting part about this trip is that it was paid for almost entirely by points accumulated from paying my rent on my Bilt card.
Round trip flight for the family + a 5-night stay at the Andaz Amsterdam, all for putting rent on my card.
Please hit me with your fav activities and eats!
One more thing: Cody and I just recorded a podcast talking all about what’s currently working on FB ads, and we also attempt to answer the age-old question: "Is it possible to over-optimize your website?"
Alright, enough dilly dally, let’s hop in. This newsie is inspired by a conversation I had recently had with Jess, Head of CX at Feastables.
We were chatting about “Global CX.”
How should you think about CX when you go from a domestic operation to a global one?
- Understand: Navigating Cultural Differences in CX for International Brands
- Expand: The Challenges of Taking Your Brand Global
- Listen: Gathering Customer Insights for Improved CX in Different Markets
- Optimize: Measuring the Effectiveness of CX Strategies in International Markets
This newsletter is brought to you by Northbeam.
Northbeam is a universal attribution platform that uses advanced data models and machine learning to give modern brands confidence in their media buying decisions, allowing them to scale profitably.
Jones Road Beauty uses Northbeam on the growth side to spend smarter and grow faster. Check out Northbeam here.
Understand: Navigating Cultural Differences in CX for International Brands
As some of you may know, back in 2016, I joined a Kickstarter luggage brand. It was my first CX-focused job, and we had customers in 64 different countries.
To say I was “thrown in on the deep end” would be an understatement. I hardly knew what I was doing, but I operated with a simple hypothesis:
Folks wanted to be seen and heard, and I would do everything possible to make that happen.
The Kickstarter campaign was completed in 2014, so I joined a full two years after the campaign, but not a single suitcase was shipped.
Fielding angry emails all day sure is fun, but fielding angry emails in 50-60 different languages?
A total blast.
Google translate was my friend.
I’d get an email in Russian and toss it into my trusty translate tool.
Then reply in English and throw it back to GT to help me appear like a native when I reply to them. Same with Portuguese, Chinese, and Italian.
You get the picture. What I missed was this:
It’s not just about language.
There are different expectations from customers in different countries. Some examples:
- UK customers expected VAT/Tariffs to be included, whereas customers from Brazil didn’t
- US and Singapore customers were okay waiting for preorders; Italians sure were not
These are obviously generalizations, but I sure saw trends.
Expand: The Challenges of Taking Your Brand Global
Aside from the cultural differences, there are also some practical challenges most brands don’t think of until after they get the wheels in motion.
Shipping products internationally is a headache, even for the most skilled operators.
If you opt for a warehouse in the country you are expanding to, keep in mind that getting inventory there is not as easy as just shipping it, whether by air or freight.
Something as ordinary as a “random” check at customs can hold up your inventory for days or weeks. Having a forwarder/broker help you push things through is imperative. Lots of paperwork is required.
If you choose to ship from your home country to the new country you are expanding into, keep in mind that there are customs declaration forms required for 99% of items shipped outside your country, and you’ll need your HS code to get started.
(More than 200 countries use the “harmonized commodity” description and coding system, aka HS Code, for international trade. This includes all major shipping countries such as the US, the UK, Australia, China, Japan, the European Union, Canada, and Turkey.)
Pros of shipping from a warehouse local to the new geography you are expanding to:
- Gets to customers quickly
- They won’t have to pay tariffs
- It might make sense if you are shipping quite a bit
- You must cover the VAT/Tariffs on all the inventory
- You must cover the shipping costs to the warehouse
- Most 3pl’s have a pretty high monthly minimum
Do some diligence before jumping in.
Brand: When launching in a new geography, it’s important to note some fundamental cultural differences (e.g., US vs UK), and while lots of brands do have universal messaging, some brands, like Coca Cola have different homepage focuses. US vs. UK homepage here:
Additionally, it’s worth asking yourself if there might be massive cultural differences between countries you sell in and others.
For example, in Japan, businesses often place a strong emphasis on building long-term relationships with customers rather than focusing on short-term sales.
This can mean businesses are more cautious about using aggressive sales tactics, such as upselling and cross-selling.
(I kind of made this up, but ChatGPT agrees)
This is a job for whoever is leading brand marketing. Audit your tone and messaging.
Creative: According to the Northbeam team, they often see ads that slay in the UK will fall flat in the USA. What you think is your "champion" ad can easily flop in your new market, and then you're back to the drawing board.
Northbeam’s clients with international brands use Northbeam to keep their omnichannel creative tests better organized.
Since you'll be back to the drawing board and building strategies nearly from scratch for, keeping it all organized in one place is necessary for lean teams.
Instead of just launching FB in some new market, you can handle omnichannel launches with crazy detailed experiments in a dozen markets simultaneously.
If you're crazy enough to try, that is.
If you are running the same emails for abandoned cart, welcome flow, post-purchase flow, etc., for multiple countries, ensure you get your pricing right.
It’s as simple as setting an if/then split in Klaviyo to give the correct pricing for folks in their region.
It’s crucial to audit your email/sms flows and ensure everything checks out.
As we’ve spoken about in the past, the easiest way to provide a stellar customer experience is to meet your expectations.
If shipping in the UK takes longer than in the US, tell folks what to expect in said email.
E.g., In the last few weeks, UK Royal Mail has had multiple strikes, causing UK deliveries to be severely delayed.
We added hide/show blocks to those emails letting customers know about the delays and are using Wonderment to keep folks in the loop in case anything unexpected arose.
Listen: Gathering Customer Insights for Improved CX in Different Markets.
You’ve done it. You launched into a new market. Ads are humming. Sales are popping.
You’re not done, though.
Far from it.
Listening to “customers” is essential, but how do you ensure you segment customer feedback by country? Some easy ways to segment feedback:
Tagging: Tag important feedback in your helpdesk with the country you receive feedback from so you can keep track of issues by country.
NPS: Segment your NPS sends by country using your Shopify data. At JRB, we set up our international NPS survey under a unique NPS campaign to easily see scores and more detailed analysis by country. We use Retently to do this.
Customer conversations: Those juicy customer conversations.
A common misconception is that these need to be recorded calls booked by a customer via Calendly.
My hot take: The more formal the call, the more buttoned up and pre-packaged the feedback gets.
If you want raw and unfiltered feedback, hop into the inbox and reply to the tickets of those eager to share. Use Google Translate to cross language barriers!
Optimize: Measuring the Effectiveness of CX Strategies in International Markets
When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your CX in a new region, surveys are a popular method as they can be easily distributed and completed within just moments, allowing for a large sample size of responses.
Focus groups, on the other hand, provide a more in-depth look at customer experiences and can reveal valuable insights through group discussion.
Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer satisfaction, retention, and conversion rates can also provide valuable information on the effectiveness of your global customer experience.
Satisfaction can be measured through NPS (Net Promoter Score), and retention can be tracked by monitoring customer churn and repeat business.
By monitoring these KPIs, you can identify areas of improvement and optimize your CX strategies as needed.
That's it for this week!
Any topics you'd like to see me cover in the future?
Just shoot me a DM or an email!
See you next week,
For this week's CX Chronicles, I'm excited to chat with a longtime reader and fan of the newsie, Elisa Bloch, CX Team Lead at monday.com.
This is the first CX tech interview, and I can't think of a better person to do it with.
Elisa, what is your CX philosophy?
No two requests are ever the same. In such a simple sentence, I find the core of CX and why it is such an interesting and complex field:
Behind a ticket, there's always an individual.
An individual with different needs, background, tech savviness, preferences, and even mood and time availability.
That is where the fun begins: putting the pieces together to understand the person "in front of us" and make sure we offer the best solution available for them based on that understanding, creating a memorable customer experience.
What's your favorite monday.com CX story?
At monday.com, we take our customer's product feedback very seriously.
In my opinion, a perfect example of this is our "holiday llamas" story:
Our unofficial company mascot is a llama, and within our platform, you can raise a "llama farm" of all your completed tasks to make your to-do list "come to life" in a more fun and engaging way.
One of our customers wrote in a few years ago with some interesting feedback. They hoped we could "dress up" his llamas with some holiday-themed accessories to get into the holiday spirit.
"Hold my coffee," said the team member handling his request, and our product team made sure that this feedback was heard loud and clear.
Since then, we have added all sorts of seasonal-themed animations to our platform, and the llamas are always dressed to impress.
It may sound like a silly story, but for me, this story perfectly exemplifies that we truly put our customers' needs and wants first, and are here to listen and implement wherever we can.