Deploying CX Across the World: Cross-cultural challenges

It’s an incredible time to watch our world become resurfaced by the power of technology and communication, which is driven by the decisions and preferences of the customer. As a result, all organizations are affected by these forces of globalization as customers become more widely dispersed, yet joined as one 24/7 interconnected village. The challenge organizations now face is how to expand their Customer Experience practices to reach the hearts and minds of an international and incredibly diverse population of consumers. What works in the US may not work in the UK; what makes sense in Singapore may not in Australia, and this is because of the diversity based in a person’s culture.

So new questions are begging to be answered:

  • What should organizations do when they prepare to enter new overseas markets?
  • How do CX practitioners deal with globalization?
  • What do they adapt in their international markets?

These are questions that CX practitioners will have to grapple with as they embark on a global journey. We explored these questions in a CXPA sponsored Asia Pacific Panel Webinar where we had three experts: Amit Chakrapani (India), Managing Director, CRM Academy of Asia; Stephanie Davis (USA) Customer Experience Manager, Microsoft; Jane Treadwell-Hoye (New Zealand), Managing Director, Epifani. These professionals shared their lessons for practitioners who wish to build customer focused systems across the globe.

10 Lessons from Global CX Practitioners

  1. As you consider entry into new cultures/countries, focus on co-opting local evangelists to understand the native character of the culture. For example, an ethnographic study of Japanese customers had Korean imagery in the communication tools.
  2. Design global CX initiatives “with” and not “for” others. For example, advocate in other countries can mean “lawyer,” and failing to understand such subtle differences can be a mistake.
  3. Embrace diversity as an asset to be exploited- homogeneity does not exist in this complex world.
  4. Use technology to collaborate across boundaries.
  5. Be sensitive to variations in behaviors. For example, the Japanese will read everything in meticulous detail before they implement any CX initiatives.
  6. Challenge your assumptions and ensure that they are not in conflict with local cultures by partnering with local ground resources.
  7. Define success within the context of local cultures and understand nuances that have to be woven into CX initiatives.
  8. Do not collapse regions into homogeneous entities– there are numerous differences even among close cultures such as Australia and New Zealand.
  9. Big data and technology tools without adaptation to local human nuances is a serious mistake. In India, referring to someone as ‘sir’ is respectful, not deference, and is a source of building relationships.
  10. NPS is not the same across the globe– their interpretations will vary. For example, score of 10 on an NPS scale will be challenging to achieve in Germany because customers don’t rate items at 10 as often as other cultures.

The central thematic takeaway from this conversation is a reminder to even those of us who have a global mindset, have traveled extensively, and who work across boundaries that embracing local resources is critical for success in global CX initiatives.

Watch the full-length webinar to learn more.

Mohamed Latib

Mohamed Latib

Mohamed Latib, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of CX University. Mohamed has been involved in CX work for over 30 years. In his previous company that he co-founded he implemented customer feedback solutions for such brands as Kohl’s Department Stores, Fossil, TransUnion, The World Bank, Project Management Institute, Citi Bank and many others. He provided executive briefings going past key metric dashboards to identify strategic insights. Mohamed has also designed and delivered numerous CX workshops and training modules for Delaware North, Konica Minolta, Crowe Horwath, Singapore Post, Malaysia Telekom, and Reliant Energy among many others. He has led numerous culture transformation initiatives and has done senior executive development work for Air Products, Pennsylvania Power & Light, Siemens, Smithfield Meats, Dominion Textiles, Unisys, and others. The author of many articles and professional papers, Dr. Latib, holds an MS in Psychology, MBA and a Ph.D. in Business Administration (Organizational Behavior, Human Resources, and Strategy) from the Fox School of Business and Management, Temple University.

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