Increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits up to 95%. That’s why brands should pay as much attention to customer service and success when shipping internationally as they do for domestic order fulfillment.
This can seem easier said than done when you consider other international shipping factors like customs duties and taxes. However, the process can be made much simpler with a little bit of background research and the strategic allocation of resources toward your global sales goals.
Let’s explore how to increase customer loyalty through optimized customer success, with a particular focus on international shipping. We’ve identified five key factors to drive greater impact in this area, but first let’s clarify why it matters so much for your brand’s success in expanding globally.
Why Customer Success Matters in International Shipping
When you think about delivering customer satisfaction, your mind might first jump to some of the usual factors cited as leading indicators that it’s being achieved:
- Quality of the product or service
- Level of customer service
- ROI for the customer
- Overall satisfaction with the company
For global e-commerce customers outside your domestic market, however, international shipping needs to be part of the conversation as well. It ties into many of these customer satisfaction factors, but from its own unique angle.
As the most direct touchpoint between your brand and its customers (other than the actual use of a product), shipping profoundly impacts the perception of your brand. Let’s consider why this is more closely, with the aim of reverse-engineering standout international customer service as part of your broader global shipping approach.
- First Impressions Matter: The unboxing moment – the physical manifestation of your brand in the customer's hands – sets the tone for the entire customer-brand relationship. Reliable delivery, accompanied by thoughtful packaging, can spark joy and create a lasting impression.
- Meeting Expectations: Customers worldwide have learned to anticipate a seamless online shopping experience – one that includes transparent pricing, accurate delivery timelines, and hassle-free returns. By delivering on these expectations, you build trust and nurture loyalty.
- Going the Extra Mile: Offering global shipping in the first place communicates that your brand is willing to go the extra mile to meet customer needs. It signifies that you value your international prospects as much as your domestic ones.
- Keeping Promises: Shipping isn't just about moving a product from Point A to Point B. It's about keeping your promise to the customer. When their package arrives on time and in perfect condition (or when the occasional issue becomes quickly and effectively resolved) it signals that you're a brand that keeps its word.
- Problem Resolution: Problems do occur, but it's the resolution that counts. Efficient and empathetic resolution of shipping issues can transform a potentially negative experience into a positive one, strengthening the customer-brand relationship. While accidents happen, consumers should know that your brand can be trusted to make things right when they do.
And so, we see that international shipping isn’t a mere add-on to your sales strategy. Rather, consider it an opportunity to meet expectations of your brand, or even exceed them, across the world.
But how, exactly, is this accomplished?
5 Key Factors of International Shipping That Impact Customer Success
Here are some common factors for targeting a productive customer success experience when shipping around the world:
- Pricing Transparency: Unexpected fees at checkout are one of the main reasons for cart abandonment. Offering transparent, landed cost pricing – where all applicable taxes, duties, and shipping fees are disclosed upfront – ensures a smooth checkout experience and avoids unpleasant surprises.
- Efficient Delivery: Customers today value efficiency. Reliable shipping can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and encourage repeat purchases. This doesn’t have to mean two-day shipping, but accurate timelines and frequent and clear communications can go a long way towards satisfaction.
- Customer Support as a Dialogue: Shipping is more than just a physical process; it's an ongoing conversation with your customer. Offering proactive updates, addressing questions, and resolving issues promptly can create a positive shipping experience. And don’t be afraid to get creative.
- Customs and Duties: Dealing with customs can be a hassle for customers. Providing a Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) option, where you include all customs duties and taxes, simplifies the process for your customer and ensures their packages get delivered without a hiccup.
- Packaging: Your package represents your brand in the customer's hands. Thoughtful, personalized packaging can create a memorable unboxing experience and enhance brand perception.
You may already know a lot of this from your domestic success in serving your customers. While the remainder may seem intimidating or complex when it comes to international shipping – it doesn’t have to be.
How The Right International Shipping Partner Can Enhance Customer Success
Optimized customer success within your international shipping doesn’t have to feel like a maze. In fact, it’s not one.
But a strategy for addressing its complexities can often benefit from outsourcing your brand’s implementation to a reliable partner who can navigate this unfamiliar terrain more effectively.
A good shipping partner will offer a comprehensive solution that covers all aspects of international shipping, while keeping your customers at the heart of it all.
Case Study: Tackle International Shipping Issues and Increase ROI
Consider the example of Snow, a company operating at the intersection of beauty and oral care. As Snow endeavored to distribute their products globally, they encountered some international shipping challenges.
Prior to their partnership with Passport, Snow faced issues ranging from customs delays to unreliable tracking information. However, after integrating Passport's solutions, they were able to see great results.
One of the key improvements was a 50%+ reduction in average shipping times. Snow also saw an impressive 96% reduction in 1 and 2-star ratings for international shipments.
These improvements allowed Snow to focus on their primary objective of expanding their global footprint in the beauty and oral care industry. As their new, trusted partner in international shipping, Passport was able to support Snow’s customer success and loyalty goals by handling the finer details of this expansion.
Exceptional International Shipping Requires Exceptional Customer Success
By now, it should be clear that international shipping is about more than simply checking off the box of international expansion for your brand. Rather, it’s a crucial element of your overall customer success strategy.
A streamlined, transparent, and efficient international shipping process can significantly enhance your customers' shopping experience, leading to increased customer satisfaction, repeat purchases, and brand loyalty. Brands who want that 95% increase in profits will need to earn it by addressing the factors we’ve discussed here today. This will take work, but there are partners out there who know the process in and out.
By offloading the surmountable but time-consuming complexities of international shipping to an experienced partner like Passport, you can instead continue to focus on your core business. Your brand can continue to deliver a seamless shopping experience to customers, regardless of where they are in the world.
Want to learn more about international shipping with Passport? Reach out to our team here.