The trend of American companies going global is ramping up rapidly. A recent survey by Wells Fargo, noted that the majority of US-based companies believe that the international component of their business will become more important to their financial success over the coming years. According to the Wells Fargo 2017 International Business Indicator, not only did respondents have more optimistic views of the international business outlook but 81% also replied that the international component of their business would become either “much more important” or “somewhat more important” to their company’s financial success. The extent of the year-on-year increase in optimism can be seen from the fact that only 54% answered similarly last year.
And it is not just US companies that are seeking to reap the rewards of international expansion. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s World Investment Report 2017 describes the global economic investment picture as “rosy”. It points out that higher economic growth expectations across major regions, a resumption of growth in trade and a recovery in corporate profits are supporting increases in foreign direct investment (FDI), with global flows estimated to have increased to almost $1.8tn in 2017, continuing to $1.85tn in 2018.
But while the benefits of global expansion can be compelling, actually setting up a presence in a new country has, in the past, posed some daunting challenges, particularly in the field of IT and telecoms provision. Depending on the business, companies may need to establish a physical office space, hire local staff and then provision essential voice and data connectivity, often from a local provider. This processes has been expensive, time consuming and challenging, due to multiple factors including linguistic issues, unfamiliar or complex local regulations and the need to both select and manage relationships with as yet untrusted local suppliers.
In an era of internet-trading and virtual offices, companies may be able to avoid some of the headaches associated with establishing a physical presence. But some things are necessary and unavoidable – such as acquiring local inbound calling numbers.
Establishing local voice connectivity should be seen as an essential priority for companies expanding into new regions and markets. Experts in behavioural science have long held that voice is the second most important form of communication, after body language. Thus it is no surprise that, even in this age of multi-channel communication, voice persists as the most effective way of interacting with customers and maintaining customer satisfaction – especially when making first contact in a new market. Furthermore, the value of voice is especially apparent when dealing with more complex interactions between end customers and enterprises. Issues like account opening/closure, booking multi-stage travel, or explanation of intricate terms and service policies cannot be achieved with automated self-service portals, but must rely on the human touch.
Indeed, Kate Leggett vice president, principal analyst at Forrester, noted in a recent briefing, Top Customer Service Trends For 2018, that the most important customer interactions are typically handled via voice communication: “Agent interactions will be reserved for escalations for more complex issues that require diagnosis and empathy. This means that customer service organisations will no longer need tier one agents, and must become high-touch centres that handle critical customer interactions. These organisations will focus on the quality of interactions as measured by customer retention and lifetime value.”
So savvy enterprises are looking for opportunities to overcome the challenges of international expansion by introducing voice touchpoints as a way of getting rapidly up to speed. One way of doing this is to rely on services being developed by trusted operators in the enterprise’s established operating territories. Innovative services such as Colt Voice On Demand allow dynamic procurement of new voice services across 20+ global territories from a single dedicated customer portal. This gives enterprises one centralised control screen to manage service numbers from order to cease seamlessly across all countries. This allows enterprises to create an almost-instant commercial presence in multiple territories around the world through the roll out localised voice services.
Furthermore, enterprises are provided with easy to access relevant national regulatory information via the portal so they can make sure they are compliant in every country of operation. While new telephone numbers can be provisioned in a few clicks, an automated process to implement complex routings is also carried out online through visual scripts. This leaves you free to focus on building up new business in your expanded markets.
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John Baldwin, Product Manager, Voice, Colt Technology Services
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