1. Measure twice and cut once
It needs to be said: no amount of luck or money will prepare you for a European expansion better than research will. If you want to minimise the risk of upscaling your business, you need to study your target market and create a viable business case and accurate forecasts.
Europe is not a single market, so blanket approaches tend not to yield the best results. To avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your operational teams, learn the particularities of the region you are expanding to and adapt your plans based on facts, not conjectures. That way you will be prepared for most of the challenges you may encounter along the way.
2. Find the right talent
Europeans are known to prefer customer service delivered by native speakers in their native language. They also tend to expect higher service quality and give lower feedback scores. Finding and retaining the best talent in such circumstances is vital to consolidating your business in Europe.
On the one hand, native customer service teams provide the level of comfort that European clients are accustomed to. On the other hand, they will grant you a deeper understanding of customer habits and the way users are experiencing your product or service in each region. Multilingual customer care will improve your product standing and delight your customers.
3. "Mind the gap"
Not all European countries are alike when it comes to labour laws, taxation systems and economic development. Especially as you begin recruiting, you need to be aware of these differences - they may affect the speed with which you can onboard new team members and respond to business demand.
You need to have a firm grasp of European law before expanding to the region, and aim for as much recruitment lead time as possible to build a strong starter team.
4. Choose quality over quantity
Do not underestimate the temptation to go big or go home. But where expansion is concerned, the best action plan is to start small, with a core team of skilled people supported by the absolute best tools and processes. Because that way you can start to deliver high quality support from day 1, and scale up your team as business picks up speed minimum effort and operational strain.
Customer satisfaction is not just about products or services. Often enough, it is about customer service quality. Regardless of the reason for contact, you want to make sure your customers get the best service you can possibly give them. And that only happens when you put quality first.
5. Grow true, grow smart
When you have a strong business back home it's only natural to want to replicate that success in new markets. There are countless tips and tricks out there, but there is only one You. Your expansion strategy should play to your strengths as a company and as a team. Strive to instill the same passion in your new European team and focus on delivering consistently excellent customer support..
Once you establish a well-oiled starter team and reach the desired level of service quality and customer satisfaction, you can start to increase your reach and, consequently, your staff. You will have a better idea of what to improve and your European operations will grow in a smart, sustainable way that stays true to your company spirit and to your customers.
Different companies approach expansion differently, but there is no denying that having a partner with experience in your target market is an important asset. By partnering with an outsourcing provider, you have a much better chance of rolling out your product or service to Europe without delay. It is an opportunity which, thanks to technology, is becoming more and more accessible with each day.
If you have made up your mind about expanding to Europe, outsourcing might just be the difference between failure and success.