🇦🇺 Australia

Australian customers have low expectations from businesses and generally expect after-sales support quality to be bad, but they still end up being disappointed since the support provided does not match their thresholds.

Customer Expectations

Customers have low expectations

Australian consumers do not expect good support or service after a sale. Providing a good experience alone can easily set a business apart from their competition.

Customers give only one chance

Australian consumers do not expect prompt response nor do they expect a quick resolution. However, they expect their problems to be resolved on first contact itself. FCRs > Response Times

Transparency and fairness

Consumers value price transparency very highly. They will pay extra for support as long as it is communicated clearly by businesses before the sale.

Communication

Sorry in English

...is Sorry. Australians mostly speak English.

Customers want to feel heard

Australians want to feel heard when they complain and want to be acknowledged for having stayed loyal to a business when they call to report problems.

Customers prefer self-help guides

More Australians prefer solutions via knowledge base than an actual agent. In case of actual agents, Australians prefer that the agents are local.

Customers want personalized support

Australian consumers want support agents to be aware of their purchase history, and previous interactions when communicating and are open to sharing their data in exchange for a better, more customized, support experience.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Make sure you have accurate responses to a customer’s questions. Australian customers do not like repeated interactions with service agents.
  • Australian consumers gave ‘Honesty and Transparency’ in business interactions higher importance over ‘Solving problems quickly’ when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Don’ts
  • Do not transfer calls from Australian customers to a different representative more than once. They will get annoyed and you will lose their trust.
  • Do not expect customers to pay extra after they call to report a problem. That is the easiest way to lose their trust and business.

🇧🇷 Brazil

A long recession has left Brazilian customers incredibly price-sensitive and wary of brands. Customers seek to build good relationships with representatives and agents rather than maintaining loyalty to any brand or business.

Customer Expectations

Customers want quick solutions

Brazilian customers expect immediate resolutions for their problems.

Extra support charges are a huge No

Brazilian customers are very price-sensitive and will not be open to paying more for good customer support.

Communication

“Desculpa” is Sorry

Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, but a small segment of the population also speaks German.

Customers want personalized support

Brazilian customers welcome personalized customer support. Proactively providing solutions can have a huge, positive impact on how customers perceive your business.

Agents are the face of the company

Brazilians build relationships with businesses through the people representing it. Support agents should be careful since their actions will be seen as the organization’s actions.

Business does not mean formal

Customers are okay with business representatives being informal. They would also like to interact with the same agent or representative every time.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • It is okay to interrupt your customers when talking. They will do the same. This is a sign of interest.
  • Maintain eye contact in case of face-to-face conversations
  • Customers have a relaxed approach to punctuality or adherence to appointment times or call schedules. However business representatives are advised to stick to schedules as much as possible.
  • Ask for feedback after the support interaction because it builds trust.
Don’ts
  • The OK gesture (👌) is very rude. Do not use it.
  • Brazilian Portuguese has a different accent and pace than the Portuguese spoken in Portugal. It is recommended that you hire agents locally to ensure your customers have a better experience.

🇨🇦 Canada

Canadian customers are willing to pay more for better products as well as for exclusive service. However, Canadian customers are also less forgiving of mistakes and will rarely give businesses second chances.

Customer Expectations

Customers want a quick response

Canadian consumers expect a quick response when they contact businesses regarding problems and are willing to wait for a solution.

Customers have low tolerance

Consumers will not tolerate poor service and will switch businesses due to just one bad customer support experience.

Extra support charges are common

Customers are happy to pay more for better service and will stay loyal despite extra charges as long as support continues to be good.

Communication

Sorry in English

...is Sorry. Canada has two official languages - English and French. Sorry in French is Désolé.

Customers want personalized support

Customers appreciate a customized experience when they contact support. Businesses intending to track customers to improve experience will need to abide by Canada’s data protection laws.

Customers expect transparency

Customers want to be informed regularly on how their problem is being solved and like transparency in their business interactions.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • It is okay to interrupt customers to offer a solution or to make your own point.
  • It is okay to say 'no' directly to a customer. But explain clearly your reasons for denial.
Don’ts
  • Do not overpromise. Be transparent about what you can and cannot deliver.
  • In case you need to estimate delivery dates, it is advisable to give a later delivery date that you can meet rather than an earlier one that you cannot.
  • Do not keep customers waiting for a response. Customers expect updates regularly.

🇨🇳 China

China has a strong, growing economy, with healthy competition in most industries and sectors. This means the consumer is spoilt for choice and will not hesitate to switch businesses in search of a better experience. Businesses focus heavily on building better relationships with customers since word-of-mouth can make or break profits in local markets.

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate solutions

Consumers in China have high expectations from the businesses they patronize and will expect immediate solutions.

Extra support charges are rare

Good customer service is often used as a way to stand out from the competitors in China and customers will not be open to paying extra for it.

Communication

抱歉 (bàoqiàn) is sorry

Mandarin is spoken in Beijing and mostly in Northern and Southwestern China. Cantonese is spoken in Hong Kong, Macau and in the south eastern provinces. Sorry in Mandarin is bàoqiàn (pronounced - Ba-o-see-yen) Sorry in Cantonese is deuim̀hjyuh (pronounced deum-juh)

Customers expect to be heard

Chinese customers want to feel heard when they talk to a customer support representative. Offer them that space. Interrupting them to offer the solution will still be seen as rude.

Customers want personalized support

Traditionally, Chinese customers and industries have not placed much value on privacy and customers will share data for better support. Proactive support, especially, is seen as a huge sign of trust and reliability since it portrays the business as being interested in the well-being of the customer.

Freebies are not always legal

Freebies are often given to customers in B2C markets as compensation for a poor experience or as part of good customer service. However in a B2B situation, this may be construed as a bribe and is illegal with strict punishments.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Be patient. Loyalty requires trust, which in China means repeated interactions and relationship-building.
  • Localization helps immensely in Chinese markets with most consumers preferring either Mandarin or Cantonese to communicate.
Don’ts
  • Do not say 'no' directly. Chinese culture requires that even in business situations rejections are done indirectly.
  • In case of face-to-face conversations, do not maintain eye contact for long as this is seen as rude and aggressive.

🇪🇬 Egypt

Hard negotiations, small talk, and business through relationships — support agents and representatives will need to know how to handle all three for a better experience when selling to, and supporting Egyptian customers.

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate response

Customers expect prompt response from businesses but are willing to wait for solutions as long as support agents are approachable and empathetic.

Extra support charges are common

Paying extra for support is not unheard of, however, consumers are price-sensitive and will have higher expectations from businesses if asked to pay extra.

Trust through relationships

Egyptian customers place a huge emphasis on ‘business through relationships’ and will prefer to interact with the same support or sales agents again and again.

Communication

آسف(Ae-sifer) is Sorry

Arabic is the most commonly spoken language in Egypt.

Customers expect to be heard

Customers expect support agents to listen when they are venting. Interruption is considered rude.

Customers want support in Arabic

It is strongly recommended that businesses hire support agents locally or provide support in Arabic to Egyptian customers.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Be personable and open to small talk. Customers may engage with sales or support agents as a means of building a relationship with the business. It will be considered rude if agents do not reciprocate.
  • Be patient. Meetings tend to proceed slowly and customers may spend time venting their problems.
  • Keep in mind the titles of the customer and address them accordingly. Higher echelons of the Egyptian business tend to be very conservative and will demand formality and respect.
Don’ts
  • Don’t say 'no'. In Egypt, it is okay to debate and argue alternative possibilities with the customers. However a 'no' is still frowned upon and rejections will need to be indirect.

🇫🇷 France

The stereotype that the French waiters are rude and the famous gallic shrug pop into mind immediately when people think of french customer service. But the truth is, you can’t buy customer support in France. As the French say, “Plaie d'argent n'est pas mortelle.” (Life is not all about money)

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate response

French customers do not mind waiting for a resolution but want to know immediately whether you can solve their problem or not.

Customers expect transparency

French customers would like it if support processes were more transparent across industries and if they had easier access to information.

Extra support charges are a huge NO

Businesses do not typically charge extra for support. Customer service is seen as a way to build better relationships.

Communication

“Désolé” is Sorry

French is the official language with over 25 different dialects spoken in France. Depending on the region, customers may also speak one of the dozen different regional languages.

Customers want privacy

After GDPR, businesses have to obtain explicit consent from customers before using their data for proactive support purposes.

Greet customers properly

Customers expect to be greeted properly when they enter or exit shops. So say hello and goodbye (au revoir) to every caller or visitor.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • It is okay to interrupt and ask questions when the customer is talking. Customers will do the same to you.
  • You can admit that a problem can’t be fixed to a customer. Customer are okay with a direct ‘no’.
  • Always greet customers formally with ‘Monsieur’ or ‘Mademoiselle’

🇩🇪 Germany

In Germany, efficiency and punctuality do not translate to great support. And traditionally, many businesses have considered their relationship with the customer to begin and end with a sale.

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate response

Germans typically do not like waiting for a response. According to one survey, customers were willing to wait on the phone only upto 3 minutes.

Customers want support in German

German customers expect agents to speak in German. You need not cater to local dialects but can impress customers better with High German.

Extra support charges are rare

German customers expect good customer service from businesses and charging extra for support can break their trust in your business.

Communication

“Tut mir leid” is Sorry

Broadly divided into Low German and High German, over 35 different dialects are spoken in Germany. However, most customers expect businesses to communicate in High German.

Customers want privacy

Privacy is highly valued and GDPR is applicable. Tracking customers without consent to provide proactive support can actually break their trust.

Address customers properly

Please pay attention to titles. Customers expect to be addressed by Herr (for men) or Frau (for women) followed by their surnames.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Be open about what you can and cannot deliver. Transparency is appreciated.
  • It is acceptable to say ‘No’ directly to a customer’s request.
Don’ts
  • Even five-minute delays may be interpreted as a sign of tardiness/unreliability. Make sure you are punctual when meeting German customers.
  • Do not interrupt when the customer is talking.This is considered rude.

🇮🇳 India

India has over 22 different languages and has one of the largest English speaking populations in the world. Cultures differ vastly even between neighbouring regions. It is challenging to provide guidelines on how to deal with an Indian customer since their characteristics and expectations is entirely different based on the region they are from and the language they speak. That being said, here are some points to keep in mind regarding the average Indian customer.

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate response

Indian customers prefer their problems to be acknowledged almost immediately when they complain to businesses and are willing to wait for solutions.

Customers expect transparency

Transparency and constant communication regarding the problem are immensely appreciated by the Indian customer.

Extra support charges are not unusual

Indian markets are price-sensitive. Businesses still charge extra for support, however customer expectations of “good support” tends to increase when they are asked to pay for it.

Communication

Sorry in English

...is Sorry.

Customers want personalized support

There are no specific laws revolving around consumer tracking or data gathering in India yet. Most Indian customers are also willing to let businesses access personal data in exchange for a better experience.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • It is okay to address customers by their name. However Mr./Mrs./Miss is typically prefixed. Not every customer will have a surname.
  • Some customers may expect compensation for their problems — either discounts on their next purchase, reduction in bills or freebies.
Don’ts
  • Do not say 'no' directly. This is considered rude.
  • Speaking in the wrong Indian language to a customer who does not understand will mostly be seen as an amusing mistake but it can sometimes be taken as a severe insult and can break the customer’s experience.

🇮🇹 Italy

A country with a long history of ateliers and craftsmen, customers want products only of very high quality and prefer not contacting support. Good after-sales service is seen as a show of faith in your product and helps build better relationships with the customer.

Customer Expectations

Customers will not tolerate delays

Italian customers do not mind waiting for a solution, as long as you stick to the deadlines. Always give conservative ETAs for solutions which you are sure to achieve.

Extra support charges are a huge No

Customers expect high quality products and are price-sensitive. Making them pay extra for support will break their trust.

Communication

“Mi scusi” is Sorry

Over 34 languages are spoken in Italy. However, the official and most widely spoken language is Standard Italian.

Customers want personalized support

Italian customers love personalized experiences in their interactions with a business, but make sure you abide by the GDPR laws.

Address customers properly

Always address customers formally with ‘Signor’ or ‘Signora’.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • It is okay to interrupt the customer when they are talking to provide your input. They will do the same to you as well. See France.
  • Maintain eye contact in case of face-to-face conversations with a customer. Not doing so may be interpreted as a sign of deceit.
Don’ts
  • Do not say 'no' directly. Phrases like “That can be considered.” or “We will look into that idea” should be used instead to reject customers.
  • Do not address a customer by first name unless they already know you well. Stick to Signor/Signora followed by last names.

🇯🇵 Japan

Japanese customers have some of the strictest and most demanding expectations in the world. Expecting high quality in products is the norm in Japan. Typically, businesses are given only one chance. In one survey run by AmEx, over 56% of japanese consumers said they will switch businesses after just one bad experience.

Customer Expectations

Customers expect responses immediately

It is important that queries are immediately responded to when customers get in touch. They expect at least an acknowledgement of their issue and that you are working on solving it.

Customers want transparency

Japanese customers will expect you to diagnose what the issue is and explain in detail how you will fix it.

Extra support charges are absurd

Paying extra for customer support is considered patently absurd in the Japanese markets. They expect to buy high quality products and in case of failure, expect businesses to set it right. Charging customers more to fix a faulty product will cause customers to drop the business entirely.

Communication

ごめんなさい (Gomen'nasai) is Sorry

The national language of Japan is Japanese and over a dozen dialects are spoken by the residents. It is highly recommended that businesses provide customer support in Japanese.

Business through relationships and trust

Like other Asian markets, Japanese customers place huge emphasis on relationships. In a B2B support scenario, this means repeated, continuous interactions and long discussions.

Business hierarchies matter

In case of any mistake or failure, the Japanese expect profuse apologies. Bowing is the norm in face-to-face conversations. Apologies are considered more seriously when they come from higher in the hierarchy.

Never miss a deadline

Even estimated or unofficial deadlines are taken very seriously. Missing deadlines is considered a sign of inefficiency and will break the customer’s trust easily.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Listen carefully to your customers when they vent. Japanese customers expect to be heard as part of good customer service. They will also notice how you react to feedback.
  • In B2B support, service providers typically dedicate specific contacts for each business who will be reachable at any time of the day.
  • Proactively follow up with customers to ensure their experience is good. This will be interpreted as a sign that your business is interested in the goodwill of the customer and will ensure repeat business.
Don’ts
  • Do not say 'no' to Japanese customers, even to complicated requests. This is interpreted as a sign that your business that is not willing to go the full mile for your customers, especially in B2B scenarios. Rejections/negations will have to be done indirectly.
  • Do not miss deadlines, ever. If customers ask for an ETA, it is okay to overestimate and provide a date much later that you can definitely meet. Underestimating delivery dates and asking for a deadline extension will break the customer’s trust. See Italy.

🇰🇪 Kenya

English and Swahili, two of the most spoken languages, are frequently used in business. However, Kenyan customers prefer Swahili not only for customer support but also when being targeted for advertisements, sales, and user onboarding.

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate responses

Kenyan customers expect prompt responses to their queries. Any delay in responding will be seen as a sign of an uncaring business and customers will switch to an alternative brand.

Customers expect constant updates

Customers expect to remain informed of the situation constantly and more importantly, expect deadlines/delivery dates to be adhered to closely.

Extra support charges are common

Kenyan customers are more than willing to pay a premium in return for better product quality, and superior support experience. However, businesses are expected to earn their trust before customers can be convinced to pay extra.

Communication

“Pawhley” is Sorry

English and Swahili are the official languages of Kenya. There are 68 other languages that are spoken widely throughout the population, however localization for these is not expected.

Customers want support in Swahili

It is strongly recommended to hire agents locally and provide support in Swahili in order to retain customer loyalty.

Customers want personalized support

Kenyans do not mind sharing personal data in exchange for better service.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Be punctual in case of appointments or scheduled customer calls. Customers expect punctuality from business representatives and private organization actors.
  • Address customers with Mr. or Miss/Mrs.
  • Hire local representatives who can speak Swahili. While a significant part of the population can speak English, having a local representative can help avoid misunderstandings.
Don’ts
  • Avoid disagreeing or debating openly and loudly as this is seen as a sign of unculturedness and customers will lose respect for the representative and the business.
  • Do not say 'no' directly. In case you wish to reject customers’ ideas or suggestions, it will have to be done indirectly.

🇲🇽 Mexico

Mexican customers tend to heavily rely on connections. They will take their relationships with your sales and support representatives into consideration when conducting business and making decisions.

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate responses

Mexican customers just want businesses to acknowledge immediately when they complain about problems. They are willing to wait longer for solutions.

Customers want to stay up to date

Customers expect businesses to communicate with them constantly regarding their problem and how it is being solved. Relationships drive business in Mexico and constant communication is key.

Communication

“Lo siento” is Sorry

Mexico has around 68 languages from two main language families. But most Mexicans are fluent in Spanish and business is conducted predominantly in Spanish.

Business hierarchies matter

The Mexican society gives great importance to structures and hierarchies in businesses. A 'no' from a manager is accepted better than a 'no' from a Level 1 or Level 2 agent in the frontlines.

Customers want personalized support

Personalizing their experience and providing help before customers reach out to businesses is seen as a strong sign of trust and helpfulness.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Small talk is expected before beginning any conversation related to business.
  • Build a personal relationship with the customer. They will remain loyal to your business, and you will get a lot of referrals and repeat business.
Don’ts
  • It is considered rude in business contexts to say 'no' directly. Statements like “We can consider that” or “We will look into it” typically are used instead of a ‘No’. See Japan.
  • Do not expect punctuality from your customers for calls or appointments but they will expect business representatives to be on time.

🇳🇬 Nigeria

With over 520 languages and vastly different cultures, customer expectations and behaviour vary considerably in Nigeria and it is difficult to provide a specific set of guidelines that fits everyone. However, here are some general tips to keep in mind.

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate responses

Nigerian customers expect to be acknowledged immediately when they contact support. They are willing to wait for a solution.

Customers want to stay up to date

Nigerian customers, especially in a B2B scenario, expect the business they are dealing with to be very communicative regarding problems and the steps taken to solve it.

Extra support charges are common

Nigerian consumers are okay with paying extra for customer support but will have higher expectations when doing so. Free customer service is commonly used as a market differentiator.

Communication

Sorry is Sorry

Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and English are the four official languages of Nigeria. But most businesses are conducted in English and customers will expect the same from you.

Customers want support in English

Over 75% of Nigerians speak English but live in the cities. In case you wish to localize your business interactions, it is highly recommended to hire local agents.

Customers want personalized support

There are three different laws that govern the usage of customer data however, consumers themselves are open to sharing data for better services.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Pay attention to titles and address customers accordingly to show respect. For customers whose titles you are not aware of, Mr. or Miss/Mrs. can be used.
Don’ts
  • Do not say 'no' directly. Saying 'no' is a huge sign of disrespect against Nigerian customers. In case you wish to reject or negate an idea/proposal, do it indirectly.
  • Do not expect punctuality. Being late or tardy does not affect perception as much as in other countries.
  • In case of face-to-face conversations, avoid prolonged eye contact. Maintaining eye contact for too long will be seen as disrespectful.

🇵🇪 Peru

Peruvians prefer an indirect style of communication and prefer to avoid direct confrontations or disagreements even in business. Punctuality is also not highly valued with meetings sometimes starting upto 30 minutes late. Agents will need to keep this mind when catering to Peruvian customers.

Customer Expectations

Customers want quick responses

Peruvian customers trust businesses based on how quickly they respond to questions. Customers are willing to wait longer for a solution.

Extra support charges are rare

Peruvian customers are very price-sensitive. Businesses will have to meet very high expectations if they charge for customer support.

Communication

“Lo siento” is Sorry

The official language of Peru is Spanish and the population largely speaks one of the three major dialects.

Peruvians want support in Spanish

Peruvians expect businesses to cater to them in Spanish. It is highly recommended that businesses localize their offerings to cater to the Peruvian markets.

Business hierarchies matter

Peruvians are very aware of hierarchies. Refer to customers as ‘Senhor’ for men or ‘Senhora’ for women unless they are regulars who are used to informality.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Small talk is welcome even in a business or customer support context.
  • Maintain eye contact in face-to-face conversations with customers. Failing to do so is seen as a sign of deception or untrustworthiness.
Don’ts
  • Do not say 'no' directly. Peruvian social customs frown upon directly rejecting or confronting each other. Conversations tend to be indirect with lots of implications and any rejection need to be delivered gracefully in an indirect manner.

🇷🇺 Russia

With successive economic crises and a depreciated ruble, Russian customers are incredibly wary of spending money and prefer to purchase quality over brand. Customers expect all fees/support charges to be presented before any purchase to make better decisions. Not doing so will severely break their trust.

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate responses

Russian customers tend to be quality-conscious, wary of businesses and are not easily trusting. Responding quickly to their concerns is the best way to create an impact.

Customers expect transparency

Providing explanations regarding their problems and how you will solve it will help immensely in building trust with your customers in Russia.

Customers prefer dealing in person

Customers will prefer to talk to a person even when purchasing items online.

Communication

сожалею(sozhaleyu) is Sorry

Russian is the national language, which is also spoken widely in Eastern Europe.

Customers want support in Russian

With a relatively small English speaking population, businesses are strongly advised to localize and hire support agents who can speak Russian fluently.

Customers are okay with handing over their personal data

Only 11% of Russian respondents were extremely concerned about the way companies handle and use their personal data in a survey by KPMG. Most are willing to share personal data in exchange for better, more customized customer service.

Extra support chargers are unusual

Russian consumers tend to be price conscious and will not react well to being asked to pay more for customer service. In case of extra customer service charges, Russian consumers will have high expectations.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Russian customers tend to be loyal to brands they use. So good customer support can help in building repeat business easily.
  • Address customers with Gospodin (for men) or Gospođa (for women) followed by their name to be formal.

🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia

According to the 2018 McKinsey consumer survey, Saudi consumers are increasingly becoming price conscious. Businesses might have to reconsider charging more for support as customers move to cheaper options.

Customer Expectations

Customers want quick solutions

Customers from Saudi Arabia are very diligent and buy only from reputable businesses. Customer issues are expected to be solved immediately.

Speed rather than transparency

Customers do want excuses or explanations or updates into how their problems are solved. They just want solutions.

Extra support charges are very common

Customers accept that good support might cost extra. However, free customer service is typically used as a selling point to customers.

Communication

آسف (Ae-sifer) is sorry

Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia with three regional variants. However, a large expat population contributes to the linguistic diversity of Saudi Arabia.

Customers want personalized support

Customers are okay with sharing personal data if it results in better, proactive customer service. While there are no specific data protection laws yet, Sharia principles apply. So make sure you abide by the Kingdom’s laws on secrecy and privacy before tracking user behaviour.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Engage with Saudi customers closely. Trust and relationships play a key role in ensuring repeat business.
  • Localization helps immensely if you wish to support customers better and Saudi Arabia prefers communication in Arabic.
Don’ts
  • Do not say 'no' directly as it is considered to be rude. Indirect rejections are a necessity when dealing with Saudi customers

🇿🇦 South Africa

With over 11 languages and an incredibly heterogeneous culture, consumer behaviour will vary from place to place depending on language, and local customs. However, here are some general expectations that businesses will have to fulfill when dealing with a South African customer.

Customer Expectations

Customers prefer quick solutions

South African consumers are very price-sensitive and will expect immediate resolutions to their problems.

Speed over transparency

South African consumers prefer immediate solutions. They are less inclined to listen to explanations about the problem and the steps you are taking to solve it.

Extra support charges are rare

Consumers are very price-sensitive so they will sooner switch to a different brand than pay extra for support.

Communication

Jammer is sorry

South Africa has 11 official languages with Zulu, Xhosa, and Afrikaans being the most common. Sorry in Afrikaans is jammer (pronounced yaa-muhr)

Localization can be beneficial

English is the only fourth widely spoken language, so customer support can have better impact if it is localized.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Punctuality is expected more in B2B interactions rather than in B2C.
  • Address customers with Mr. or Miss/Mrs. Prefixed to their names.
Don’ts
  • Consumers will not listen to a direct 'no' and saying 'no' may increase the risk of them switching brands.

🇨🇭 Switzerland

Switzerland has four official languages (Romansh, German, French, Italian) and cultures between its cantons tend to vary significantly. So it is challenging to provide generalized guidelines on how to deal with a Swiss customer. That being said, here are some points to keep in mind when talking to a Swiss customer.

Customer Expectations

Customers prefer quick solutions

Swiss customers have high expectations from businesses and want their issues to be solved as quickly as possible. Delays are frowned upon.

Customers want transparency

Transparency is key when talking to a Swiss customer. To build trust, set expectations early on about what can and cannot be done.

Extra support charges are a huge No

Like Italians, the Swiss want high quality products and will expect good customer support with it. Charging extra for support will drive them away.

Communication

“I ma displacha” is sorry

There are four national languages — French, German, Italian and Romansh. “I ma displacha” is sorry in Romansh.

Customers want privacy

The Swiss value privacy highly and will not trade their privacy for a better customer support experience.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • If you are meeting a customer in person, maintain eye contact while talking. Not doing so will be interpreted as being deceptive.
Don’ts
  • Do not attempt small talk in any business conversation.

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

David Mitchell, the famous British comedian who is part of the Mitchell and Webb duo, once spoke about customer support which provides a funny, yet slightly helpful insight into the state of customer service and its perception in the UK.

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate responses

Customers from the UK expect an immediate response from agents to any support emails or tweets about their problems. Resolutions can be slower.

Speed rather than transparency

Customers want their problem solved immediately and do not want much explanation or details from support agents.

Extra support charges are not unusual

Customers typically expect good service. But if charged extra for support, British customers upgrade expectations from wanting “support” to “happiness”.

Communication

Sorry in English

… is Sorry. Yes, this section is quite short.

Customers want personalized support

Customers prefer personalized support from agents. In case you wish to store/track customer data for personalization, 2018 Data Protection Act will apply even in case of Brexit.

Address customers properly

Address customers depending on their preference. Some introduce themselves with their first names, others prefer the Mr./Mrs./Miss prefix

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Informality is usually accepted when dealing with a regular customer.
  • Humour is common, even in business situations. However, only agents can judge of whether a customer on call will appreciate it.
Don’ts
  • Don’t say 'no' directly. Show that you are considering the customer’s suggestions seriously and reject it later via indirect statements. See Italy

🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates

About 80% of the population comprises of expats from various countries. This means consumer behaviour and expectations vary vastly and it is challenging to provide guidelines on the average customer from UAE. However, please keep in mind the following guidelines.

Customer Expectations

Customers want immediate responses

The Emirati expect immediate responses to all customer support questions. If a organization delays responding to a customer, this is taken as a sign of disinterest and the customer may take their business elsewhere.

Extra support charges are common

The Emirati don’t mind paying extra for customer service but this also immensely increases the quality of service they expect from the business.

Customers expect punctuality

Customers will expect support representatives to be punctual and meet any deliverable deadlines promptly. Delays are not tolerated.

Communication

آسف (Ae-sifer) is sorry

Arabic is the national language of the UAE. But English is most commonly used, especially for business. A large expat population adds to the linguistic diversity here.

Business through relationships

Some customers, especially in face-to-face conversations, may prefer to indulge in small talk. It is considered rude if the sales or support agent does not reciprocate.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Agents will need to be patient as customers expect their problems to be heard first.
Don’ts
  • Do not say 'no' directly in a conversation to the customers. That is interpreted as trying to make the customer lose face. Rejections should be conveyed separately in an indirect manner.
  • Do not interrupt customers when they are talking. This is considered as disrespectful.

🇺🇸 United States of America

The ideology that “The Customer is always right” and a belief that the money-holder has the power in a conversation has resulted in a picky consumer base in the US that expects businesses to routinely go the extra mile in support situations.

Customer Expectations

Customers want quick solutions

American customers want their problems to be solved immediately and will not hesitate to talk about their bad experiences publicly.

Customers want updates

Customers want updates and sometimes expect full explanation of how their problem is being solved.

Extra support charges are common

Customers typically have great expectations of support agents. Customers are willing to pay extra for customer service, in which case, they will expect agents to go above and beyond their duties to satisfy customer needs.

Communication

Sorry in English

… is sorry. Sorry in spanish, the second most spoken language in the USA, is “Lo siento”.

Customers expect to be heard

Allow your customers to vent. Customers approach customer support not just in search of solutions but also because they feel they have a right to be heard.

Privacy is a polarizing topic

American customers are divided on the subject of data protection and privacy. Some are okay with sharing personal data for better customer service while others are not. Be sure to abide by the right laws before proceeding.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do's
  • Address customers by Mr. or Miss/Mrs. and their last name unless they prefer otherwise.
  • Set expectations at the beginning. Businesses are expected to define what customer support can and cannot deliver at the time of the sale itself.
  • Some customers may expect/demand compensation for their problems — either discounts on the next purchase or something similar.
Don’ts
  • Do not say 'no' to a customer directly. Most American customers believe that when they buy a product, they also buy the right to be heard. It is better to reject ideas or proposals from customers indirectly.
  • Do not interrupt customers when they are talking.