Building a Global Network of Customers for Your Cross-Border Business
October 10, 2023
Expanding your cross-border business is a grand adventure. It is like setting sail on a voyage to build a global network of customers—a journey filled with diverse landscapes, encounters with fascinating individuals, and the thrill of discovering new horizons.
However, building a global customer network is an ambitious undertaking, and it presents a unique set of challenges, such as diversity and complexity, building trust, logistics and compliance, and market research. These factors often deter many from venturing into the international marketplace.
Recently, Skydo engaged in an enlightening discussion on this topic with Chinmay Chandgude, a Partner at Alpha OBS LLP Venture.
Let's learn how he succeeded in building a global customer network.
Q. How and when did you decide to transition to an export services company? What were the benefits you realised about building a global customer network?
Chinmay: Reflecting on our journey, we began initially by connecting with a network of talented freelancers in India. This approach allowed us to undertake website projects and provide competitive quotes, denoted as X, while subsequently outsourcing the work to these freelancers at a lower cost of 0.75x.
At that time, our company was still in its infancy, and we aimed to set our prices strategically to ensure profitability. However, our decision to venture into exports was primarily driven by a desire to reduce our dependence on Indian clients.
One compelling reason for this shift was the realisation that we could achieve higher returns for the same amount of effort invested by working with clients abroad, especially those who pay in dollars or other European currencies.
In practical terms, if a global client were to pay us $1,000 for a project, their expectations remained consistent with that value, meaning they anticipated $1,000 worth of work. This experience contrasts with our understanding of Indian clients, where a $1,000 project often came with expectations for work equivalent to $5,000.
This fundamental difference in client expectations made global clients an attractive prospect for us. Dealing with clients from outside India offered the potential for better compensation and a smoother and more straightforward business relationship. In essence, we pursued exports to tap into a customer base that values our work and provides fair compensation.
Q. How did you land your first client? What was your approach to identifying and targeting global markets?
Chinmay: Our first exciting and memorable experience was on Freelancer.com. This platform served as our initial gateway into global client's work.
On Freelancer.com, individuals would post their projects along with their specific requirements, and freelancers like us would submit bids based on our expertise and capabilities.
We landed our first client by combining some key factors. Our proposals were strong, and we communicated well with the client. Our team was always responsive to the client's needs, which helped seal the deal.
Our approach to identifying and targeting these markets involved a multi-faceted strategy.
We used platforms like Freelancer.com and Upwork, which offered us exposure to a diverse clientele worldwide. These platforms allowed us to showcase our skills and services, ultimately leading to engagements with clients seeking our expertise.
Additionally, we recognised the importance of building a powerful network. This exercise involved collaboration with vendors, consultants, and other industry experts who could provide valuable insights and referrals. By establishing these connections, we could tap into their existing networks, expanding our reach and enhancing our reputation.
Our team played a pivotal role in our success story. We fostered a culture of innovation, collaboration, and continuous improvement. Our dedicated and skilled professionals were instrumental in delivering high-quality work that garnered positive feedback and recommendations, helping us build credibility in global markets.
Q. How can one leverage technology to reach global customers?
Chinmay: To leverage technology to reach global customers effectively, companies must adopt a multi-faceted approach:
- Implementing a robust online presence through websites and social media helps create a global footprint. Utilising digital marketing, including SEO and targeted ads, can enhance visibility.
- Embracing cloud-based solutions facilitates efficient service delivery across borders.
- Employing data analytics and AI-driven customer insights enables personalised offerings and improves customer experiences.
- Establishing strong cybersecurity measures is crucial to gaining trust in the global market.
Combining these strategies can unlock global customer reach in today's digital age.
Q. What are the steps involved in crafting a global marketing strategy for expansion?
Chinmay: In the global marketing strategy for expansion, we've recognised that our most potent asset is our initial clients. Our journey has shown that dedicating ourselves to their projects with unwavering commitment and precision has yielded remarkable results.
In practical terms, this commitment meant not just meeting the expectations we set but consistently exceeding them. We aimed to provide seven or even eight if we promised five things. The impact of this dedication on our clients was nothing short of transformative. They experienced absolute delight with our services, which naturally increased customer retention.
Our client's satisfaction with our work was so profound that they began entrusting us with more projects, which significantly boosted customer retention rates. Moreover, they became enthusiastic advocates of our services, actively referring us to their networks, including friends and family who required similar services.
This exponential growth was primarily fueled by the potent force of word-of-mouth referrals—a strategy that became our linchpin for expansion. We continue to rely on this organic, client-driven growth approach, which has proven its effectiveness repeatedly.
Q. What are your tips for providing excellent customer support?
Chinmay: Providing excellent customer support is paramount in the IT service export industry as it's helped in customer retention. Our tips for achieving this include:
- Proactive Communication: Anticipate client needs and inform them about project progress and potential issues.
- Skilled Team: Invest in a highly skilled and responsive support team to address technical queries promptly.
- Personalisation: Tailor services to each client's unique needs, fostering a sense of importance and dedication.
- 24/7 Availability: Offer round-the-clock support to accommodate global clients and minimise downtime.
- Continuous Improvement: Regularly seek feedback and adapt processes to enhance service quality.
- Transparency: Maintain open, honest communication to build trust and manage expectations effectively.
- Rapid Issue Resolution: Prioritise quick problem-solving to minimise disruptions and maintain client satisfaction.
- Knowledge Sharing: Educate clients about new technologies and best practices to empower them.
- Exceed Expectations: Go the extra mile to exceed client expectations, leaving a lasting positive impression.
Chinmay's insights underscore the power of word-of-mouth marketing and the significance of consistently delivering on promises. By prioritising customer satisfaction and harnessing the positive feedback loop of referrals, your business can thrive in the cross-border landscape and unlock new horizons of success.
These principles remain essential for sustainable growth and building a strong, loyal customer base.