Improving Customer Service for US Market: Key Strategies for Success


Improving-customer-service-for-US-MarketHow to Make Your Brand Appeal to American Clients, Part 2 of 3

If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can read it here

Improving Customer Service for US Market: Key Strategies for Success

Americans are often praised for their sense of customer service. It’s true that many US companies often go above and beyond “just doing their job” to offer an excellent customer experience. 

Remember, competition is fierce on the American market, and American customers are not loyal just because you’ve done business for years. 

“It’s not personal, it’s business” is a common expression. 

Because if your customer service falls short, they won’t hesitate to look for something better (and “better” doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper.

Service is just as important–if not more important– than price for many Americans. 

Excel in Customer Experience and Service for the American Market

1. 24/7 Customer Support

Implement around-the-clock customer service. American consumers value quick and efficient resolution of their queries or issues. 

Offer various channels for support, like phone, email, live chat, and social media, ensuring fast and effective communication. And be sure you respond promptly to inquiries if you want to win the client over. 

For emails, as a general rule, the average response time should be between 12 to 24 hours

For live chat, it should not be more than 3-5 minutes. 

A personal anecdote on this one: I submitted a chat question to a site the other day, and got a response “Thanks for your inquiry! We usually respond within 15 minutes.” My initial reaction, as an American, was “15 minutes?! I can’t wait that long!” 

But since I’ve lived in France for 20 years, and have become more patient, and my 2nd reaction was “OK, I’ll just keep the chat open and wait for a notification. I’ll go check emails while I wait…” 

But not all clients will be so patient, and they will move on!)

As you can see, customers have much higher expectations for live chat, so make sure you staff that channel if you offer it!

2. Personalized Customer Interactions

Personalizing customer interactions when doing business with Americans  is important due to several cultural and market differences:

First, the U.S. market is characterized by a culture that values individualism and personal choice. Plus, American consumers generally have a higher expectation for personalized experiences. We created the expression “The customer is king”, after all! 

Americans often appreciate when a brand recognizes their unique preferences and tailors services or products accordingly. This can lead to greater customer satisfaction and show your client that you know them. 

Second, the U.S. market is extremely competitive, with many brands trying to attract the attention (and money) of customers. 

In Europe, a company may put a strong emphasis on their traditional values, their long history, or their quality craftsmanship to stand out from the competition. 

In the USA, a company will be more likely to use arguments of personalization, customer service, and speed of service as key differentiators. This is what Americans are more interested in. 

3. Data-Driven Marketing Culture

The U.S. market is more driven by data analytics in marketing strategies. Companies are pretty free to collect lots of personal data on their customers to personalize their marketing & service efforts. For better or for worse, GDPR doesn’t exist in the US. 

Since American customers value personalized service so much, and there are few personal-data protections in place (compared to Europe), data-collection infrastructures in the US market are highly developed and very sophisticated. 

Be prepared to adapt your customer service efforts in consequence! 

DataBird Business Journal and Intellspot have both published useful articles that dive deeper into this topic. 

Case Study of a Foreign Company Excelling in American Customer Service: Samsung

Samsung’s Approach in the U.S. Market: 

Robust Customer Support Network: In the U.S., Samsung has established a comprehensive customer service system, including a 24/7 helpline, live chat options, and well-integrated social media support. This ensures that customers can easily reach out for support at any time and through their preferred channels.

Personalized Experience through Technology: Samsung leverages advanced technology to provide personalized customer experiences in the U.S. They use data analytics to understand customer preferences, offering customized product recommendations and targeted promotions that cater to individual needs.

Customer-Centric Policies: Recognizing American consumers’ expectations, Samsung offers efficient and user-friendly return and repair services. Their policies are designed to be hassle-free, providing quick solutions to any product issues, which is a stark contrast to some markets where return and repair processes can be more cumbersome.

By adopting these specific strategies, Samsung has successfully adapted to the American market’s customer service expectations, enhancing their brand reputation and customer loyalty in the U.S.

This approach demonstrates a deep understanding of the unique cultural expectations of American consumers compared to other global markets.

Highlight Quality and Value Proposition

1. Emphasize Product Quality and Durability

Americans often equate quality with durability and reliability. 

Perhaps, historically, this comes from the days of pioneers and frontier explorers. When you bought something before heading out to conquer new lands, you wanted to know that the product would be solid and durable.

And even if no one lives like “Little House on the Prairie” anymore, Americans still appreciate this “built-to-last” element. 

Therefore, companies should highlight how their products are built to last, using high-quality materials and superior craftsmanship. (Note: I know that earlier, I said that quality and craftsmanship were less important than speed and customer service. The BEST companies succeed in doing all of them!) 

How can you highlight this aspect of your value proposition to American clients? 

Communicate  detailed product descriptions that highlight the results your product gets(NOT the technical details!), showcase certifications or awards for quality, and highlight positive customer reviews or testimonials that focus on the product’s longevity and reliability.

2. Showcase Innovation and Technological Advancements

The American market values innovation and forward thinking. That’s one reason why Americans don’t dramatize failure. How can you advance in innovation without trying bold new things? And bold new things by definition fail a lot. 

In a market that values innovation, emphasize any technological advancements or innovative features of your products. Americans are not afraid to be the 1st to adopt a new technology. On the contrary.

(However, a quick note: If you’re doing something very innovative, you’re going to have bugs. And in this case, you have to have solid customer service to compensate! See the parts above on customer service). 

To showcase how innovative and advanced your products are, your marketing content should explain how the technology works, its benefits, and how it sets your product apart from competitors. 

Demonstrations, videos, and case studies can be particularly effective in communicating this message.

3. Offer Competitive Pricing with Clear Value

American consumers look for good value for their money. Be transparent about pricing. 

Personally, there’s nothing I hate more than a company that doesn’t communicate their prices up front! Even if you tailor solutions for clients, you can give an example of packages with prices, at least. 

Clearly communicate the value customers will receive for the price they are paying, and they’ll be more likely to want to contact you to know more. 

Americans are willing to pay more if the value and the service is there. So don’t think that “less expensive” is always the best way to convince American clients. Sure, they want a good deal, but they’re willing to pay for good service and speed. 

Your product may be higher priced than the competitors, but if you can show that the value is better, you’ll more likely win the deal in many situations. 

This can include detailed comparisons with competitors, showing how your product offers more features or better quality at a similar or lower price point.

Case Study of a Foreign Company Successfully Highlighting Quality and Value: IKEA in the USA

IKEA’s Approach in the US Market: 

Quality and Design Affordability:

IKEA, a Swedish furniture and home goods company, has successfully highlighted its quality and value proposition in the U.S. market by emphasizing the durability and functionality of its products at affordable prices. They showcase their products’ design efficiency and utility, resonating with American consumers’ desire for practical, stylish, and cost-effective home solutions.

Innovative Product Solutions: 

IKEA has been innovative in offering space-saving and multi-functional furniture, which is particularly appealing in urban American markets where space can be a premium. They have effectively used marketing campaigns to demonstrate these innovations, like visually engaging ads and interactive room setups in their stores.

Transparent and Competitive Pricing:

IKEA’s pricing strategy is transparent, offering good quality products at prices accessible to a broad range of consumers. They also provide detailed product information both online and in stores, helping customers understand the value they are getting for their money.

Through these strategies, IKEA has effectively communicated its quality and value proposition to the American market, leading to strong brand recognition and customer loyalty in the U.S. 

Their approach showcases an understanding of American consumers’ expectations for quality, innovation, and value.

Engage in Community and Social Responsibility

For foreign companies aiming to align with the community engagement and social responsibility expectations of the American market, the following are three concrete, actionable, and specific strategies:

1. Local Community Involvement

For a foreign company looking to engage with local communities in the USA before establishing a physical presence, there are several effective strategies to consider. 

One approach is organizing or sponsoring virtual events that benefit local communities, such as online fundraisers. These events can raise awareness and funds for local causes, showcasing the company’s commitment to American communities even before they get there! 

Another effective method is forming partnerships with local businesses or nonprofits in the U.S. This collaboration can take various forms, from funding community projects to co-hosting events. These partnerships not only support important local initiatives but also help build the company’s network and reputation within these communities.

Remote volunteer programs offer another avenue for community involvement. Employees can contribute their time and skills to support American community causes, such as offering virtual tutoring or professional mentoring. This approach demonstrates the company’s dedication to social responsibility and community engagement.

2. Environmental Sustainability Initiatives 

Entering the U.S. market, foreign companies should embrace eco-friendly practices to appeal to the increasing environmental awareness among American consumers. 

Focusing on sustainability is particularly impactful in states like California, New York, and Vermont.

Adapting green initiatives to local priorities is key. 

In California, carbon offset programs and low-emission products align with state concerns. In New York, supporting eco-friendly urban projects resonates with local values. 

Using locally sourced, sustainable materials appeals to the American trend of supporting local economies and reduces carbon footprints.

Partnering with U.S.-based environmental organizations and backing specific causes like national park conservation can further enhance a brand’s appeal. 

Such targeted, region-specific environmental initiatives effectively connect with American consumers, boosting a company’s presence in the U.S. market.

3. Corporate Philanthropy and Social Causes

Foreign companies eyeing the U.S. market can attract American customers by embracing corporate philanthropy and social causes, even before establishing a physical presence. 

Utilizing online platforms for fundraising and direct donations to U.S.-based charities is a powerful way to resonate with American values and enhance brand image.

Forming partnerships with American nonprofits, through collaborations or sponsorships, can establish a company as socially responsible. 

Additionally, virtual volunteering allows companies to offer their expertise to support U.S. social causes, further solidifying their commitment to American communities.

Cause-related marketing, where sales profits support American social initiatives, is especially effective in appealing to consumers who value corporate social responsibility. 

These strategies can significantly boost a foreign company’s attractiveness in the competitive U.S. market.

Example of a Foreign Company Engaging in Community and Social Responsibility: Unilever in the USA

Unilever’s Approach in the U.S. Market: 

Sustainable Living Plan: 

Unilever, a British-Dutch company, has made significant strides in the U.S. through its Sustainable Living Plan. This plan focuses on reducing environmental impact and increasing social impact, resonating with American consumers’ growing preference for socially responsible brands.

Product Sustainability: 

In the U.S., Unilever has introduced products with sustainable and environmentally friendly attributes, such as biodegradable ingredients and recyclable packaging, catering to the eco-conscious American consumer.

Community and National Causes: 

Unilever USA actively supports various social causes, such as hunger relief, environmental conservation, and public health initiatives. They have partnered with American non-profit organizations and charities, demonstrating a commitment to addressing issues important to U.S. communities.

By implementing these specific strategies in community engagement and social responsibility, Unilever has successfully adapted to the cultural expectations of the American market. This approach has not only helped Unilever to build a strong brand image in the U.S. but also to connect more deeply with American customers who value corporate responsibility.

In conclusion

Mastering customer service for the U.S. market is crucial for any foreign business looking to thrive. 

From providing round-the-clock support to leveraging data for personalized experiences, each strategy plays a vital role in meeting the high expectations of American consumers.

 If you’re ready to elevate your approach to customer service and want to ensure your brand resonates with American clients, we’re here to guide you. 

Book a meeting with us to discuss how we can help you connect with and effectively convert your American prospects into loyal customers. 

Let’s work together to tailor your customer service strategies for success in the dynamic U.S. market.

Coming up in next week’s article:
I’ll continue to look at how you can make your brand attractive to American customers. We’ll focus specifically on the importance of storytelling, client feedback & testimonials, and the importance of entertainment in marketing.

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