Small business tips for communicating with your international customers

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Emma Sturgis

Your small business is landing international customers, and that’s a great thing. It means you are opening up to new global markets and have the potential to grow into a large-scale business with massive profits. You, therefore, have to understand how to communicate with foreign customers effectively so you can give them satisfactory services. Here are some tips on how to do that.

Learn about your customer’s culture

When an international customer reaches out to you with interest in your product or service, first do thorough research on their culture. This involves details like how to give greetings the right way, how to address them, any offensive jokes or comments to avoid, any sensitive topics to steer away from, and how to talk about money. This will save you from saying something ignorantly that can jeopardize your relationship. For example, in African culture, it is rude to dive into money talk before making small talk. Even if something sounds absurd to you, it is advisable to adopt it to ensure your customer feels welcomed and valued. It’s a good idea to visit other countries if you are a business owner. Get acquainted with your client base in other areas and get a feel for what their needs are as a customer.

Work with their time zone

Time zone differences can make business deals complicated. It is best to work with the time zone that is most convenient for your foreign customer. Time management is important for both you and your customer. Ask them when is the best time to make calls, hold meetings, and respond to emails. You wouldn’t want to call your customer only to find out they were sleeping and you just woke them up. This will, of course, demand a sacrifice on your part because you may have to wait up until late at night to make a call. That is the unavoidable cost of doing business with international clients. Your customer will appreciate your effort to ensure they receive the best customer service.

Partner with professionals

Translating complex business communications can lead to mistakes, mix-ups, or even unintentional offenses. This needs to be handled right away, or you may suffer losing your international customer. It can also waste a lot of time, company resources and damage your reputation. You can seek the services of key service providers like a translator, multilingual transcription, or entity extraction software. They can help you sieve through important business information to help you understand exactly what your customer is communicating.

Globalization has opened up many doors for small businesses. You now have the chance to scale to greater heights in a short time. You, therefore, have to understand how to communicate with foreign customers to grow in new markets steadily.


Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.

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