It’s become more common for companies to take on clients from other countries in recent years. The web has helped the world become more connected, making it much easier for a company in the UK to take on a client in Brazil or Japan, or Madagascar. Of course, knowing how to communicate with these clients is important. This post lists a few important tips for communicating effectively with clients from other countries.
Find the best communication channel
It’s important to find a communication channel that is efficient for both of you. An overseas phone call is likely to be quite expensive and so may be best avoided. Instead, consider other modes of communication such as video calls or emails. Text-based interactions can be easily translated, however, video calls can build up a sense of trust. Work out which one is likely to be more suitable.
Pay attention to the time difference
If the client you’re talking to is in a different time zone, make sure that you’re scheduling a conversation for a time that suits both of you. In some cases, you may have to get up early or wait until the evening to talk to a client. You can look up time differences online so that you can find the best time to schedule a call. Similarly, consider the time difference when it comes to urgent emails (the client may not respond until the next day if you send the email too late).
Find a common tongue
Do you both speak the same language? Finding a common tongue could be necessary if you want to be able to clearly understand one another. Most people around the world speak some English, so this tends to be the language of choice for international communication. That said, if you speak a foreign language fluently, you may prefer to switch language for them (especially if they don’t speak great English).
Know when to hire an interpreter
If you and the client both speak different languages and neither one of you is fluent enough in a shared language to have a proper conversation, it could be worth hiring an interpreter to help translate the conversation. Using a translation agency in the UK, it’s possible to have an interpreter join you on video calls or even phone calls. You can then be sure that you’re getting your message across.
Consider the difference in culture
Differences in culture can affect communication. In some cases, you may want to alter the way you communicate to appeal to cultural preferences. An example is punctuality. In Japan, meetings are held precisely on time, while in Italy it’s okay for a meeting to run half an hour late. Make sure that you’re able to start your call precisely when scheduled when talking to a client from Japan if you want to keep them happy. Meanwhile, allow some leeway when it comes to the time when dealing with a client in Italy. Other cultural differences to consider include the use of titles and greetings.