Last year, I wrote a blog post about setting expectations for successful cross-border relocation. Following on from this, I thought I would take a look at service excellence best practices across cultures after the initial expectations have been set.
Cross-Border Relocation: Service Best Practices
Anyone involved in relocating assignees across borders should remember these important best practices:
• When interacting with assignees from other cultures, don’t assume that their perception of service excellence is the same as yours, or your own cultural norms of service.
• While the level of service given is always the same, the delivery method may be perceived very differently.
• Understand that some international assignees are very experienced at crossing borders successfully and may simply need an organized consultant to assist in the administration of the move. Alternatively, some assignees may be embarking on their first move and require much more hand holding.
• Every new destination is different; even previously successful assignees might struggle more in one location than in another.
• To provide excellent service, it is vital to understand each person’s needs and expectations, and to deliver consistently flawless service.
• Awareness of one’s own culture and that of the new culture is more than critical; it is the very foundation of a successful cross-border move.
• Those who are not culturally aware, and those who do not take the time and effort to find out, have just made a much tougher road for themselves, their families, and their colleagues in their new location.
Defining a Good Relocation Service
So, what is good service? I suggest that it is delivered with confidence, with an air of humility, as a listener and a speaker (knowing when to do each is the key); combined with a “nothing is too much trouble” attitude and a genuine willingness to resolve even the most challenging issues.
At Cartus, we encourage our consultants to think about the service they receive from their own personal suppliers. Have expectations been clearly set? Did the supplier listen? Were the solutions oriented enough to meet my needs and requirements? We also ask them to think about the times they have had good service and get them to capture what it looked like, and more importantly, what it felt like.
We all know what it feels like to be told “I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you; I am really busy” or “Sorry, that’s not my job.” If you are like me, steam will rise from your ears at this point! This kind of service indicates to me that either the organization has not recruited the right staff, has not given them the right tools and/or resources, or has not provided the right level of training to ensure success.
Excellent service starts by recruiting staff who possess the inbuilt “gene” for a customer-facing role and then training, mentoring, and supporting them to be consistently effective.
At Cartus we have developed, in my view, the most effective Learning & Development team in the relocation industry, with dedicated resources worldwide that offer award winning programmes to staff at all stages of their employment.
Ongoing training is supported by our vision, mission, and values, and a compliance and ethics programme that includes specific anti-corruption policies and procedures. This includes our Code of Ethics, which is a key cornerstone of our corporate culture. The result: our parent company has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for four straight years.
The goal of any international assignment is surely to relocate an assignee as smoothly as possible to the host location and for that assignee to create the maximum return on investment for the organization. Whilst we don’t profess to get everything right all the time, we work tirelessly to ensure that each and every move is effective for the assignee and their family. To do this, we need to possess excellent knowledge, boundless empathy, superb organizational skills, a curious mind and, at times, the diplomacy of our greatest leaders!