According to global card and mobile payment researchers at The Nilson Report, global card fraud has been increasing in severity almost every year since 2006. In 2016, 7.15 US cents out of every US$100 charged online were lost to fraud – a total of US$22.8 billion for the year. And that’s just card fraud. Today’s consumers contend with myriad other types of e-commerce fraud on a daily basis.
To protect themselves, many e-commerce consumers now opt only for tried-and-trusted “big name” companies from Western countries, or marketplaces. That’s bad news for Malaysian SMEs trying to build international markets.
So how can we ensure that international customers will be open to conducting business with Malaysian SMEs? Keep them happy and earn their trust with these four tips:
1. Design your site with class and functionality
Customers can’t directly tell if a merchant is fraudulent or not, but they often rely on tell-tale signs to help them decide. One of the most important such signs is the look, feel and functionality of your website. A well-designed website with perfect English (or translation to English), showing real people and real places, updated events, full contact details, and no dead links – to new customers, all these things say, “we’re real and you can trust us”.
Customer Thoughts: Online fraudsters are not likely to go to great lengths to create an awesome website when it could very well get pulled down the very next day.
2. Responding customer queries promptly
Nothing can be more frustrating to a customer than having a question and not being able to ask it. Giving the option to easily reach out to a customer service consultant, via a contact form that is easy to find on a well-designed website, will ensure the customers that you are just a short message or email away.
However, it’s important that these contact forms or customer service emails should be responded to promptly. Some merchants may opt to send an automated email to assure customers that their email has been received but these auto-responders should also include an estimate response time that a customer service representative will response.
As a quicker method, some sites also opt to have Live Chat boxes to provide another avenue for customers with queries.
Customer Thoughts: If I have a question, they respond to it very quickly which helps my purchasing decision.
3. Keep Good Company
Most SMEs are still in the process of getting themselves known, and those from Malaysia are no exception. For many companies, associating themselves with tried-and-trusted household names can have a remarkably powerful “halo effect” which gives them an indirect endorsement. Also, barriers such as languages or lack of local representation can be a deterrent.
There’s an easier way: choose to use tried-and-trusted suppliers and service providers which are more than happy to partner with you. Sending over parcels using a globally-recognized supplier like DHL Express, for example, shows that your business isn’t just legitimate but puts a priority on top-level customer satisfaction. And it gives the customer an assurance that the delivery process will not be the weak link in the whole value chain – particularly when shipments can be tracked in real time.
Suppliers with a wide global network will also have local representatives or offices in various countries which can assure the customer that they will be able to speak to a representative in their local language and time.
Using service providers like DHL Express may not be the cheapest options, but for SMEs trying to break into new markets, the halo effect and the assurance they give new customers will more than offset the additional expense.
Customer Thoughts: Premium service providers are unlikely to work with unscrupulous companies – their partnership acts as a clear “seal of approval” to the SME’s legitimacy.
4. Offer a variety of trusted payment options
Similarly to partnering with the right logistics partner, when choosing payment methods, opt to choose to use well-known service providers. Debit and credit card payments will continue to be a mainstay for online purchasing but offering the option of payment platforms such as PayPal and Payoneer is also recommended.
Not only is the payments platform internationally trusted, but it also provides well-known support for returns and reimbursements that further bolster customer confidence in their purchase.
Customer Thoughts: My money is safe when I purchase from these sites because I trust PayPal.