A World of Opportunity
When your customer is half a world away, notes Miller, you may have to do a little more to acknowledge his business and its importance to you. This may include something as simple as an e-mail message that says "thank you for your order" after a product is delivered.
Acknowledging a relationship and ensuring quality service is even more important internationally. It builds confidence. For instance, global consumers who purchase from U.S. catalogs feel less isolated if they can send an e-mail, or go onto a Web site and check the status of their order, says Katz.
Customer retention efforts are not limited to the online world. Worldwide telecom rates have plummeted in the past 15 years, according to Miller, who says telemarketing should be part of any customer retention, product upgrade and cross-sell operation—particularly for multinational publishers. (See "Offshore Telemarketing" on page 38.) "It's amazing the economics work considering only a small percent of those calls converts," says Miller.
A Silver Lining
While the decline in value of the U.S. dollar spells trouble on the domestic front, U.S. direct marketers already doing business in Europe, Asia and South America enjoy some benefit.
"The dollar is down 10 percent to the Japanese yen, and 12 percent to the euro in the past few months," says McNutt, who adds that the U.S. government anticipates exports will be up 2 percent this year and 7 percent in 2003.
What's more, American companies already in Western Europe, South American and Asia will benefit from new trade agreements, reports McNutt. "China will get a new bilateral trade deal with the United States at the end of 2002 or early 2003 that will open the market for capital goods and other U.S. products," shares McNutt.
For example, he continues, Singapore and Chile should get free trade agreements from the United States at the end of 2002 or early in 2003 that will create opportunity for American firms, particularly financial service companies. Furthermore, "With a domestic market of 1.3 billion people, an economy growing at 8 percent, and a commitment to large infrastructure spending, China offers a wealth of opportunity for North American companies looking to access that Asian market," he adds.