Undoubtedly, doing business internationally presents challenges. We each enjoy an innate understanding of the cultures, personal and business, in our home country, the country where we are born and raised.
However, it’s easy to assume, and often incorrectly, that our home culture, no matter its origin, transcends borders for businesses. A lack of local cultural understanding can have potentially damaging consequences.
Lack of cultural understanding
Take for example the infamous case of Walmart’s expansion into Europe, particularly within Germany. As part of the expansion, Walmart acquired a traditional German retail chain. Immediately, Walmart activated a plan to impose their structures, processes and practices, elements of their business model which had served them well across the Atlantic, onto the German chain. What Walmart failed to take into account was the cultural divide between their business model and that of the German shopper who was not accustomed to employees who were always smiling and morning store chants. Notwithstanding the hundreds of millions of dollars invested here, Walmart also failed to take into account market considerations like restricted opening hours, stringent zoning regulations and were forced to cut their losses and exit the market. This was a costly lesson for Walmart who did not accommodate cultural variations or adjust to selling in a different country.
Another subtle cultural difference is the value we assign to different colours. In Asia, orange is regarded as a positive and a sign of life whereas in the US it is used in traffic delays and road hazards. In a survey conducted across Japan, China, South Korea and the US, participants were asked to match colours with words. Results provided some curious insights. Blue was associated with high quality and red with love. But purple was seen as being related to expensive products by participants in Japan, China and South Korea in contrast the same colour purple was associated with inexpensive goods by US participants.
Localised ATM experience
For ATM operators, it isn’t enough to simply offer ATM screens in the local language and assume that overseas visitors will be able to navigate the interface correctly. The whole ATM experience may need to be localised to reflect local customs and expectations as well as being accessible to overseas visitors using the ATMs.
For example, many ATMs offer a language choice to the customer as soon as they insert their credit card. Pre-selecting the number of languages to offer on an ATM is easily determined through analysing the customer usage and profile data. But, language isn’t enough to ensure the ATM can be navigated by the user and that revenue from the ATM can be maximised.
For ATM networks offering Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC@ATM), the DCC offer needs to be displayed in a manner that is clearly understood, meets credit card company guidelines, adhere to card scheme guidelines and in a way that encourages customers to use the DCC service.
DCC@ATM with Fexco
Every day Fexco leverages our global presence on the ground in order to understand each particular region. We work closely with all of our partners including merchants, acquirers and payment processors in order gather invaluable feedback on customer behaviour and trends. We have operations in 28 countries with relationship managers focused on ensuring that we establish and maintain this close connection to customers.
Fexco invented Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) and knows more about DCC customer behaviour than any other operator. We understand what customers expect and what we need to do in order to meet and surpass these expectations.
If you would like to find out more about our DCC@ATM service contact our Strategic Business Development Manager, Shane McElroy at Fexco.