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How to Integrate your UK and Overseas Offices

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 22 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
How To Integrate Your Uk And Overseas Offices

Your office in the UK and your new enterprise overseas should be integrated together. Your two offices do exist separately, but your business will find that if you integrate these offices together, cost savings can be made. Also, your UK office can better manage the overseas operation and gain high levels of efficiency. Technology can be a great help as you can use your UK office as a base of communication with your overseas office. Your business shouldn’t been seen as fragmented between your UK base and your overseas business operations, but a complete enterprise that can be run no matter the locations of your actual premises.

Customer Services

One of the most important areas of your business that must be handled carefully is your customer service support. Your UK office will most likely be the base for this, but you also have to consider how this component of your overseas office will be managed.

You can hire a customer service organisation in the country your overseas office is based in, or move to a more centralised customer services operation that looks after your UK and overseas needs. Always test any services you do want to hire before switching your business to these systems. This is because high levels of customer service are imperative to protect your business’s brand and its income.

Staff and Management

Your UK office will have to manage the recruitment of staff for your overseas office, but your business can also integrate how every employee based in the UK or overseas work together. It can be useful for your UK based employees to visit your overseas office, and for your newly appointed overseas staff to come to the UK in order to see how your UK operation works.

This promotes high levels of morale in your business, as well as team work that can span continents. Don’t underestimate this component of your business. How you manage your staff in your UK and overseas office can mean the difference between a successful business overall, or one that struggles to maintain its staff.

Communications and Technology

To better integrate your UK and overseas business using technology can deliver high levels of productivity. You can use a number of technologies to help you integrate your UK and overseas offices together including:

Email
As the most cost effective of all communications platforms, email can enable all of your staff to stay in constant contact with each other. Remember, though, to have a detailed email policy that all your staff should adhere to. This avoids your email system being abused.

Telephone
One of the most important communications developments of recent years has been VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). In effect your business can make international calls between its UK and overseas office using the Internet for virtually zero cost. The leading platform is Skype. You will need to set-up the computers you have in your business to exploit this technology, but this is relatively straightforward.

Video conferencing
As a close cousin to VoIP, video conferencing technology has fallen in price over the last few years to enable even the smallest business to use this technology. Set up and costs can be minimal as major telecoms providers like BT now offer video conferencing as part of their business packages. If your UK business needs visual contact with its overseas office, this technology is ideal.

Sales and Marketing

As your UK and overseas offices will be trading in very different markets, any ad or marketing campaigns you design must take into consideration the different territories you will be selling to. You can integrate your marketing strategy to a degree to reduce costs, but use the expertise of the staff in your overseas office to help you customise marketing activity to their particular regions.

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