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Seven signs of cross-border dysfunction

Britney Wells

June 2, 2023

Seven signs of cross-border dysfunction

Seven signs of cross-border dysfunction

International selling can be challenging for companies without the right technology to manage it. Inadequate cross-border processes can have a significant impact on various departments within a business, akin to different parts of the human body, causing a condition we will call "cross-border dysfunction." Let's explore these symptoms and how they affect each department, the importance of treating cross-border dysfunction to enhance international selling efficiency, and how Zonos can help.

Customer Support: The ears 

The customer support (CS) team plays a crucial role in understanding customers' problems and resolving them effectively. They act as the "ears" of a company, listening to customer concerns and identifying areas that need improvement. When it comes to cross-border dysfunction, the following symptom affects the CS department:

Symptom #1: Rejected packages

Rejected packages occur when international orders are either rejected by customs due to non-compliance with import regulations or refused by customers due to surprise fees and delivery delays. This negatively impacts customer support as they have to deal with complaints and strained resources. Unsatisfied customers can further burden the team, as they may be unable to provide quality assistance beyond addressing rejected packages.

Finance: The heart 

The finance department serves as the "heart" of a company, ensuring smooth cash flow and preventing unnecessary financial problems. If there is one thing I have learned from watching Grey's Anatomy, it is that doctors take chest pain very seriously, so problems in the finance department are not to be taken lightly. Cross-border dysfunction manifests in the following symptoms, affecting the finance department:

Symptom #2: Returned packages

Returned packages result in profit loss as customers request refunds due to incorrect orders, damaged goods, or shipping mistakes. This leads to revenue losses, additional shipping costs, and the need to investigate the root causes of returns, straining financial resources.

Symptom #3: Incorrect duty and tax calculations

Inadequate cross-border processes often lead to incorrect landed cost estimations. This can cause profit loss when customers are charged less than the actual duties, taxes, and fees. The finance department may be required to cover the difference, impacting the company's overall profitability.

Similar to how kidneys cleanse toxins to protect the body, the legal department safeguards a company by managing compliance and preventing lawsuits. Cross-border dysfunction affects legal in the following way:

Symptom #4: Unmanageable cross-border compliance

Expanding into foreign markets means adhering to import regulations in each country, posing a challenge for legal departments. The complexity of compliance, including tax schemes and product restrictions, combined with strict customs authorities, can overwhelm legal resources.

Executive Team: The Brain and Eyes 

The executive team acts as the "brain" and "eyes" of a company, analyzing situations, identifying opportunities, and making decisions. Cross-border dysfunction presents the following symptom, impacting the executive team:

Symptom #5: Insufficient resources for cross-border sales

Inefficient cross-border processes strain multiple departments, necessitating additional resources. This forces executives to make difficult decisions such as hiring new staff, limiting international business, or assessing the company's ability to adapt and remain efficient.

Marketing: The Clothing 

While clothing isn't part of the human anatomy, it serves as an analogy for the marketing department's role in presenting a company's products to the world. Cross-border dysfunction affects marketing in the following ways:

Symptom #6: Negative customer reviews

Poor international selling processes result in unhappy customers who may leave negative online reviews. These reviews damage a company's reputation, undermining marketing efforts and customer trust. Recovering from negative reviews requires extensive damage control by the marketing team.

Symptom #7: High bounce rate

If a company's website lacks localization, international customers may abandon their shopping experience due to language barriers, unfamiliar currencies, or doubts about the company's acceptance of orders from their country. A high bounce rate indicates the disconnect between marketing strategies and cross-border customer expectations. This results in lost opportunities and lower conversion rates, impacting the overall effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Zonos: The cure to cross-border dysfunction 

See the following table to learn how Zonos products cure cross-border dysfunction:

Zonos Landed Cost
- Landed cost quotes
- Import duty
- Import tax
- Fees (carrier, brokerage, etc.)
- Full country compliance
- De minimis support
- HS code support
- Precollection of duties, taxes, and fees
- Shipment rating for carriers
Zonos Checkout
- Zonos Landed Cost features
- Fraud coverage
- Restrictions
- Localized checkout fields
- Global payments
- Denied party screening
- Shipment rating for carriers
Zonos Classify
- HS code classification
- Bulk upload
- HS code lookup tool
Zonos Hello
- Duty and tax calculations
- Currency conversion
- Translation into 19 languages
- Country-specific messaging


By understanding these symptoms and their impact on different departments, businesses can take appropriate measures to address cross-border dysfunction. Implementing robust cross-border processes, leveraging technology solutions for compliance management, providing comprehensive training for customer support, and investing in localization efforts can help alleviate these symptoms and enhance international selling efficiency.

In conclusion, recognizing the symptoms of cross-border dysfunction is crucial for businesses seeking to excel in international markets. By comparing each affected department to a corresponding body part and understanding the specific symptoms they face, companies can develop targeted strategies to overcome these challenges. By addressing cross-border dysfunction, businesses can optimize their operations, improve customer satisfaction, and achieve greater success in the global marketplace.


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