Hero Illustration
Bali, Client Relationship, Mitrais, Mitrais Life, Software Development

Win-Win All Around: How to Maintain a Good Relationship with International Clients

Does the thought of being in a project with international clients give you cold feet? As the extension of your company, obviously, you wish to maintain a good relationship with customers, as this will decide whether they will stick around longer, which means long-term partnership – or wave adios in a blink of an eye.

Whether you are a first-timer determined to win the international clients’ hearts, or someone intending to improve relationships with long-term foreign clientele, we got you covered. This article features Wendy Sanarwanto, one of Mitrais’ analysts who has 15 years of experience working for Mitrais international projects. Wendy will gladly spill his tried and tested hacks on navigating the relationships with overseas clients just for you.

Set expectations

First and foremost, it is important to get a client’s expectations right. Wendy shared, “Before we get any project’s ball rolling, my clients and I usually have a meeting to clarify expected outcomes, estimated time to finish them, and possible challenges that might hinder me from accomplishing my tasks on time. In case I stumble upon unexpected things that stop me from completing any tasks, I always communicate my findings to give a heads up that I am in the middle of investigation. Then, I will be back with options to continue the work.” The Computer Engineering graduate of Universitas Dinamika Surabaya emphasised, “Whenever you are assigned to do a complex task or any task with unclear description and goal, it would be good to arrange a voice call to get more detailed information about the task.”

Get to know them

Culture and communication style

Wendy suggested, “Do your research and consult with colleagues or supervisors who have exposure working with people from the same country as your client.” Their insights will help you unfold things that you need to consider when communicating, such as the client’s communication style and culture. You may want to investigate the followings: Do they prefer to be direct or implied? Do they address others with a salutation or first names? Do they prefer formal or casual communication? Are there things that are considered rude in their culture? Having awareness of those things will enable you to approach them with confidence.


Wendy highly promotes getting familiar with client’s language for efficient communication. Sometimes, despite English being their mother tongue, they may have different expressions, slang, accents, and spelling. Wendy attributed his language affluence to Mitrais’ free English courses managed by Business Communication Course (BCC) Department, “Whenever we are assigned to a new client, the BCC team will support us to adjust, for example, with programs to understand varied native accents and their common idioms, so we are not lost in translation.” The fan of computer games continued, “Beside speaking, we also get to learn Business Correspondence skills that enable me to write emails for various purposes effortlessly. What is more, our Effective Communication and Presentation courses have helped me big time to generate and present ideas, negotiate, and be assertive when dealing with clients. All in all, the English courses elevate our language as world-class engineers.”

Wendy also suggested being wise when using slang and avoid direct translation of idioms, as it can confuse your client. In addition, adjust your spelling when dealing with different English native speakers in your writing. “It’s a small thing, but it shows how credible, respectful, and meticulous you are,” convinced the analyst who savours morning walks.

Time zones and holidays

Wendy emphasises the significance of time, “Ensure that you know their time zone and when they are available to be contacted. You can set different clocks on your wall, computer, or phone to keep up with their business hours.” The computer games geek added, “Moreover, you can ask for their holiday calendar and mark those days as their time off, so you are well informed and can adjust the project timeline according to those schedules.”


Being professional does not mean you have to be rigid and strictly discuss only work-related matters. Wendy believes that to smooth out our relationship with international clients, it is necessary to build a bond with them by getting to know them on a personal level. Wendy recalled, “A tester that I worked with in my previous project was an Indian residing in Brisbane, Australia. Before or after work, we used to have a small talk about India’s cultures that have been adopted into Indonesian cultures, such as curry, characters of Wayang and their legends, dangdut music, and others. These chit-chats broke the ice and helped improve our mood and connection”

Establish communication channels

Agree on and set up platforms that your client and you are going to use for spoken and written communication throughout a project. Wendy revealed, “We use Microsoft Team’s chat, but, for a clearer discussion, we do teleconference through Microsoft Team or Zoom calls. Everyone in my team is aware of the channels and their immediate importance, so it can prevent missing or overlapping communication as well.” Wendy added, “Use emails to formalise agreements such as project updates and decisions, so your client and you will have solid documentation to refer to in the future.”

Go beyond the call of duty

It is always an added value to your clients when you go above and beyond to execute your task. Wendy narrated, “Once, I was working with an Australian start-up, an ambitious project with tight deadlines. The clients asked me to design and build an on-demand decision-making system by data processing. As I didn’t have all the time in the world, I took one day to design the system, flow diagram, and Proof of Concept (POC). It did not stop there, I also prepared technical options and solutions for the client to choose from. I presented the whole design and options in a meeting on the second day and got approval, so I proceeded to build it.” The analyst who loves flicking through investment books during his leisure time endorsed, “Always deliver more than expected.”

Be accountable

As you strive to deliver your best, sometimes making a mistake is inevitable. Wendy advised owning up to mistakes and compensating for them rather than pretending that everything is fine or worst – neglecting it. The keen stock investor shared, “In a prior project, I once mistakenly let a backend system on production environment process a large amount of pushed data when I should have limited the amount within a run by configuration. I admitted to the client that it was my mistake because I was somehow a little sluggish that particular day when applying the latest changes to the production environment. I then adjusted the configuration to only process lesser data per run, and the backend was running fine again.”

Ask for feedback and adjust

Building something for a client is a two-way process. So, Wendy advised asking for their feedback regularly in case they have other concerns or improvement ideas. He said, “Do not hesitate to ask or inform your client when you have a problem. Sometimes, it can be resolved through communicating it with a client in via negotiation and clarification. It is far better than being silent and spending hours trying to solve the problems by ourselves.”

Enjoy the ride

Things may get rough around the edges when you first jump on the bandwagon of working with international clients. However, with time and the manual from Wendy Sanarwanto, things will start to fall into place, and you will build a sense of confidence and competence to maintain a high trust, long-term relationship with your international clients.

Time to embark on the journey and enjoy the ride, #JoinMitrais today.

Contact us to learn more!

Please complete the brief information below and we will follow up shortly.

    ** All fields are required
    Leave a comment