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Case Studies - Xbite

International Students bring skills as well as enthusiasm to the table 

Xbite initially joined East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) in 2013 to take advantage of the range of services offered to members. After initially recruiting local apprentices, it later discovered ISPO as part of the package of services offered by the international department.

Xbite Students

Xbite began its journey with ISPO in March 2014, recruiting three German interns. Initially the students were brought in to develop a series of websites and online platforms to help the business trade internationally.

Since then all online platforms have been implemented and Xbite has been consistently recruiting three ISPO students at a time with multiple language skills, helping the company access several markets across Europe.

The students have assisted the business in a variety of ways; occupying customer relations roles, marketing and data analysis. Xbite has been highly impressed with the number of languages some of our students can speak. Students are able to respond to client queries and put a human element to their services, avoiding the use of Google translate, which is not always accurate or correct.

As an online business, Xbite primarily communicate B2C, having students with language skills whereby they can speak and respond to their clients' enquiries is invaluable.

For Xbite email is becoming a thing of the past, we utilise online chat applications with social media marketing viewed as a potential way forward. ISPO students not only have the language ability, but also the cultural skills to utilise social media platforms effectively. The language skills also enable the company to tailor email responses to international customers.

In what ways has your company benefited from an ISPO students?

Students undertake a period of training before they can start contributing to the operational side of the business. Language is the main advantage, allowing Xbite to build relationships with their consumers across Europe and reach a bigger and broader market.

Sales in countries such as the Netherlands and Germany have increased markedly due to having ISPO students who speak the respective languages. They have also been able to utilise the language skills to sell to South American markets and beyond.

Students have also applied their skills to edit and enhance product descriptions, tailoring them to different languages and cultures. This has had a visible impact on Xbite's business as they have enjoyed an increase in sales in both the products and markets.

Have the students helped to bring in ‘renewing ideas' to the company? How about international trade, has the student assisted you/opened new doors for you?

It could be said that we've learned from each other. Students bring their knowledge fresh from university and we do our best to understand their needs and how their skills could be applied to our requirements. These people are young and understand technology better than us. Social media marketing is the new way to do business globally.

ISPO students have carried out a competitive analysis including the ‘4Ps', giving them further ideas as to what other markets and territories they could focus on, such as developing new products; as a result Xbite has diversified its product offering. The ISPO students have helped the company to consolidate their position in the international (non-English speaking) markets they are already operating in.

Have the students achieved anything outstanding for your company so far? What's the revenue achieved by the student for your organisation?

The students have integrated very well with existing team members who have benefited from having them, they have made Xbite's teams stronger due to their knowledge and language skills.

The technological knowhow of some of the students has had a positive impact within the organisation, having implemented Xbite's European sales platform, enabling the company to target continental markets. European students have developed these platforms, allowing better service to customers in those countries.

Would you recommend the ISPO service to other exporters / businesses? And why? What would be your advice to other companies?

"I would say, ‘don't bother' so I can have all the best students".

It's a wonderful experience and opportunity both for the students and for businesses to understand other cultures and languages, without mentioning the other skills they bring to the table.

There is always apprehension around hiring apprentices and interns as to whether or not they will work. I would say give them a go, because it definitely works. The relationship benefits both parties; the students are keen to pursue a career in the sector we operate in, and we learn from them. We have regular meetings to ensure that we also help them achieve their objectives. I would certainly recommend it.

Don't use them as a stop gap, they are intelligent people, utilise that intelligence. There is an enthusiastic willingness for them to absorb real life experiences within a company in which they join.

Are there any improvements you would like to see in the ISPO service?

No, there is no need for improvements. You understand the needs of our business and you try to place the best candidates for those needs. You have good student-business matching and you understand what we require.

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