The digital era has brought many serious changes, but most importantly it allowed us to connect to remote areas of the world within seconds. Businesses did not take long to take advantage of this opportunity, which resulted in large company expansions to a variety of geographic locations, in some cases involving different cultures and languages.
Now there are barriers and challenges – for instance, when a customer from a non-English speaking country reaches out to customer support and instead of getting help and satisfaction, is left with a feeling of fury and confusion. When companies fail to provide customer support in their first language or a language they are comfortable with, the business faces the huge risk of losing clients and also experiencing a negative impact on their reputation.
Currently, over 213 million companies have claimed to do business internationally. And although English is widely spoken in many parts of the globe, there are still groups that will be unable to maintain a conversation, which indeed is a costly mistake for companies.
The data shows that almost one-third of a company’s customers were lost due to this issue. And despite this outcome, only 19% of companies provide multilingual support to their customers.
So what happens when businesses do provide customer support in multiple languages? Research showed that consumers would repurchase if support was available in their native language. This is key to any successful business, especially nowadays where the marketplace is saturated and customers find it extremely easy to switch companies if not completely satisfied.
Customer loyalty thus. is a priority for many businesses – acquiring more buyers or consumers can be much more expensive than maintaining the existing ones. In a few words, if customers are not provided with support or overall service in a language they are comfortable with, it is very likely that they will look for alternative brands.
How can businesses incorporate a diverse range of languages?
There are some key factors companies need to bear in mind before adopting multilingual support.
First and foremost, we need to find out the languages our clients speak, what countries are consuming the product or service, and what might be the most common issues they struggle with in each specific area.
Once we have identified the target audience, we can look into hiring local native speakers, this prevents any time zone difference issues. It has been confirmed that customers strongly prefer dealing with native representatives rather than non-natives. Native speakers have a better understanding of the culture and customs which makes customers feel more comfortable. Companies can outsource the process by letting local customer service companies hire native speaker agents.
Even though more and more companies have already or are intending to make their website multilingual, it is yet an area to be explored by many. We cannot emphasize enough how important this is; a big part of customers would rather check the information online, chat or send an email before jumping on a call – It is much more convenient and time-saving. Companies therefore must focus on providing self-service options in many languages available on their website. This is also a cost-effective option compared to hiring qualified native speakers to provide customer service in real-time.
To support the client fully through the website we can incorporate many features such as translation tools, a common Q&A section, and a 24/7 available chatbot.
Chatbots offered in a variety of languages are excellent for simple issues and can ease the workload of the customer service team significantly. They are available at any time of the day and help to keep track of issues as well as redirect their concerns to an agent when needed.
Similar to chatbots, many companies opt for FAQs translated into several languages which are highly beneficial for consumers as it provides speedy solutions. When it comes to designing a website in a variety of languages we can hire translation experts or opt for machine translation, either way, these need to be reviewed to ensure high quality.
Machine translation can also be used for automatic translation for live conversations, a great option when companies are unable to invest in local customer service representatives. Overall, this tool is cost and time effective, where customers get almost instant solutions for common issues while the team works on the most serious ones.
What impact does multilingual customer support have on business?
When companies embrace multilingual support it is beneficial for both customers and sellers, boosting sales and customer loyalty – almost 72% of customers were happy when dealing with agents that spoke their mother tongue. It created a sense of trust which also led to more referrals and overall company growth.
Additionally, a business that delivers in many languages is a step closer to becoming a global brand. Offering services in other widely spoken languages opens up a whole new market and group of customers. Nowadays, it is almost a necessity to be different from your competitors, it is essential to offer something they do not, and delivering multilingual support by also focusing on multilingual marketing could become a USP.
Incorporating additional languages is an excellent strategy for customers to feel valued by the company. Not only it increases efficiency and loyalty, but also allows scope for customers’ contribution to product development and eventually empowers the company in the global market. Having said that, companies believing and accepting that providing customer support in English should be enough to reach out to a large market is a huge misconception.
A highly successful company requires strong multilingual support. Working with local native agents, making chatbots available 24/7 to resolve a wide range of issues, and including machine translation to your website can genuinely make a positive difference in the long run. Every business should make an effort to incorporate some if not all of the above-mentioned practices and tools to offer an excellent customer experience across cultures and geographies.
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