How to enhance your customer experience with multilingual customer support

How to enhance your customer experience with multilingual customer support

Andrej Csizmadia

Andrej Csizmadia

Last modified on November 16, 2022 at 11:39 am

Did you know that 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers product information in their native language? Therefore, if you’re planning to consistently deliver an exceptional customer experience (CX) and expect to increase customer loyalty, you need to know how to implement multilingual customer support. Not particularly sure where to begin? This article is a great start! After reading, you will know the best multilingual customer support tips that will help you ultimately improve CX. 

The benefits of multilingual customer support

Benefits of multilingual customer support

With businesses becoming more globalized, simply expecting all customers to speak one common language, like English, marginalizes the potential customer reach and leaves your brand behind the competition. That’s why the key to your business growth and improved customer experience lies in multilingual customer support. 

By understanding the key benefits behind multilingual customer support, you can set achievable goals and objectives. 

  • Increased customer loyalty and trust. Customer support in the native language will help you establish trust, which is essential at all stages of the buying cycle, and therefore, increase brand loyalty. In fact, studies show that 74% of customers are more likely to purchase again from a brand if it offers post-sale communication in the native language. 
  • Better customer experiences. By offering customer support in native languages, you can boost customer satisfaction and ultimately improve customer experiences. 
  • Expanded customer reach. Multilingual customer support allows you to get access to a wider market and get the international audience interested in what you do. 
  • Increased sales. The more potential customers you have, the broader is your sales potential. Additionally, localization makes your content more appealing to the audience. This significantly increases the chances of a purchase. This way, multilingual support enables invaluable economic benefits that are otherwise hard to achieve.

7 tips to enhance CX with multilingual customer support 

Multilingual customer support can help you improve customer experiences. It enables you to increase customer loyalty, expand your customer reach, and boost sales. But how do you ensure a great customer experience without getting stuck with the language barriers? The answer lies in following the best multilanguage customer support practices. 

1. Know the languages your customers speak 

Did you know that only 20% of the world’s population speaks English? This leaves you with the whopping 80% of people with a native language other than English. But how do you know which languages to choose for your customer support? After all, there are more than 6,900 distinct languages out there. 

While this step may sound obvious, professionals often overlook the importance of understanding which languages their customers speak. To get an accurate picture, you can use customers’ demographics, email addresses, IP addresses, and other contact information to pin down your customers’ locales and the languages they speak. 

2. Create a multilingual website  

Creating a multilingual website is a great way to expand your reach to new markets and ultimately improve CX. To help you get started, here are the four essential steps you should take to launch a multilingual website. 

Step 1. Translate and localize your content 

What is the difference between website translation and localization? Let’s take a look at a simple example to understand the difference between the two concepts. 

Let’s imagine you want to launch a Korean version of your English website. Translation implies downloading a plugin that will convert your text from English to Korean. Yet, considering sentence structure, slang, clauses, and other nuances of the Korean language, simple machine phrase-to-phrase translation is not good enough. This is when you need to use localization tools to adapt all content on your website to the Korean language, norms, and culture. It’s like having Google Translate versus a Korean tutor, who also happens to be a native speaker, translate content on your website. At the end of the day, you’ll have your website translated either way, but if you want to inspire trust and improve CX, localization is your go-to strategy. 

Step 2. Decide on which multilingual format to use

After translating and localizing your website to the target language, it’s time to decide on your multilingual website format. There are two main ways you can approach creating a multilingual website. You can either have a subdomain or use separate domains to host multiple versions of your website. 

The first method implies that you host multiple versions of your website under a single website domain adding subfolders (or subdomains) that contain the translated and localized pages. The subdomain approach is more affordable than the separate domain approach. Another benefit is that you don’t need to invest in dozens of URLs and domains. When it comes to limitations, the subdomain approach poses a higher risk of broken links and the need to redirect links. 

The second method includes using separate domains to host different versions of your website. For example, you can use .us for the United States, .cn for China, .ru for Russia, .de for Germany, and so on. This approach allows more dedicated customer experience and eliminates the need to redirect pages. However, the separate domain approach can be very expensive and binds your team to manage and update multiple websites at once.  

Step 3. Create a language selection menu 

After you’ve chosen your domain registration method, the next step is creating a language selection menu for your website. The language selection menu helps users navigate and choose which language they view your website in. 

When it comes to designing a language selection menu, functionality and CX should be central to every decision you make. The design should be simple, and the menu should be easy to locate. Here’s an example of a standard dropdown language selection menu.

Language menu selection

Alternatively, you can include a language selection page. Here’s a great example by Spotify.

Country selector

Step 4. Double check your typography 

Typography is an important element that’s so easy to overlook when you have a multilingual website. It’s the art of arranging letters and text that makes your website visually appealing to users.  

Here’s a list of typographic elements you should consider when adapting your website to multiple locales: 

  • Font style and typeface 
  • Colors
  • Hierarchy 
  • Alignment 
  • Consistency 
  • White space

3. Offer self-service tools 

If you followed the above steps, you should have a well-functioning multilingual website by now. Creating a website in multiple languages is paramount to improve customer experience. However, if you want to expand and reach a global audience, designing a multilingual website is not always enough. 

Launching a knowledge base can be a total game-changer. And when you offer a localized customer base in multiple languages, it can improve CX. But first, let’s understand what is a knowledge base and how you can create one. 

A knowledge base is a centralized database that allows users to search and retrieve information about product, service, or topic. Typically, knowledge bases are used in combination with customer support to assist customers in finding the information they need. Here’s an example of a knowledge base created by Apple to assist customers in solving their product-related problems. 

Apple customer portal
Self service tools for customers

Even though a knowledge base by itself will help you improve CX, offering a localized knowledge base will help you skyrocket what you’re trying to achieve with an English knowledge base. 

The most important benefit enabled by a multilingual knowledge base is its ability to improve customer journeys and make your clients happier about your product. As a result, you can increase your revenue and become a step closer to being a more customer-centered brand. 

4. Learn about the service expectations of a local culture 

When dealing with customers from different countries, it’s easy to oversee cultural diversity. In multilingual customer service, representatives must understand cultural nuances and expectations of customers from all over the world.

Adapt to the local culture of your customers

As proposed in Hofstede’s 6-D framework of national cultures, there are six cultural dimensions: 

  • Collectivism vs. Individualism 
  • Power distance 
  • Femininity vs. Masculinity 
  • Uncertainty Avoidance 
  • Short-term orientation vs. long-term orientation 
  • Indulgence vs. Restraint 

While it’s important to understand all six cultural dimensions, we’ll cover the two dimensions most relevant for customer support. 

Collectivism vs. Individualism 

In collectivistic cultures, people view themselves as a part of a group rather than individuals whose worth is independent of the opinions of others. So, when providing customer service to the members of a collectivistic culture, it’s important to do the following: 

  • Focus on building lasting relationships 
  • Try to get a purchase from the group 
  • Show your product in a way that emphasizes how it can help your customers and their group

In countries with individualistic cultures in their core, people praise standing out from the crowd and see an individual as being more important than the group. That’s why they require a more personal approach than members of collectivistic cultures. Here are some tips for dealing with customers from individualistic cultures: 

  • Present your product in a way that helps your customer stand out 
  • Appeal to the customer’s personal decision making 

Power Distance 

Power distance indicates how comfortable are members of different cultures with others being higher or lower in a social or professional hierarchy. While some people can’t stand hierarchical relationships, others accept their place in a given hierarchy and follow authority with no questions asked. 

In customer service, members of high power distance cultures are more likely to file a complaint to authority if they have an issue. Here’s what you can do to address their needs: 

  • It’s important to sound respectful and mention the customer’s job position 
  • Expect customers to ask for your position and call for an authority

In contrast, customers from lower power distance cultures are less likely to ask to “speak to the manager.” Follow these tips when dealing with customers from low power distance cultures. 

  • If not relevant, don’t mention the customer’s job title or position
  • Train customer service representatives to manage all kinds of inquiries 

By mapping out these dimensions and finding ways to address the differences, you can tailor exceptional CX with respect to cultural diversity and nuances.

5. Consider time zones 

Customers are very time-sensitive. Regardless of the culture, people have an innate expectation of how long a reply should take. For example, when you log in to your account, and it requires a second verification method, you expect to receive a message with the security code within seconds. 

When clients contact customer service to file a complaint, they expect the brand to reply within a few hours or less. Targeting customers who speak different languages pose a unique challenge – you’ll have to address more time zones. 

Setting up the 24/7 multilingual customer support center is the best way to resolve customer issues regardless of their time zones. 

6. Use chatbots to improve problem resolution time 

If you don’t have the resources or budget to enable a 24/7 support center, technology offers a viable alternative that will keep your customers satisfied. A multilingual chatbot is an efficient solution that will help you address market demand and improve CX. 

When approaching the need for 24/7 multilingual customer support, your first instinct may be to use machine translation to create communication lines for your bot. However, this method isn’t the most effective. By working closely with native linguists who understand and speak the target language, you can create a native-like chatbot that will help your CX skyrocket. 

7. How can LiveAgent help?

Regardless of the size of your customer support team, managing multilingual customer support can be challenging. LiveAgent is a fully-featured help desk software that can help you bring personalized experiences to your multilingual audience. 

Here are the key features that can help you deliver world-class customer experiences: 

  • Agent panel in 40+ languages
  • Partial chat / ticket support in multiple languages
  • Website in 3 languages 
  • Social Media support that can be done in multiple languages
  • Call Support per language 
  • Having a separate knowledge base per language 
  • Having a separate customer portal (different live agent account) per new country
  • Having a separate pricing per currency on the website

Final thoughts 

In today’s increasingly global economy, to stay competitive, companies must keep up with the demand for authentic and localized customer experiences. When done right, multilingual customer support can help you ultimately improve customer experience and stay in touch with your international audience.

Building strong multilingual customer support takes an understanding of your international audience and choosing the right service. Good luck deploying your newfound insights! 

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