Multilingual Customer Service: A Complete Guide (2021)

Customer service solutions today make it possible to cater to customers beyond geographical boundaries. Growing globally is reduced to a matter of adopting a few communication channels and distribution campaigns on your strategy — until your initial customer engagement plateaus and leaves you looking for a long-term solution to the language barrier. 

Multilingual customer service is on the rise among companies who want to build positive customer relationships by committing to speak in their native language. In this blog, let’s take a deep dive into multilingual customer service, why you need it, its benefits, and how to adopt it in your business.

What is Multilingual Customer Service?

Multilingual Customer Service is a form of support where companies provide experiences and assist customers in their native language. When companies start growing across regions, they are in need of solutions that will provide inclusivity to their customers beyond language and time zones. 

Why Offer Multilingual Customer Service?

Companies are moving towards multilingual customer service to increase their growth opportunities and establish brand trust among international customers. When customers who speak a different language start using your products or services, they want to interact with you in their native language or in a language of their choice. In fact, the proven correlation between multilingual customer service and customer retention is the key factor driving companies towards its adoption.

74% of customers claim that they are likely to repurchase from a business that offers customer service in their native language.

Basic translation tools can be cost-effective in the short run, but in the long run, the lack of a customized, personalized multilingual support function can make people perceive your business as impassive and even less credible. Thus, when it comes to taking advantage of global markets, multilingual customer support is more of an essential rather than an extension. 

Benefits of Multilingual Customer Service

The Benefits of Multilingual Customer Service transcend growth opportunities and increased revenue. They are multifold:

  1. Breaks Language Barrier in Support
  2. Boosts Customer Satisfaction
  3. Helps to Expand Globally
  4. Increases Brand Trust and Value

1. Breaks the Language Barrier in Support: Support can be tricky. Even in common languages, we have seen customers struggle to communicate their issues to the service team and vice versa. Even the simplest of customer issues can become burdensome when neither of the parties can understand what the other is saying. Multilingual customer service lets you offer support in the customer’s language, through native support reps, multilingual chatbots, and a self-service knowledge base. 

2. Boosts Customer Satisfaction:  The emotional connection and customer satisfaction that you establish when interacting with customers in their native language are very high. You foster better relationships with customers (and better CSAT scores!) when you demonstrate an evident effort in assisting them in the language they speak. 

3. Helps to Expand Globally: Going global increases brand awareness and sales by fetching new markets for your products and services. More and more small businesses are expanding internationally thanks to the abundance of solutions required to go global – target audience research, search engine assessments, influencer marketing, and of course, multilingual service options. The language gap is a key problem in global expansion and multilingual customer service seals that gap.

4. Increases Brand Trust and Value: Global expansion adds a new revenue stream to your bottom line and helps with the acquisition of new leads. If customers have to work with an overseas brand that probably does not have a local presence, they need assurance of hassle-free, long-term support. Before anything, the brand needs to build credibility in the minds of potential customers. Speaking their own language is a proven way to increase brand trust and hence your brand value. 

1. Identify Major Demographics and Determine the Service Need

Identifying your major demographics and potential customers may be the first thing you do while going global. But you need to probe deeper when adopting multilingual customer service for a specific location as the level of service needed may differ from region to region. Are you offering full-fledged services or only a part of your services for that region? Is the service request volume too low to recruit a native call center agent for support? When you have an understanding of the customer base in a particular area and the level of service needed, you can make an informed decision regarding what tools and solutions to invest in. 

2.Integrate Advanced Translation Tools in Help Desk

Adopting a translation tool is the most important part of offering quality multilingual customer service and also the most overlooked one. You need translation tools more advanced than Google translate to understand customer intent rather than just their words. Simple, in-built ‘transliteration’ will only get the literal meaning and grammar of the conversation right.

Adopting advanced machine translation tools or outsourcing to human translation services will not only eliminate the ambiguity and manual errors in communications but also capture the cultural relevance and context you need to give an accurate solution. From social media to real-time live chat support to contact center, give your global customers the option to communicate in their preferred language. 

3. Recruit Native Support Agents

If you have a huge market presence or a large number of active customers in a specific region, you can invest in building a team of native support agents to amp up your multilingual service. While they can be a valuable addition, not every company may be open to that idea due to the expense and challenge factors associated with the talent search. Nevertheless, it is important. 

Customer service expectations may not be universal. They can vary from customer to customer, region to region, and even culture to culture. Some customers may not be open to small talks, some may not be open to sharing some private information, and some may just have different communication etiquettes — native speakers can bring their own experience to the table and go the extra mile in meeting the service expectations of a specific culture. 

4. Build Multilingual Self-service Tools

Speaking of diverse service expectations, some customers lean more towards self-service when they encounter an issue with your product.

More than 80% of customers claim to try to search online or refer to a knowledge base before reaching out to the support team.

This may be higher in a global scenario where customers might feel some level of language and time zone barrier no matter how perfect your multilingual customer service is. Customizing your self-service knowledge base in the local language is crucial, as you don’t want to be caught off guard when your non-english-speaking customer resorts to your website for self-help. Most importantly, customize your knowledge base to suit the native audience rather than using a translator to make page-by-page translations.

Customers use your FAQ pages, user guides, and troubleshooting videos to find accurate solutions to their problems and they will most definitely notice any transliteration errors. HappyFox multilingual knowledge base provides professional, personalized self-service to your customers.

5. Capture Cultural Differences in Support Tonality

Providing global support is much more complicated than launching or selling your product globally. Service standards and expectations differ from country to country. Building a global product does not stop with adding additional languages to your help desk. Establishing localization and maintaining a tone of voice in service that is relatable to your customers beyond borders, culture, and language enriches the customer experience and boosts brand loyalty in the long run.

Takeaways

With the right solutions and tools, you can eliminate the language barrier standing in your way of providing a great customer experience. Back your multilingual customer service experience with cultural understanding, competitor research and market research, and strategic investments. HappyFox Multilingual Help Desk helps you provide hassle-free multilingual customer service in 35 languages.

Schedule a demo today to learn how to deliver superior global support!