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Four Key Takeaways for Multilingual Success in Contact Centers

By Tom Tseki, VP & GM, GeoFluent & Customer Care Solutions, Lionbridge

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Tom Tseki, VP & GM, GeoFluent & Customer Care Solutions, Lionbridge

For today’s contact center professionals, language is arguably the most important component of customer experience. With new market forces such as the increase of digital and mobile channels, as well as continued diversification and globalization, companies must look to new and innovative ways to reach their customers in order to gain market share and remain competitive. Brand managers are focused on ensuring they can reach global customers with relevant content across all channels that often means making large investments in website, content, and app localization as well as marketing automation technologies. However, once these investments have been made, brands must continue down the customer journey map and provide seamless customer service across all markets.

“Contact centers must evolve their programs and strategies to support non-primary language speaking customers”

The key to success in doing this on a global scale lies in language. Consider the facts:

- A recent study from the Inter­national Customer Management Institute (ICMI) and Lionbridge found that language diversity is projected to increase over the next three years, where 52 percent of contact centers expect the volume of non-primary language communica­tions to increase over this time.

- While many contact center leaders are aware that customers expect to receive service in their native language when contacting a brand, 79 percent have customers, who are not native speakers of the primary language(s) they serve.

- Another study found that 52 percent of consumers are extremely likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize their communications to them.

"By Embracing Journey Mapping, Companies Can Garner A Better Understanding Of Their Customers’ Interactions and Reduce Overall Customer Effort"

As a result, contact centers must evolve their programs and strategies to support non-primary language speaking customers. If you’ve taken the steps to localize your website, providing service in that same language is essential to ensuring customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. To provide quality global customer experiences while optimizing localization investments, companies should embrace these four customer service best practices.

1. Provide 24/7 Access to Customer Support on All Channels

As digital technologies continue to evolve, consumers now have a multitude of channels in which they can engage with (or complain about) a brand. To address consumer channel preferences, contact centers should integrate a variety of channel options into their support portfolio as well as comprehensive language support to reach all current and potential customers. As a result, brands can reduce the amount of inbound calls to their contact centers, which leads to shorter wait times, happier customers, and ultimately decreased customer care costs.

2. Globalization is a Must

In today’s world, markets have become increasingly diverse and connected, blurring the gap between domestic and global. Because of this, brands must possess a global outlook when managing their contact centers–even if they’re based in one country and don’t have plans to expand worldwide. This means supporting customers across all languages by adding multilingual capabilities to existing contact center communications platforms, which can be accomplished with new solutions such as real-time translation software.

3. Enable Seamless Self-Service Options

Voice is no longer the prominent channel for customer support, with Forrester reporting that 76 percent of consumers prefer company FAQ websites and 58 percent prefer online chat options as an initial resource. To meet these demands and effectively engage with customers online, brands must enable self-service channels–such as online chat, forums and mobile support–with omni-lingual capabilities to benefit all customers across the globe. At the end of the day, if the majority of self-service content is siloed in a single or small group of languages, a brand’s service channel isn’t helping non-primary speaking customers.

4. Implement Journey Mapping

By embracing journey mapping, companies can garner a better understanding of their customers’ interactions and reduce overall customer effort. But oftentimes, these journey maps are conducted for primary language-speaking customers only, ignoring non-primary language customers. To succeed in today’s global marketplace, brands should prioritize journey mapping alongside website localization, while implementing and measuring key customer metrics–such as CSAT, NPS, and customer effort–across all languages.

Looking Ahead

As brands look to website and app localization to reach customers across diverse markets, they must also look beyond the sale and enable customer support across those same languages. By building strategies around key customer service best practices such as delivering omni-lingual support across all channels, companies can meet growing consumer demands and increase CX, while reducing the overall cost of support