If you have ever offered customer service to a non-native English speaker, you know the frustration of broken communication and the benefits of clarity. Business owners who haven’t experienced this scenario often fail to see clear communication as enough incentive to invest in multilingual call services, web copy, and representatives. But, whether your business is global or local, you can benefit from multilingual customer service. Here’s how.
Improved Customer Experience
It’s common sense that speaking to a customer in their native tongue creates a better customer experience. But how does this improved experience impact your business?
Increased Brand Loyalty
Loyalty can be difficult to foster. As a business owner, you may not always be able guess exactly what will resonate with an individual and what will drive him or her away. However, communicating in a customer’s native tongue creates a solid foundation.
About 75% of consumers with some English proficiency are “more likely to purchase the same brand again if the after-sales care is in [their] own language.” The number increases to 80.6% percent for consumers who speak little to no English.
Increased Positive Feedback
Not only does multilingual service drive your customers toward purchases, it leaves a lasting impression. You likely know how important customer feedback can be to make a business competitive. In fact, 85% of consumers read reviews for local businesses. Of these respondents, 73% say positive reviews impact how they feel about a business.
But how does foreign language service increase the likelihood that you’ll receive that vital positive feedback? Multilingual service makes leaving positive feedback:
- Easier: If the feedback process is too complex, your company is less likely to receive reviews—both positive and negative. Remember that reviewers leaving negative comments are more likely to have pressing motivation. People leaving positive feedback may abandon their efforts if doing so seems difficult or incomprehensible to them.
- More personally important: Your foreign-speaking consumers have likely struggled to find companies that offer service in their native language. When they find a business that speaks their language, they are more likely to encourage other consumers who speak that language to partner with that business.
Greater Efficiency and Productivity
Multilingual services make it easier to communicate with your customers, which generates greater productivity and efficiency. This applies to many categories of business operation, but especially calls and sales.
Shortened Call Times
Many businesses rely on phone conversations for sales, customer service, surveying, and after-sale services. It’s difficult enough to conduct business over the phone without language barriers. Even a heavy accent can disrupt or scramble the content of an important phone call. You can avoid similar communication barriers when you invest in call center employees who speak common foreign languages.
Like brand loyalty, sales are affected by a wide variety of socioeconomic and individual factors. But, language is one of the weightiest of those factors.
A survey entitled “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters” reports on the buying preferences of more than 2,400 consumers from outside North America. Survey respondents have varying levels of English proficiency, from no familiarity to near fluency. In all, 85.3% of respondents list information in their native language as a “critical factor” when making significant purchases.
The same survey found that, while 67.4% of respondents visit English-language websites frequently, only 25.5% regularly make purchases on those sites. The discrepancy remains even when websites have basic information available in the consumers’ language. For example, many English-language sites do not convert prices into a potential customer’s local currency, which hinders sales. Customer service in foreign languages could alleviate or eliminate the gap between browsing and buying.
Multilingual services do more than improve a company’s relationship with its local audience. They can also can help a company expand to reach a global market, which yields higher revenue and better collaboration.
In the “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” survey, researchers found that 50.8% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that cater to a global audience. And in 2013, economic experts predicted 70% of world market growth will come from emerging markets, with China and India comprising 40% of that growth.
Reaching global markets can result in immense profit increase as approximately 95% of consumers live outside the United States.
Many first- and second-world countries are filled with immigrant families. When you provide multilingual customer service, you open your business to multicultural sensitivity and collaboration. This has a host of benefits, including:
- Creativity and innovation in the workplace. Integrating new language services often requires employees to find resourceful solutions. Providing various language services also makes your company more receptive to culturally-based ideas and a diverse employee base.
- Respect and understanding. About 20% of Americans speak a foreign language at home. To reach and respond to the needs of this culturally diverse audience, your company needs to understand the differences between cultures. Incorporating multilingual services can jumpstart that process.
- Feedback tailored to specific sectors of your audience. If most of the management in your company is composed of native-born, white Americans, you may struggle to meet the needs of your diverse audience. The feedback you receive when you better reach this audience can help you improve your client relationships.
If you think your business could improve through any of these benefits, consult with a multilingual customer service provider about expanding your reach.