Multilingual Customer Support: How To Do It The Right Way

What is multilingual customer support and why is it important? We break down definitions, benefits, and best practices.
Published on: Nov 30, 2023
Last updated: Jan 25, 2024

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As the world becomes more connected, businesses need to focus on international customer support. That means ensuring they have multilingual agents as well as tools for those who may not be comfortable speaking or chatting with someone. The good news is that there are plenty of options available to expand your market reach and improve the customer experience.

Data shows that 29% of businesses will lose customers due to a lack of multilingual support, while 71% of users reported increased loyalty to companies that offer support in their native language. Let’s talk about what multilingual and international support is and how to implement it within your business.

What is multilingual and international customer support?

Simply put, multilingual and international customer support is when you provide assistance and service to customers in multiple languages across various regions around the world. It is crucial for businesses to understand this type of customer support in a globalized world where we can speak to someone in another country in an instant.

International customer support is not only about being able to speak the language. It also involves addressing the unique requirements of customers from different countries or regions such as time zones, cultural nuances and specific market demands.

Offering multilingual support is a great way to create a seamless customer support experience no matter where a customer or agent is located. Keep in mind that there are several ways to offer this type of support and not all of them involve agents needing to speak different languages. There are several benefits to implementing multilingual customer support.

What are the benefits of multilingual customer support?

Multilingual customer support offers several advantages for businesses that want to expand their reach to a more diverse customer base. Without it, it would be almost impossible to communicate with users not located in your local country. Additional benefits include:

  • Increased customer satisfaction: Offering customer support in a customer’s native language is a huge way to improve customer satisfaction. The more languages you can offer, the more countries you can provide service in.
  • Increased reach: Having multilingual agents gives businesses a way to tap into different markets and demographics. This widens your customer base and there is always room for more growth.
  • Localization: Cultural sentiments, customs and practices can vary significantly from country to country. Localization can ensure that you’re providing multilingual customer support in a culturally sensitive and appropriate way. This goes beyond just offering support in different languages - it takes into account cultural nuances, as well.
  • Improved customer retention: Customers who are able to receive support in their native language are likely to remain loyal and recommend your business to others. So, you’ll be retaining customers while also gaining potential new ones.
  • Increased competitive advantage: Providing multilingual support will set you apart from your competition since it shows that your business has a commitment to inclusivity and customer-centricity.

How to provide multilingual customer service

Providing effective multilingual customer service involves a combination of strategies and tools that are aimed at bridging language barriers and fostering positive interactions across diverse customer bases. It’s important to consider inclusivity and sensitivity when implementing any policies and procedures. Here are some key approaches to providing multilingual customer service:

Hire translators and overseas support agents

The first thing you should do is hire translators and overseas support agents. Agents should be bilingual or multilingual in the languages spoken by your customer base. Your support teams based in regions where target languages are spoken can offer cultural insight and proximity to customers, aiding in more personalized interactions.

Having translators and agents who can speak the language of your customers will provide them with a sense of security. It can also increase brand loyalty.

Make use of AI and chatbots

In the age of artificial intelligence, AI is your best friend. AI-driven chatbots with multilingual capabilities can offer 24/7 support in several languages. Chatbots can handle daily routine inquiries or direct customers to relevant sources to improve efficiency and response times.

Offer multi-language live chat

Along with AI chatbots, live chat systems with multiple languages can also enable real-time communication with customers in their preferred language. While chatbots can provide customer support, having multilingual live chat agents for when issues are escalated is also important.

Use technology like cobrowsing and session replays

Cobrowsing and session replays are another set of tools that you can use for multilingual customer support. Cobrowsing allows agents to visually guide customers through processes using screen control, regardless of language barriers to ensure better understanding and issue resolution. Session replays lets you auto-record and watch user sessions in your app so you don’t have to depend on user explanations to understand what happened.

Promote diversity in the workplace

Embracing a diverse team with employees from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds will help you improve multilingual customer support. This fosters an environment where different languages and perspectives are valued.

Conduct cultural sensitivity training for agents

Cultural sensitivity training for agents is another crucial component in multilingual customer support. This type of training equips employees with the knowledge and skills to understand cultural nuances, ensuring respectful and empathetic customer interactions.

The most important multi-language support channels

International customer support requires multiple communication channels to work efficiently. In this section we’re going to discuss the most important multi-language support channels and best practices.

Cobrowsing

Cobrowse for faster resolutions.

With cobrowsing, agents can navigate and interact with a customer’s screen in real-time by initiating a cobrowse session. It comes in handy in instances when someone is not being comfortable using a live chat feature if they don’t speak English as a first language. Using cobrowsing gives agents multiple ways to offer customer support.

Session replays

Session replay tools let you capture and review customer interactions with a website or application. These recordings provide valuable insights into customer behavior and pain points. They also help you understand issues a customer faced on your platform, so you don’t need to rely on explanations from them to resolve tickets or troubleshoot problems.

Live chat

Live chat platforms allow businesses to offer 24/7 customer support with multi-language capabilities. This type of real-time interaction can enhance customer satisfaction for those who prefer to talk to a live person, but may have language barriers and are more comfortable with written language than spoken language.

Emails

Email support has remained a critical channel for multi-language customer service. Offering support via email allows for detailed explanations, attachments and solutions in various languages, providing comprehensive assistance to customers globally. Emails also let customers and support agents make use of online translation tools if needed.

Help center

A multilingual help center or knowledge base serves as a self-service resource for customers. These help centers can provide articles, FAQs, and guides in multiple languages to empower users to find solutions independently. Along with help centers, there can also be forums or communities where customers can find support from others in different languages. This also reduces the need for direct support interactions while still improving the customer experience.

Social media

Engaging customers through social media platforms in multiple languages enhances brand visibility and customer engagement. It also shows customers that your brand is inclusive of different cultures and languages. Responding to queries or comments in a customer’s preferred language shows commitment to personalizing the support process for everyone.

Conclusion

To sum it up, all businesses should be utilizing multilingual support tools. Not only should you have agents that can speak multiple languages, but other tools should be made available to facilitate the process of providing multilingual customer service. Cobrowsing tools and session replays such as Fullview can provide support to international customers without them needing to know another language. It’s important to do your research on tools to ensure you’re using the best for your business, and doing it the right way.

Sources used:

Sources last checked on 30-Nov-2023

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