Pleasing the customer is perhaps the most critical aspect to business success; ensuring the service provided satisfies the needs of the customer has a huge impact on both consumer retention and attraction.

But now with markets more saturated than ever before, digital tools have enabled disruptive new players to enter the fray. It has therefore become even more crucial that businesses design a Customer Experience that is both valued by the customer, and better than that of their competitors.

Businesses are subsequently making significant investments in the customer journey, to ensure that it meets the demands of the modern consumer.

Thinking globally

For businesses that are looking to expand internationally, it is crucial that the Customer Experience for new markets isn’t made an afterthought. Too often we have seen businesses devote substantial time and resources into a Customer Experience that is designed for home nation consumers in their native language, and then neglect the needs of international customers.

It is now impossible to argue against the importance of language to the global Customer Experience – 55 percent of customers will only shop at websites that are presented in their native language. Many businesses are therefore now reacting by devising language adaptation strategies to modify their website and app content for an international audience.

However, we are still not seeing similar efforts made into adapting the post-sale customer care experience for non-native customers.

To analyse this logically, if the website has been adapted to your preferred language, you would then expect to receive customer service in that same language as well. However, many organisations take the initial step to localise their websites and sales and product materials, yet they don’t enable their contact centres to be able to communicate in those native languages. This leads to high effort and frustration and low CSAT, and eliminates the opportunity for future purchases from that consumer.

Although language may arguably be the most important aspect to global customer communications, it is not the only key to international customer service success. To maintain attention and loyalty from global customers, businesses should be looking to combine language with additional components when creating an effective Customer Experience. My top three of which are the following:

1. Real-time interactions, 24/7

The modern consumer is empowered by the newfound capabilities that their digital devices enable. They are always ‘on’, always connected, 24/7, and subsequently expect the same of brands they are interacting with. This has placed a new strain on brands to meet these expectations, or be at risk of being on the receiving end of a backlash – social media is often a happy hunting ground for a disgruntled customer. To combat this, brands should look to activate real-time omnilingual support across all communications channels.

2. Digital channels

Voice-only channels are no longer the preferred options for modern customers – 76 percent of consumers look to company FAQ websites as an initial resource, and 58 percent prefer online chat options. Time is precious to customers, and having the ability to gain the answers they are looking for themselves, as quickly as possible and with as little effort as possible, is highly valued.

Brands are therefore under pressure to add self-service channels, such as chat (bots and live chat), forums, mobile support, and social media options to their customer service. Then, by enabling these channels with omnilingual capabilities, all customers can benefit, regardless of the language they speak.

3. Journey mapping

This isn’t exactly a feature of the Customer Experience, but it is a crucial aspect to creating an effective one. Whilst journey mapping is not new to most brands, it is rare that it is ever applied to the wide variety of languages that global customers interact in. The archetypal primary language speaker does not represent the entire consumer base, and by neglecting this brands are putting non-primary language speakers at an immediate disadvantage.

In order to ensure that the CX demands are realised for all, it is important that the customer journey and customer metrics are measured and analysed by language.

Whilst it is key to invest in language adaptation solutions, it is equally important that brands understand the importance of these features to their customer care strategy. An effective global Customer Experience will lead to satisfying interactions within all of the markets that you operate in, resulting in a successful international business with happy customers that repurchase again and again.

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About The Author

VP & General Management, GeoFluent & Customer Care Solutions, Lionbridge

Tom Tseki is the vice president and general manager, GeoFluent and Customer Care Solutions, at Lionbridge. He is a contact center industry veteran, and his experience and expertise include helping organizations implement and leverage omni-channel customer care strategies to improve CX, increase revenue and gain contact center efficiencies. Tom has a deep background in contact center technology as it relates to customer communication, analytics and workforce optimization. He works closely with contact center and BPO leaders on strategies to improve care by reducing customer effort – leading to increased CSAT and NPS.