Guide to multilingual customer support

Imagine you’re shopping on a global ecommerce website, browsing and adding items to your cart. Just as you’re ready to pull the trigger, a question pops up in your mind. You scour the website looking for an answer, but can’t find customer resources written in your language or a local number to call for help. Feeling incredibly frustrated, you exit the tab and seek out alternatives.

Not only is this a common problem for international shoppers, but it’s also an issue for businesses looking to expand overseas. Without proper ways to communicate with your international customers, it’s difficult to grow global sales or repeat business. If you care more about the lifetime value of a customer rather than just the initial sale, quality multilingual support for your international customers is something you shouldn’t go without.

Determining the level of support

First, you need to determine the level of support as well as the languages you want to offer. These decisions should remain consistent with your general internationalization strategy. For example, if you have a significant presence in any particular market, you may consider having a team of in-country support agents. However, this is a costly option unfeasible for most smaller companies.

Here are several components of your support system you may choose to localize:

1. FAQs

When planning your global support strategy, translated FAQ pages are a great place to start. Covering anything from product uses to refund policies, these pages provide easily accessible answers to common questions, which ensures you can address customer inquiries in near real-time. This is an easy way to address any potential concerns your international customers may have when browsing your website.

2. Social media channels

It’s likely that a large percent of your customers are active on some sort of social media, liking and sharing content on a regular basis. They may also use these outlets to express concerns or ask questions about your product or service. Choosing to take a proactive approach to customer support via your social media channels can foster customer relationships as well as brand loyalty.

3. Call centers

It’s important that customers can call your company and actually talk to someone who speaks their language. This means that to provide full call center support, you’ll need to allocate training resources and scripts for employees handling these calls. You can translate anything from call scripts to training documents to ensure your staff is prepared to give your global customers the support they need whenever they need it.

4. Support tickets

As a low-cost, low-risk alternative to building out country-specific support teams, we recommend businesses to use a translation integration with their support ticketing system. For example, with the Gengo-powered Transfluent plugin, support agents can handle customer inquiries across multiple languages from within the Zendesk dashboard.

While it may be easy to forget customer service when you’re gearing up to go global, it’s absolutely crucial to have a strategy in place to communicate with your global customers. A world-class support system has the power to build lasting relationships with your customers and ultimately increase global profits.

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Alex Nguyen

The author

Alex Nguyen

Alex crafts and coordinates content for Gengo’s marketing team. Based in San Francisco after a brief stint in Tokyo, she loves all things culture and design. When not at Gengo, she’s likely brushing up on her Japanese, letting loose at indie electronic shows or trying out new ice cream spots in the city.

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