Welcome to the ultimate article on Multilingual Customer Experience (MCX). As companies continue to look for ways to please customers whenever possible, some are deliberately creating multilingual customer experiences in order to better serve their customers across multiple language markets. Facilitating equal access to your services by adding support in multiple languages both acknowledges and demonstrates respect for your non-native English speaking customers. It can improve sales and customer loyalty, and strengthen your brand. This combination of strong sales and a solid customer base is integral to market expansion and growth.
Why Serving Customer Segments Across Multiple Languages Matters
Today, more than ever before, there is a real need to identify and tailor services to specific customer segments. A customer segment is a group of customers who share specific demographics or characteristics, and may also share a common language. The Center for Immigration Studies finds that 67.3 million residents in the United States now speak a language other than English at home.1 An often-cited study published by the Harvard Business Review also found that people prefer companies and brands that offer information in their own language(s),2 and that people are also more likely to actually buy from companies that offer information in their own language.2 For more than half of the study participants, access to information in their language was even more important than price.2 This means that providing multilingual support has a direct effect on the customer experience and that committing to providing such support will result in a more positive overall experience for your customers.
Research Your Customers’ Language Needs
The first step to creating a Multilingual Customer Experience (MCX) is research. Every business is different so the data that organizations utilize to determine which languages should be offered will be different, and will depend on their services, customer base, and long-term goals. For example, if your contact center is frequently receiving calls from customers who require Spanish interpretation, this data point offers compelling evidence for the need to offer ongoing customer support through Over-the-Phone Interpretation. Analyzing website data via a free or low-cost service like Google Analytics can also offer important insight. These analytics will provide important feedback about where your customers are located, and which languages they speak. There are other ways to determine what languages you should support, including polling your customers and employees. This survey data can help you quickly determine which customers need more robust language support. The best and most reliable research will combine data points from various sources and clearly make the case for which languages should be supported.
Identify Customer Touchpoints Across Multiple Languages
You can have positive influence over each interaction a customer has with your organization’s brand no matter the language they speak. But first, you must understand how customers who speak other languages come in contact with your brand. One way to do this is to map out every possible situation that could bring your customers into contact with your brand. These could include your website, your brick and mortar location, your social media presence, etc. Mapping out these brand touchpoints, which create “moments of truth” with your customers, gives you a visual roadmap of where and how to most effectively and efficiently accommodate multiple languages and the customers that speak them.
Customer touchpoints to consider tracking and mapping when adding language support include the following:
Customer touchpoints before purchase include contact centers, websites, reviews, testimonials, on-hold messaging, advertisements, promotions, store locations, in-store advertising, content marketing, listings, referral sources and press releases.
Customer touchpoints during purchase include showroom design, product demo videos, staff/employee engagement, overhead music/sonic logos, kiosks, point of sale locations and, checkout lines.
Customer touchpoints after purchase include technical support, order fulfillment, thank you messages (email and SMS), customer portals, invoices, packaging, rebates, follow-up emails, online self-help center, education, training and eLearning, customer service phone lines and customer surveys.
Map Out Multilingual Customer Touchpoints
Once you identify the places where your customers interact with your brand, place these touchpoints in the same chronological order in which a customer would encounter them. As you go through them, map them out. Don’t just create one buyer’s journey, but instead imagine several different types of customers, and plot their paths through this process. This way you will consider all of the different experiences your non-English speaking customers may have with your brand. What you may find too is that not all customer journeys are linear. Many customer journeys are non-linear, bouncing between touchpoints, stages, and channels.
Strengthen Each Touchpoint with Translation and Interpretation
Once you identify each possible touchpoint, the next step is working to improve its effectiveness with respect to language support. Look at how you can provide the best possible experience for every customer at each moment, by utilizing either translation, interpretation, or both. Not all buyers will opt to call, chat, or exchange emails with customer support; others may prefer doing their own purchasing research. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you offer language support via both translation and interpretation at every possible touchpoint.
Transform the Customer Experience Through Your Contact Center with Multilingual Support
Adding multilingual support to the hub of your customer support system, your contact center, can immediately boost your customer experience. Phone support is often the heart of contact centers. Over-the-Phone Interpretation (OPI) can empower your agents to handle calls in multiple languages. Teaming up with a professional language service provider that offers Over-the-Phone Interpretation instantly gives your agents access to on-demand interpreters. A leading provider like Language Link provides 24x7x365 access to qualified interpreters in hundreds of languages. For many businesses, this is a cost-effective way to improve their multilingual support without having to dedicate in-house resources or make large financial commitments. OPI is also useful in situations where in-house staff are available, but could benefit from support in additional languages.
Transform the Customer Experience Through Your Website with Translation and Localization
There are many benefits to translating and localizing your website. Doing so will widen your audience, increase your conversions, and boost your site’s accessibility—all of which results in more customers. Translating your self-help content like Frequently Asked Questions, HowTo guides, product information, and important updates keeps all customers informed, regardless of the language they speak, so that they are happier, more satisfied, and more likely to remain your loyal customers.
Levon Guiragossian, Marketing Consultant
Levon is a marketing consultant and writer. His current focus areas include content marketing, digital strategy and multilingual branding. Before working with Language Link, Levon led corporate marketing efforts through various management and leadership roles with companies around the world. Levon is a graduate of the University of Queensland in Australia where he holds a Bachelors of Business Management with a major in Marketing.
1 How Many People Speak English, And Where Is It Spoken? 2017. https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/how-many-people-speak-english-and-where-is-it-spoken (accessed June 17, 2020)
2 Harvard Business Review. “72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.”, 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language, 56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. 2012. https://hbr.org/2012/08/speak-to-global-customers-in-t (accessed Aug 4, 2020)
About Language Link
At Language Link, we speak your customer’s language. Headquartered in Vancouver, Washington and incorporated in 1991, Language Link has thirty years of experience as a full-service multilingual communication agency. Our highly-qualified Over-the-Phone interpreters provide service in over 240 languages and dialects. We also offer Video Remote Interpretation, as well as a comprehensive suite of translation options, including audio visual and localization services.