One of the biggest concerns with outsourcing customer service is whether or not agents will be able to speak English well enough to provide effortless and easy communication—and avoid misunderstandings—with customers.
While this is obviously essential, what about your customers who don’t speak English as a first language themselves?
Not only do these customers have to navigate their questions and concerns, but they generally have to do it in a second or third language, rather than their own native tongue, resulting in higher miscommunications, lower customer satisfaction, more customer abandonment and so on.
Not only does multilingual support allow you to understand every customer you serve, but it also allows you to expand your brand globally and reach a larger audience. Here’s how to make multilingual support work for you—and why to consider it, even if you’re only working within a single region.
The Business Benefits of Multilingual Support
The data doesn’t lie: multilingual support doesn’t just enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, it creates it.
- 72% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when they can find information in their own language
- 56% of consumers said the ability to get information in their own language is more important than price.
- 42% of consumers say they never purchase products and services when they can’t access them in their own language
Of course, customers are more satisfied when they get service in their own language. But offering multilingual support goes beyond satisfaction—it also strongly influences purchasing decisions, loyalty, and more.
If you want to have a global brand presence, or even just expand into new territories, you absolutely need to be offering multilingual support. Even if you’re just working with the US, multilingual support is becoming essential. According to recent data, about 68 million people—that’s 1 in 5 US homes—speak a language other than English.
Expanding Your Brand’s Global Reach
Obviously, expanding your brand’s global reach through multilingual support also supports and benefits business growth. The larger an audience you can market to, the larger your personal audience can grow. Offering multilingual service allows you to compete in international markets while providing exceptional customer support to customers both home and abroad.
But as multilingual support also impacts loyalty, your business can grow from both a larger market and more engaged, repeat customers as well.
And today, expanding your brand’s global reach is more accessible than ever. There are a variety of options for offering multilingual service, including:
- working with an onshore team that hires multilingual agents
- working with a nearshore or offshore team where agents frequently speak the languages you need for your customers as well as English (i.e. in Mexico, most agents will speak Spanish and English)
- working with a number of teams in different locations to access the languages you need
At Global Response, we also offer the option of smartshoring to enable our clients to offer multilingual support at a fraction of the cost. Smartshoring allows you to work with a single call center organization that employs and manages agents in a variety of locations to meet your customers needs. For example, if you’re looking for Spanish and French service, as well as English, a smartshoring team might consist of agents in the US, Mexico and Tunisia to provide all the language support you need, while still giving you a unified and cost-effective team.
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Today’s customer support centers can also provide a wide range of languages, including (but not limited to):
The more languages your call center can support, the greater your global reach and the more effective your customer service will be.
The Challenges of Multilingual Customer Support
Of course, multilingual customer support isn’t without its own challenges. Generic solutions hastily implemented can lead to more harm than good.
As a result, companies who want to implement multilingual customer support need to focus on at least two factors as they implement this support:
- ensuring that brand identification remains stable across all languages
- ensuring that service quality is standardized across teams and languages
Ultimately, you want your brand to still feel like your brand regardless of what language customers are operating in. At Global Response, we solve for this by creating a team of agents who serve as not just call center agents, but also brand specialists for your brand. By getting to know your brand intimately, they’re able to champion your brand messaging and personality, regardless of what language the support is provided in.
In addition, a good QA process that remains standard for all your teams is essential to ensuring quality support. Opening up support in new languages should enhance the quality of your support, not decrease it—but all too often, quality declines when new language support is added. Smartshore or blended teams reduce this challenge since all agents are working under a common director or team. This management can create and execute across-the-board QA programs that ensure standard levels of quality service.
Customized Multilingual Solutions
As you can see, multilingual support—like other forms of outsourced support—can’t be one-size-fits-all. Not only do you need access to the language support that matters most to your customers, but you also need access to the services and solutions that matter most for your unique audience.
For example, multilingual teams can do more than just voice calls—they can also manage outsourcing tasks like:
- inbound / outbound calling
- customer care
- appointment setting and follow-up
- tech support
Besides the types of services you need, you should work with your provider, or potential providers, to create customized solutions that fit your needs, taking into account aspects such as:
- languages needed
- locations of agents
- team sizes
- number of multilingual agents needed
- flexibility and scalability
- and so on
For example, many companies do not need all of their agents to be multilingual, just a small subset. Paying for a whole team of multilingual agents isn’t always necessary or cost-effective. This is another aspect where smartshoring can help you reduce costs while also getting the solutions you need.
Upholding Quality Standards in Multilingual Support
Finally, when considering multilingual support, you need to ensure high quality standards across all your service teams, so that customers receive a consistent experience no matter what language they prefer.
If your English service is exceptional, but your French service is not, you’ll be creating an inconsistent brand experience—leading to lower customer trust and retention—but you’ll also be reducing the ROI on your multilingual investment in the first place, since those customers will view your brand as unhelpful.
Modern technology makes this possible—if your contact center makes use of it. For example, at Global Response, we integrate our language services with one seamless strategy and digitally-integrated customer support system, so that all agents have access to the same policies, knowledge bases, tools, QA scorecards and so on. By centralizing all of our services and data, we’re also able to centralize values, training and best practices—that way, all of your agents are on the same page (literally). Doing so not only creates more stable quality, but it also unifies your customer engagement strategies to further expand your market and outreach!
Looking for Multilingual Support?
If you want to use multilingual customer support to:
- expand your audience and global reach
- support business growth
- provide exceptional customer service to a larger audience
- offer more specialized services
without having to compromise on quality or your budget, Global Response is here to help. Our smartshoring solutions allow our clients to get the multilingual support they need with customized solutions that strengthen your service and your global reach.
The most commonly requested customer support languages for US-based businesses are English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, German and Italian. The essential languages for your global retail business may vary based on your audience demographics.
42% of consumers say they never purchase products in a language other than their own, which means that customer support in the languages your customers prefer is essential. Not only does it support customer purchasing decisions, but it also provides easier, more effortless and more understandable customer support, which lessens the amount of time support calls take, improves customer satisfaction, and reassures customers that your brand cares about meeting their needs.
Smartshoring unites agents from a variety of locations—both onshore, nearshore and offshore—into a single team to enable you to make use of the time zones and linguistic capabilities that you and your customers need. With smartshoring, you can offer multilingual services without requiring <i>all</i> of your agents to be multilingual, and you can hire bilingual agents from places that speak those languages natively, increasing support levels and reducing costs. At the same time, uniting those agents under a single team improves quality and consistency, ensuring better support for your customers.
Smartshoring allows you to unite agents in a single team, standardizing training, values and best practices across all support languages. In addition, a shared software system that collates calls, conversations, knowledge bases and other support tools allows all agents to use the same QA process and ensures consistent quality no matter the language.
Yes! Our customer support tools and systems support multilingual services, and allow you to integrate all support languages into a single CRM system and customer support network. Not only does this improve quality, but it also ensures brand consistency for all your customers.