ICMI is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


The Future of Customer Care: Write Locally, Speak Globally

"The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary." Before he went on to found the world’s third largest public corporation, Sam Walton shared that not only is customer service important—it must be foundational to an organizations goals and the business itself. Though Mr. Walton expressed his insight many decades ago, customer satisfaction and maintaining brand loyalty has never been more important in today’s economic downturn and financial recession.

Today's customers expect more online, social and immediate interactions in their native language via their preferred channel. Through technological innovation, globalization has not only made the world accessible to all, but has also facilitated the removal of geographical and linguistic boundaries. This has helped with the creation of a multicultural and multilingual environment in every organization and increased the desire for instant accessibility to information. However, some businesses struggle to keep up with customer demands for information and need new solutions to stay competitive.

With technology at the forefront of business advancement, many enterprises are relying on automated innovation to save money, utilize resources already in place and continue to drive brand loyalty by giving their customers what they want. Many organizations around the globe have successfully deployed an automated translation solution as a way to open lines of communication with their customers in ways they have never been enabled to before. Below are several ways that a single technology solution can deliver a great experience.

Expand Language Coverage for Support Channels

Many users prefer to interact with companies in their native language—the very basis of customer experience is the need for meaningful communication in the preferred language of the customer. Many companies value their customers and aspire to provide multilingual assistance but oftentimes it is difficult to justify the cost of employing an agent to support so many languages directly.

Automated translation technology can help eliminate daunting linguistic barriers and make multilingual coverage a reality. Fortune 500 companies have shared with us that though they deliver product information in up to 35 languages, they sometimes only provide support in one or two languages.

Today, automated translation solutions enable call center agents that speak a single language to communicate and support customers in real-time in multiple languages across channels like chat and email, cost effectively while still providing a remarkable experience.

Provide Timely, Cross-language Support, On Demand

Harris Interactive found in their 2011 Customer Experience Report that 86% of customers stopped doing business with a company because of a poor customer experience.

While it is impossible to predict when a customer will encounter an issue and need to place a call for support, it is important for customer retention that the right support interaction is available to ensure customers have a positive experience. For a call center, offering appropriate language coverage and expanding coverage over time can be expensive and difficult to attain as it requires call centers to employ a pool of multilingual agents at all times with the right support knowledge and language skills.

Automated translation solutions handle what would be the job of dozens of individual native speaking call center agents by empowering any agent to interact with customers in any language. Having technology that increases the productivity of a given pool of agents, a business can provide excellent customer service but without the need for a call center in every region or hiring agents that speak every language. One call center with the right tools running 24/7 can support the compilation of worldwide customer inquiries. For unexpected call volume spikes during off hours, this is essential for making sure users get the assistance they need if they choose to place a call.

Make Support Budgets Go Further

When budgets are tight but the demand to cover new market expansion is growing, it is more crucial than ever for businesses to be enabled to take advantage of the assets they already have. For a call center, automated translation reduces the need to hire new resources across languages and geographies by utilizing those already in place and invest in supporting new markets.

Managers are enabled to focus on customer satisfaction and save revenue rather than dwell on communication obstacles their employees may encounter. Further, by providing agents with the tools to help any customer regardless of language they can address more support scenarios than ever before.

Enable Customers With Self-service Options

For many customers, their preferred method of customer support is the ability to find the information on their own. Automated translation technology can improve the global customer experience by enabling every self-service channel across languages cost effectively.

In some cases, enterprises will publish all of their support content online in English and oftentimes see a large decrease in costs, due in large to call center inquiries being deflected. Trying to take advantage of the cost savings, the next step is to try and translate the support content into more languages. Many times businesses become inundated with how time consuming and difficult it is to publish in new languages and then also keep up with the amount of new content that is available. When the content isn’t in sync across languages, this can send an egregious, yet unintentional message that the customer is important enough to sell to in their language, but not important enough to support. Unhappy customers experiencing this broken brand promise may overtly express their dissatisfaction with your brand to ten of their friends; but unhappy customers on the Internet can broadcast to 1,000 friends in an instant.

By providing multilingual knowledge base content and FAQs companies can deflect calls, significantly reduce their overhead costs and put the power in the user’s hands to create a great customer experience. This is a win-win for the customer and call center. While the average inquiry to a call center costs $33, self-service is typically only one or two dollars, which enables companies to add investment in other areas of the support organization.

Streamline Internal Translation Processes

When competitors are only a mouse click away providing a great brand experience across all channels is vital. Automated translation solutions can help turn customers into brand advocates by giving them a positive experience with each touch point and empowering them with the information they want regardless of language or geography. Updating current support content and publishing new material in multiple languages can be a simple task with the right technology.

Normally when companies want to translate new content they have to package it up, send it out for review, wait weeks to months and then find out where it needs to go. With automated translation enterprises can get that content published instantly - if it’s integrated within their platform, they don’t even need to figure out where the translated content is supposed to go. With automated translation, call centers are able to get more out of their existing budget and customers are equally enabled to find the information they want in the language they need.

Sam Walton went on to create a highly successful, dependable and world renowned brand—much of this was due to how well he treated and valued his customers. Later in his life Walton went on to say, "There is only one boss—the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else."

Today’s culture of information accessibility and consumerism demands that content is available whenever the customer needs it, in the language they choose and through the channel they want to utilize. With an automated translation solution enterprises are enabled to instantly reach out to their customers - any customer - in the most valuable way possible—the language they understand. This provides an unrivaled user experience by ensuring consistent positive interactions with your brand all while they are communicating and receiving information via the channel and dialect they are most comfortable.

Claude Walton is the Director of Product Marketing at SDL.