Published: March 31, 2014 | Comments
A recent story in The Economist noted that less than 20 percent of the world’s population speaks English as a primary or secondary language. That means that any business that communicates exclusively in English is forsaking 80 percent of its potential customer base unless they can communicate -- and engage deeply -- with their customers and prospects in multiple languages.
Those numbers are staggering and given the intense competition for new customers -- particularly in mature geographic markets -- what executive in their right mind would ignore such a large and essentially untapped opportunity? Every executive wants to expand yet, limited resources is often the culprit that hinders global expansion.
3 Challenges of Going Global with Your Existing/Limited Workforce
Limited budget to hire a native-speaking, in-country workforce
Even with budget availability, hiring language-specific agents with the right technical skills has shown to be almost impossible. In one case, a high tech manufacturing customer estimated it would need more than 400 language-specific agents to support its complex products. Ultimately budget was only allocated for 40. The manager now faces the challenge of optimizing the agents to work at 10 times their expected productivity.
Only providing ‘office hours’ coverage for most languages
Helping customers some of the time is better than not at all, right? A UK-based online gaming company thought so, and due to bandwidth issues only provided support from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in all European/Middle Eastern/African (EMEA) languages only to find that their most lucrative customers wanted assistance after hours. Monitoring and understanding international visitor traffic to the company website can help avoid this mistake, but still leaves a lot to be desired for the customer who wants help when it’s convenient for them, not for you.
Relying on free translation tools to meet the needs of a multilingual customer base
Employers and employees alike can often be too quick to lean on free translation tools, but they do not realize what that could be sacrificing. Google Translate is great if you just want to give someone the very basics of intended communication. However, as a representation of a company’s brand and customer service platform, it should not be the first choice. A complete and actionable solution should be implemented and available for your entire workforce.
New Technology Can Lighten the Load
Today, forward-thinking businesses in just about every industry are deploying new technologies to drive global expansion with current or dwindling resources. These technologies enable your current workforce to reach more customers, in a more engaging way. After all, consumers expect the companies they buy products and services from to be responsive 24x7. They also increasingly demand a better experience through deeper and more meaningful engagement via the channel that is most convenient to them. And all in their own native language!
In many industries live chat solutions are leading the charge by providing one-to-one customer interactions that reduce support costs, increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) metrics. What makes live chat so compelling?
Efficiency: a single customer service representative can run 2-3 chats at once, as opposed to one phone call
Consistency: 40-60% of an agent’s chat responses can be pre-populated, which means greater predictability and efficiency
ROI: online chat is more cost-effective than telephone support
Companies Who Do It Right
LivePerson, a leading provider of intelligent engagement solutions, selected GeoFluent, a real-time translation solution from Lionbridge, to assist with their global expansion strategy. The solution is high quality, actionable machine translations that enables LivePerson chat agents to support their customers in any language 24x7.
From a customer support perspective, LivePerson saw a 15% increase in call deflection and 5% increase in CSAT among non-English speakers after integrating multilingual chat. From an online sales perspective, businesses using the real-time translation solution have reported an 11% increase in online conversions and 16% productivity increase for call center agents.
Online gaming leader PKR took a similar approach with multilingual chat and since its implementation has managed over 28,000 multilingual sessions in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and English with just 16 chats agents. Read the full case study or watch a quick video for more details.
The Ocean of Opportunity
The continued adoption of real-time translation tools for multilingual communication is imperative to optimizing an organization’s workforce and driving global expansion. While still in the early stages, the proliferation of new channels for customer interaction will allow companies to cost-effectively and efficiently meet the ever-changing needs of customers worldwide.
To learn more about optimizing your workforce with multilingual chat visit www.GeoFluent.com or request a live demo.