Multilingual Customer Experience Strategy: Benefits & Challenges

Startek Editorial
Startek Editorial

May 10, 2023 | 4 min read


Your customer experience strategy for multilingualism 

The global marketplace isn’t a futuristic dream, it’s reality. And it’s also the new normal for business. To survive and grow, it is essential for companies to think internationally about their customer experience (CX) approach. To successfully compete in the world, you must speak its language — many languages, in fact. That presents sundry challenges but planning and deploying a multilingual CX strategy is a highly worthwhile — and necessary — endeavor that opens up a door to the world and establishes a global footprint for your enterprise. 

It’s important to remember that CX is not one thing; it’s really a multistep journey customers take with your product or service, with many important touchpoints and interactions along the way. The challenge is providing meaningful and rewarding encounters despite language and cultural variations. Since CX has become a multimodal affair — in-person, by phone, online, chat, email, etc. — the strategy has to reflect that, as well as your company’s brand and mission. Each touchpoint must do that, as well as make a positive impression and create an excellent experience and satisfying outcomes for all parties. 

There are many things to consider. If you primarily trade in a single country but have international customers — or global aspirations — you must be mindful of language and cultural variances, including customs, preferences, holidays, politics and other factors. The key is respect, of course, and accommodating customers’ expectations and preferences. This is not a radical or revolutionary idea since successful firms already do that domestically. Great CX is baked into their brand. But can your organization scale its approach to cover territories outside its local trading area? That is the challenge. 

Everything begins with the product or service. Is it the same everywhere? Are there variations and local brands? Does the packaging or presentation differ by territory? Is the pricing and brand segmentation equivalent across all sales areas? Are there territories where products and services are licensed to other companies or distributors? Do some areas require special licensing, or professional or medical approval (or prescriptions) to purchase? Are there any sales limitations or restrictions? These are the types of questions you must answer because they will directly affect how you approach managing CX in multiple countries and regions. 

Multilingual America 

Multilingualism isn’t limited to countries outside the U.S. According to the most recent census data, “The number of people in the United States who spoke a language other than English at home nearly tripled from 23.1 million (about 1 in 10) in 1980 to 67.8 million (almost 1 in 5) in 2019.“ It’s quite likely that the number is even higher now. The top five most frequently spoken languages other than English are Spanish or Spanish Creole, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Arabic. What this means for U.S. firms is that it is no longer a matter of “Press 1 for English. Press 2 for Spanish.” A multilingual CX strategy is required, domestically and internationally, to ensure your brand is consistently represented in a manner that reflects your company and mission. 

Multiphase multilingualism

Your company has multiple touchpoints and all require consideration when assessing your strategic needs for this initiative. Here are the areas of concern that must be addressed in devising your multilingual customer experience management strategy: 

  • Company website It’s the first place for many customers, especially those seeking product or service information and support. Your website should always present the latest and most reliable information, with announcements, updated information about new products and services, sales promotions, FAQs and other useful content. It should also be a hub to redirect to support via chatbot, live agent or email. Are any or all of these elements available in several languages? If so, do they provide the same information and functionalities? 
  • Contact centers This one’s easy; do you have agents who communicate in one language or several? How do you get to the right one? How are they trained and kept up to date with everything a customer or prospect would want to know? Are their tools and referrals available in multiple languages, too? A multilingual call center presents challenges but offers substantial rewards, too, if it is equipped and presented properly. 
  • Email, chatbots and other digital communications This one’s a bit trickier. As these types of communications go to individuals, they must be — or appear to be — personalized. Even when sent out to large groups, they are still received and read by one person at a time, so they need to reflect that in terms of language, customs, idioms, observances and other items that vary by language and culture. Segmenting helps, of course, if it includes language and cultural variations. Any attachments or other media, such as videos or documents and links must also be in the appropriate languages. 
  • Social media Facebook, TikTok and other platforms remain popular — and new ones emerge without warning — so it’s important to be mindful of language and cultural differences. As you would with email and other digital communication, think of it as a one-to-one affair, direct to the consumer. 

Your strategy to connect with the world  

After you’ve done an inventory of your channels and goals and have a general idea of what you need to do, the next step is to reach out to an expert. Rather than search for an all-purpose translation service, it makes more sense to work with a provider that provides specialized CX multilingual capabilities. It pays dividends to engage a firm that is familiar with the needs, challenges and opportunities involved in customer experience interactions rather than one that must face a steep learning curve to understand and deploy the right solution. 

"Develop a comprehensive CX strategy to drive customer loyalty and retention."

Get closer to your customers with Startek® Multilingual CX Services 

Engage your customers using their local languages to drive engagement and satisfaction 

As your business grows, your customer base expands, too. It is essential to keep pace with evolving customer needs to be successful. 

Multilingual CX services ensure your customers get the personalized, seamless service they expect.

Supercharge your CX with multilingual customer support servicesLearn more about our global locations. 

Improve your CX- offering customer support in multiple languages creates a more personalized experience and increases customer satisfaction 

Increase customer loyalty- providing support in the customer's native language demonstrates your customer is valued, building trust and increasing loyalty 

Expand market reach- multilingual customer support enables your business to expand its reach into new markets and demographics, driving increased sales and boosting revenue 

Improve communication- communicating in the customer's preferred language avoids misunderstandings and leads to faster issue resolution 

Create competitive advantage- multilingual customer support gives your organization a clear competitive edge over other companies 

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