Why your business needs multilingual customer support

Gurpal Singh
Gurpal Singh

Apr 04, 2024 | 5 min read

The world is an international marketplace. The shop across the street may be a branch of a company based across the country or even another continent. Multinational companies’ footprints span across the globe and firms primarily trading in a single country or region may have customers in other parts of the world — or those in their local trading area — who speak their own languages and have divergent cultural preferences in different cities, states and regions — even within a single city or town. As elevated customer experience continues to be a key differentiator and a clear competitive advantage for organizations, multilingual customer service has moved from a “nice to have” to a “must have” for successful companies. Customers expect seamless and responsive support a hundred percent of the time and won’t settle for less. 

In addition, multilingual customer support also serves as a powerful catalyst for growth and expansion into new markets, both nearby and in diverse territories. By providing multi-language support, companies earn trust, engender loyalty and establish their customer-centric reputations.  

Why multilingual customer support is essential 

What is multilingual customer support? 

Simply put, multilingual customer support is the customer service, support and technical assistance functions’ ability and facility to communicate in customers’ preferred language. This isn’t merely a matter of language translation. It also involves awareness, understanding and response to cultural nuances, customs, preferences, idioms and other subtleties. And it isn’t always a one-to-one human transaction. As with other functions, when new technologies emerge, brands embrace those that can improve service and lower costs. 

Why your business needs multilingual customer support  

A business goes a long way in establishing itself as one that goes the extra mile toward achieving customer satisfaction by resolving issues in a positive, proactive and user-friendly manner in the customer’s preferred language. Providing multilingual customer service projects a powerful and positive signal that embraces customers by meeting them on their own ground, in their own virtual territory, conveying the message “We care about you.” 

Multilingual call centers (and multilingual call centres) provide many advantages to savvy organizations. 

Top 10 benefits of multilingual customer support 

  1. More personalized, local service: When contact center agents speak the same language as the people they’re helping, it immediately puts them at ease.  
  1. Supports diversity and inclusion: With multilingual call center services, customers are confident they will be understood and don’t have to face the additional challenge of repeatedly explaining themselves to culturally dissimilar agents. Agents are “one of us” even if the company is based elsewhere. 
  1. Quicker resolutions: Frustrating delays caused by lack of clarity and understanding due to language or cultural differences are eliminated, easing communication, and reducing time spent explaining and solving issues, thereby speeding resolution. 
  1. Enables self-service: If support cannot be provided in each customer’s chosen language, chatbots, texts and other communication tools that empower a customer to address their concerns without live-agent intervention cannot be successfully deployed. Multi-lingual support in this context is a clear game-changer. 
  1. Better opportunities for upsells: Multilingual support makes it easier for agents to introduce new products and services for customers to consider for purchase. Sales and service enhancements can be offered, explained and fulfilled, which can boost revenue. 
  1. Increases customer loyalty and retention: Speaking to customers in their own language (or languages) engenders loyalty and support. Churn is reduced when loyalty is increased, and there’s reduced pressure on new-customer acquisition. 
  1. Enables business growth: Multilingual support empowers companies based in one country to do business in another by ensuring local distributors and sales agents can provide customer care when needed in the language of that country or segment. This serves to support expansion in new markets and territories. 
  1. Creating brand differentiation: Not every brand provides multilingual support and service. Those that do mark their company as one that meets its customers on their own terms — a huge differentiator in these days of commoditization and cut-throat pricing, 
  1. Competitive edge: Can you address customers’ concerns, resolve issues and provide support quickly and seamlessly with minimal —or no — obstacles? That’s a clear completive advantage resulting from providing multilingual support and one that’s well worth promoting.  
  1. Compliance: Laws and regulations often require transactions to be conducted in the user’s native tongue or for the customer to affirm understanding and acceptance of what they are being asked or told relating to the product or service. Multilingual support effectively addresses those concerns and requirements. 

Make all contact points multilingual 

If you conduct business in or remotely serve multiple territories, is your organization speaking the language of its customers, prospects and other stakeholders? Are all touchpoints compliant with applicable accessibility regulations? 

Consider your website as the face of your business. Are there multiple language options, alternative websites or microsites that cater to specific ethnic, cultural or geographic segments? With the internet enabling global commerce, it’s a wasted opportunity to exclude anyone visiting your site or searching for your company. You can also test multiple iterations of your website, and employ different landing pages for specific services, geographies, languages, demographics and offers.  

Email should also be sent in customers’ language and the same goes for social media. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok — and whatever else comes along that captures your customers’ imaginations and attention — must also speak their language. Even if you must have multiple accounts with varying content, the message of care and inclusion you send is priceless — and pays big dividends. 

Additionally, chatbots, IVR (interactive voice response) systems and other automated or semi-automated support systems must address and respond to queries and interactions in whatever language or dialect the initiator prefers. 

GenAI technology enables real-time language translation 

You can serve customers with non-voice channels at scale with GenAI. The technology now exists to deliver immediate translations in scores of languages through integration with existing contact-center platforms in any language on any channel, including chat, chatbots, emails, articles and voice.  

Getting started with multilingual customer support 

First, why do you want to provide multilingual support? Do you plan to expand into a new territory or serve your current one better, with more specific and targeted assistance? Are you going to do this in-house or will you attempt to identify a partner? Have you considered what training you will need to deploy and other development and infrastructure additions? Will you engage technology, use live agents or employ a hybrid solution? 

Will you focus on a single additional language or several? Will you be adding additional languages and if so, what is your time frame? Have you decided on milestones to measure your success? And do you have adequate resources to fund this project? 

Identifying your multilingual customer support partner 

To be successful when embarking upon a multilingual support approach, the most important decision is selecting the right partner. An experienced CX solutions provider with a global footprint that can deploy cross-regional teams to deliver the best combination of cost-effectiveness and customer experience will hit the sweet spot for cost-efficiency and capability. 

You also must partner with a team that can scale up or down, as needed, and know which technologies will best suit your present and future needs. They must possess a track record of success and an understanding of your business and your company’s unique needs.  

When there is a need for a variety of languages — and a partner that will deliver those languages reliably and consistently — a diverse global footprint makes that possible. Equally, if the brand wants to support customers in Spain, they may want native Spanish speakers for voice-based support but can use Honduran agents for non-voice (chat/messaging/email), as this is more cost-effective and accent may not be a consideration. 

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. 

To learn more about how our 38,000 associates in 12 countries can enable your brand to start reaping the benefits of multilingual customer support today, contact us.  

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