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Today every modern customer service solution enables businesses to serve customers across different locations. This global expansion becomes achievable through various communication channels and targeted marketing campaigns. However, when customer engagement reaches a broad level, overcoming language barriers becomes essential, leading to the search for a long-term solution. And the demand for multilingual customer service is growing as businesses recognize the importance of building strong customer relationships by communicating in their preferred language. 

Providing multilingual assistance is imperative when catering to a global clientele. A staggering 75% of consumers across 29 countries express a higher likelihood of repurchasing from a brand that offers exceptional customer support in their native language. It holds significance for overall customer experience and becomes particularly crucial when businesses prioritize customer retention over acquisition; then, they become mindful of artificial intelligence. After all, impressing and satisfying the existing customer base is five times more cost-effective than acquiring new customers.

So in this blog post, we will investigate everything you need to know about multilingual customer service with AI, its significance, advantages, and steps for implementing it in your business.

Understanding the Basics of Multilingual Customer Service

Multilingual customer service or support refers to assistance businesses offer to cater to customers in their preferred language. As businesses expand into different regions, it derives a need for inclusive solutions that transcend language barriers and accommodates customers across various time zones. In that case, a chatbot with multilingual capabilities offers automated assistance in multiple languages and an online buyer real-time chat support, accessible through messaging apps like directly on websites or Facebook Messenger. 

Leveraging artificial intelligence can effectively respond to inquiries and perform basic tasks in the customer's preferred language. And incorporating multilingual chatbot functionality is essential for brands operating in diverse regions with various spoken languages. Because these brands have several options for implementing multilingual chatbots in their business, they can develop separate chatbots for each supported language and utilize translation tools like collaborating with an AI on multiple platforms or Google Translate, which inherently supports numerous languages. 

Importance of Offering Multilingual Customer Service with AI

Multilingual chatbots are equipped with language detection features to enhance customer service. When a customer interacts with the chatbot in English or French, it will respond in English or French, tailoring the support accordingly. However, if the subsequent customer communicates in Chinese, the chatbot will seamlessly switch to Chinese to react appropriately. It means that when customers from different linguistic backgrounds engage with the products or services, they seek interactions in their native language or a language of their choice. And by developing a multilingual bot, a business can effectively offer support in multiple languages to customers across the globe.

Businesses increasingly recognize multilingual customer service's significance in expanding their growth prospects and establishing trust among international clientele. The proven link between multilingual customer service and customer retention is a primary driving force behind businesses embracing its implementation. 

And almost 74% of customers are attracted to a business that provides customer service in their familiar language. While multiple essential translation tools may seem cost-effective in the short term, the absence of a tailored and personalized multilingual support function can lead customers to perceive the business as unresponsive and less credible in the long run. Therefore, when it comes to capitalizing on global markets, multilingual customer support is not merely an extension but an essential component.

On the other hand, the absence of multilingual customer service poses a significant risk for many international businesses, potentially leading to a loss of almost 75% of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) buyers

And because of today's global marketplace, online customer experience is pivotal in setting businesses apart. Consumers are no longer bound to a single brand and are willing to switch businesses if they are dissatisfied with the service they receive. Meanwhile, the fact that customer acquisition can be six to seven times more costly than having existing customers is widely known, and many businesses still overlook this reality. So when operating across different markets, failing to offer support in the native languages of the customers increases the likelihood of them seeking alternative products or services. 

Implementing Multilingual Customer Service: Top-Five Essential Steps to Follow

After understanding the importance of multilingual customer support, it's crucial to consider the following five major steps to implement the multilingual customer service process.

Step#1: Recruit Local-language Dealers to Maximize Coverage

The optimal approach to delivering multilingual customer support is employing customer support agents fluent in the local language. By doing so, they will not only possess a deep understanding of the language itself, but they will also be familiar with the culture and customs of the region. It enables businesses to establish better customer connections and serve them more effectively.

Step#2: Facilitate Multilingual Voice Tracking Functionality

With the rising popularity of voice-activated assistants such as Google Homepage or Amazon Alexa, optimizing the customer support content for voice search becomes essential. And to prevent customer frustration due to inaccurate results, it is crucial to appropriately tag and format the content for voice tracking across all supported languages. It can ultimately ensure that the content aligns effectively with voice search requirements and enhances the overall customer service experience.

Step#3: Adapt Operating Hours to Accommodate Different Time Zones and Geographies

Another essential step for delivering multilingual customer support involves adapting the operating hours to align with the customers' time zones. And it can be highly frustrating for customers to seek assistance and encounter lengthy wait times, spanning hours or even days. Thus, providing customer support during specific hours can make customers minimize frustration and ensure that everyone receives prompt assistance. 

Step#4: Enhance Self-help Support by Creating a Multilingual Learning Base

Another approach to multilingual customer support is developing an extensive learning base offering support content in multiple languages. This multilingual knowledge base can include frequently asked questions (FAQs), help documentation, how-to guides, and more. Or a business can employ professional human translators or machine translation as a starting point, followed by human review and post-editing of the translations to ensure optimal quality.

Step#5: Enable Natural Translation Capabilities for the AI Chatbot

AI Chatbots offer a highly efficient and suitable solution for resolving support inquiries, and their effectiveness can further be enhanced by integrating real-time and natural translation capabilities. It enables customers to receive answers in their preferred language without waiting for customer service representatives to become available. It can be achieved by utilizing a chatbot platform with built-in translation features or integrating with a machine translation application programming interface (API) technology.

What are the Most Useful Advantages of Multilingual AI Customer Service?

The advantages of multilingual customer service with AI go beyond mere growth opportunities and heightened revenue. They encompass a wide range of mentioned usefulness:

  1. Enhanced Efficiency in Customer Service 

Fast and reliable customer support is a crucial driver of customer loyalty worldwide. When effectively implemented, it offers a more dependable way to achieve speed and predictability than relying solely on a human team. In such a case, customer service automation and AI are pivotal in expediting routing processes and email triage. It ensures incoming queries are resolved automatically or directed to the appropriate representative. 

It saves valuable time for support teams, saving several minutes per ticket. This form of automation, commonly known as ticket automation, often includes features like enrichment of tickets and auto-creation. And integrating process automation with a customer service solution yields optimal results. Thus, multiple software enables virtual agents to identify frequently asked questions, retrieve information quickly, and utilize pre-chat tags, forms, and triggers to populate tickets with relevant details. 

  1. Attract a Global Customer Base & Enhance Conversions 

Offering customer support in multiple languages enhances customer loyalty and drives international clientele to choose the business. According to an Intercom research report involving 170 non-native English-speaking software-as-a-service (SaaS) customers, exclusively 28% reported receiving customer service in their native language. 

This Intercom survey also reveals a vast and new opportunity for businesses to tap into this unexplored territory, particularly considering that around 35% of customers are willing to switch loyalties if they receive support in their preferred language. Furthermore, business details, product information delivery, and customer care center services in diverse languages significantly boost modification rates, particularly in regions where most of the population does not primarily speak English.

  1. Enhanced Customer Feedback Via Inclusive Communication 

When purchasing decisions occur, customers often turn to online reviews for guidance, with 95 percent of shoppers reading internet reviews before buying a new product. And the abundance of positive reviews can significantly impact customers' trust in the business product or service. According to a recent study by GRUPO NOA, businesses that provide multilingual customer support with AI receive positive feedback from 70% of customers. 

Moreover, by considering the widespread presence of non-English speakers worldwide, a business can tap into the new market segment and earn their appreciation by offering customer support in their native language. This approach encourages them to leave more positive feedback on comment sections and multiple review pages about the product or service. Hence it becomes particularly crucial if a person is a newcomer in the market aiming to establish a strong presence in the industry, ultimately leading to enhanced brand recognition and increased sales.

  1. Builds Brand Trust & Customer Satisfaction

The level of customer satisfaction and emotional connection achieved when engaging with customers in their native language is remarkably high. And by actively assisting the customer in their preferred language, a business can establish stronger relationships with their customers and achieve better customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.

Furthermore, expanding worldwide can open new revenue streams and facilitate acquiring new leads. When customers have to engage with a foreign brand that may lack local presence, they seek assurance of seamless and long-term support. So, establishing credibility in the minds of potential customers is paramount, and speaking their language has been proven effective in enhancing brand trust and, subsequently, increasing the overall value of a successful brand.

  1. Maximize Sales Possibility & Offer Personalization

Marketing teams and retailers are well aware of the impact of personalization on customer retention and acquisition. Almost 80% of shoppers are more inclined to purchase from brands that provide personalized experiences, in-store or via eCommerce channels. And by incorporating multilingual customer support chat technology into the customer communication strategy, a business can harness the power of personalization. Because of this, businesses can address customer inquiries in their preferred language, but they can also offer tailored product recommendations that resonate with their interests and preferences. 

A famous study shows that 72% of shoppers will likely purchase when the product description is in their native language. And the AI chatbots with advanced natural language understanding can seamlessly integrate with the inventory catalog. It enables them to assist customers in finding their desired products and even suggests related items based on keywords used during conversations. Hence, with intelligent keyword recognition, the AI chatbot can effectively showcase relevant products or services, maximizing the chances of closing a sale.

  1. Expands Audience Reach

Another notable outcome of implementing multilingual customer service is the ability to reach non-native audiences. It enables the brand to connect with a global audience and overcome geographical barriers, broadening its reach. Surprisingly, almost 64% of executives have encountered online disruptions due to misunderstandings that arise from language barriers, resulting in extensive dollars lost in missed opportunities without multilingual customer support.

Providing support in customers' native languages establishes a stronger connection and enhances their sense of welcome and comfort. And almost 76% of customers prefer brands that offer information in their native language. However, research reveals an intriguing finding that customers are willing to pay a premium for products that provide information and customer support in their preferred language. It indicates that language accessibility facilitates a deeper connection with the brand and elevates the overall customer experience.

  1. Minimized Customer Obstacles

The more languages a customer support team covers, the more challenging it becomes to assemble such a team. Managing each language requires dedicated personnel, and catering to customers across different time zones adds another layer of complexity. For instance, if an American-based business receives numerous inquiries from Asian shoppers outside regular business hours, it can surge pending tickets overnight. 

And when a customer is on the verge of making a purchase, the absence of immediate assistance can prompt them to abandon their purchase task or seek alternatives from competitors. It is where a virtual agent integrates into the support team, and it is more valuable because it ensures customers worldwide receive timely assistance, even during non-business hours and weekends. And maintaining around-the-clock support is vital in minimizing customer friction, and leveraging multilingual support automation enables businesses to deliver seamless experiences across various markets and time zones.

  1. Enhanced Customer Engagement through Multilingual Support

By providing multilingual customer support, a business can foster a stronger connection between customers and the customer support team, ultimately strengthening their engagement with the brand. Multilingual support is a powerful demonstration of empathy, highlighting the business's dedication to meeting individual needs. Surprisingly, despite the significant impact of multilingual support, a staggering 82% of businesses have yet to adopt a comprehensive AI multilingual customer support strategy. It is primarily due to their challenges when attempting to cater to an audience that speaks multiple languages.

Meanwhile, purchasing choices extend beyond financial considerations. Where the specific buyers are willing to opt for a higher-priced option, sometimes even paying a premium, in exchange for outstanding service. So by providing multilingual customer support, a business can offer personalized assistance in the customers' preferred language, providing a significant advantage over the competitors. And only a few businesses have embraced multilingual localization, placing a business in a superior position within the industry.

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Final Takeaways—Let’s Embrace the Multilingual Customer Service with AI

Irrespective of the business's size, it's imperative to consider adopting a multilingual customer service approach with AI to expand the customer support operation. Because in this global realm, businesses that prioritize exceptional customer service in multiple languages as a vital aspect of their localization strategy are willing to invest in it to have a distinct advantage. 

So by incorporating a set of best steps, a business can ensure a robust customer experience across diverse cultures and languages. Over time, delivering vital multilingual customer service with AI will ultimately enhance customer retention rates and generate more business opportunities and revenue.

Read our other helpful guides here

AI Chatbot For Customer Service: Future of AI Chatbots in Customer Service

Customer Service Management: Best Practices And How To Get Started

How To Use AI In Customer Service: An Ultimate Guide

AI For Customer Support: Everything You Need to Know

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