In an ideal world, brands that sell internationally would be able to hire customer service reps that speak every one of the languages spoken by their customers. Research clearly indicates that offering post-sales support in the customer’s native language has a direct impact on sales. In fact, 74% of customers say that they are more likely to buy from a brand for a second time if they are offered support in their native language.
In the real world, you need to find solutions that work for your business, your team, and your customer. So, how do you provide multilingual support while staying within the budget? The strategy we recommend is to use AI solutions to support your existing customer service team, instead of increasing headcount. Your customer service team has probably been using Google Translate (officially or unofficially) for years. The thing is, Google Translate isn’t a tailor-made solution that understands your brand-specific vocabulary, which is constantly used when communicating with customers. Because of it, it is still an interim solution that can be used if there is no other option, but the quality of translation still leaves a lot to be desired for business communication. So how can you use AI to provide support that actually helps your international audience?
Empower your team with business-ready translation software
For text-based support like live chat, email or a help center, there are currently more and more translation solutions that take into account your business-specific glossary. This means that your industry and company-specific terms are translated correctly every time. They use the best neural machine translation engines available to match them to your needs.
Business-focused translation software like Unbabel gives you the flexibility to provide multilingual support, no matter how big or small your customer service team is. It combines the power of machine translation with human supervision to provide customer-ready translations. An additional benefit of tools like that is that by providing analytics features they help you figure out how much translation you actually need and what languages are the most used. This information will come in handy as your business will grow and you’ll need to make a decision if there is a business case to have a smaller team of multilingual agents that support your biggest foreign markets.
Use AI virtual agents to provide phone support in multiple languages
With voice conversions, real-time translation is a bit more tricky. But it doesn’t mean that customers who prefer phone support need to do without support in their native tongue. Tools like Talkie let you create AI voice agents in many different languages. You will only need to have the virtual agent utterances translated in writing as Talkie uses text-to-speech synthesis. You won’t have to worry about hiring a native speaker to record those messages.
Nowadays, virtual agents are not only answering FAQs but can help with many different support processes. Enabling your customers to solve their problems on the phone, in their native language, can give you a distinct advantage against competitors. You don’t need a big initial investment as virtual agents are easily scalable, so they grow as your business grows. With call monitoring, they can also let you see how the number of calls in particular languages changes over time, and how many of the conversations ended with a success. Will conversation with AI agents make multilingual support done by humans obsolete? Of course not, but it is a great way to start providing support for global customers. When your business grows, and certain languages take up more and more of your total support time, you might think of expanding your human customer service team with multilingual employees.
It might feel like providing multilingual support is very ineffective (like using Google Translate) or very costly (like finding customer service reps that have the professional skills and native knowledge of a language). There is a middle ground, that has the right effectiveness to cost ratio. And the answer is a mix of human skills and modern AI technology. By extending customer service reps’ capacity, you can maximize their efficiency without compromising on the quality that sets your brand apart.