When your business becomes a global concern, the way you look after your international customers is an important factor in your success. In your target market you’ll be competing with other exporters and domestic competitors, so it’s not enough just to translate and localise product marketing content to reach new customers: you also need to look at how you provide localised customer services.
Customers making a decision about whether to buy your product or services, or buy a competitor’s, will often benchmark customer service and support as a way of comparing different products.
Furthermore, new customers in your target market are vital for growth. They’ll recommend your company, refer more business to you, provide reviews and testimonials and help you reach more customers. But if your customer support isn’t up to the scratch – because you don’t offer appropriate support in their language – you’ll find it hard to capitalise on this.
How to localise your customer services
For businesses that aren’t ready to open local offices with native speakers handling customer enquiries, there are ways to provide localised customer services and support. Pre-planning and automation are your friends in this situation. Here are 5 key areas to address:
#1: FAQ website page
Chances are that if you’re translating your website or creating a microsite for your target market, any FAQ pages will be part of the translation project. If not, it’s worth considering adding a page at this stage to help customers find the support they need. This will reduce the amount of direct questions you get asked in the native language: reducing the volume of translations you require to understand and respond to general enquiries.
Providing a fully translated and localised FAQ page also helps to increase conversion by providing prospective customers with the support they need.
#2: Customer support documentation
Many businesses focus on translating marketing content to reach new customers in their target market. However, once you’ve attracted and got interest from prospects, what happens next? These days in our digital world it’s estimated that buyers are 60% through the sales process before they make direct contact with a company. While you’re waiting for them to contact you or put a product in a shopping basket, they’re reading your content.
If you don’t provide them with content translated into their native language, there’s a high chance that they will never make that call. So give them what they want! Make sure any customer support documents such as product demonstration videos, brochures, fact sheets etc. are translated for your target market.
This way prospects will be able to help themselves and get the answers and information they require to make a decision about your product. Then, once they become a customer you can reduce your workload by providing them with what they need to use your product, instead of fielding customer service enquiries in another language.
#3: Email communications
With the above measures in place you will pre-empt some direct enquiries, but not all. So have you thought about what happens when a new customer or prospect in another country emails your business in their native language?
We suggest that you set up at least one dedicated email address for the target market with an auto responder email in the target language to buy you some time. This should thank the sender for their email, provide an indication on when they should expect a reply, and point them in the direction of your translated customer support resources.
Then with the support of either a bilingual employee or a trusted translation service provider, the email can be translated and replied to in a timely fashion.
#4: Telephone enquires
As with email addresses, provide a dedicated customer services contact number for each target market you operate in, with a pre-recorded message in the target language asking the caller to leave their details and the nature of their enquiry.
Again, a bilingual colleague can handle the call in an acceptable timeframe. Alternatively a translation agency offering telephone interpreting services can manage this aspect of customer services for you. We offer our clients Comtec TALK, an on demand service that connects you with your overseas customers via an interpreter, so you can deal with their enquiry when you don’t have bilingual speakers in-house.
#5: Social media
Many people turn to social media for customer support, and this can lead to problems if customers leave enquires that go unanswered or complaints that don’t get handled appropriately. Social media is also a powerful tool for building customer relationships, and in turn reaching a wider audience.
We recommend that localised social media profiles are set up for each target market and that a process is put in place for managing these accounts. This may involve using social media translation services on a daily basis to translate any comments received and then translate your replies.
As you can see, providing efficient and responsive customer services in a different country is not that difficult if you plan ahead and put the right strategies in place. To find out more about outsourcing your translation requirements download our guide here.