When it comes to internationalizing, many companies tend to take the lemonade stand approach: start domestically, establish your position, and then slowly expand to different countries.
This strategy makes sense for a brick-and-mortar store, but if you’re an online business, then the limitations of geography are far fewer. Without a physical shop front, your business can and will be found beyond your borders from day 1.
Why not cater to, sell to, communicate with and retain customers from many countries from the start?
An increase in cross-border trade
In their “E-commerce in Europe 2015” report, Scandinavian consulting company PostNord broke down the habits of European online shoppers. One of their biggest predictions: cross-border trade will continue to increase.
As customers become more and more used to shopping online, the number of people shopping from foreign sites is steadily increasing – between 2014 and 2015 this number rose by 8%.
Nordics are by far the most eager to shop from abroad – 70% of them do it. Next in line are the British (58%) and Germans (53%), but other European countries are not that far behind either.
With 75% of people browsing a majority of content on the web in their own languages, and 52% of online consumers believing that the ability to read product descriptions in their own language is more important than price, it’s clear that the businesses who can talk the languages of their customers are going to be much better off than those which don’t.
Multilingual customer service = higher sales and retention
According to Microsoft Global Customer Service Report, 62% of customers stopped doing business with a brand due to a single poor customer service experience.
In Common Sense Advisory’s “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” report, 74% of survey respondents reported that they are more likely to purchase again from the same brand if the after-sales care was offered in their own language.
The preference for localized customer service is strongest among those with less competence in English, but even 64% of those who are most confident in this language still agree on having customer care in their own language.
Whether you have a website translated into 20 different languages or none at all, if you depend on customers who communicate in multiple native languages other than your own, then you’ll want to deliver a level of service that keeps them satisfied and coming back for more.
Scalable multilingual customer support with Unbabel
If you’ve already implemented some form of multilingual customer service, you’ll be aware of the pains of managing it – peaks and troughs of tickets in certain languages at certain times; when one of your agents goes on holiday or doesn’t work on weekends; hiring new native speaking agents upon expansion into certain territories.
But there’s a better way that does away with all of that.
With Unbabel, you can enable seamless multilingual customer service right inside Zendesk, Salesforce and other CRM platforms — no drop-off in response times; no need to wait for the weekend to be over; no need for new hires on the basis of what languages they speak.