Customers don’t buy products, they buy experiences, but what if those experiences are offered in a language they could not understand?
According to a survey by Common Sense Advisory (CSA), 74% of consumers are less likely to repurchase if after-sales support is not in their language. An ICMI/Lionbridge study also noted that 79% of contact centers have customers who aren’t native speakers of the main language they speak. And 60% of those customers expect brands to help them in their native language.
Despite the obvious importance of multilingual support, the same study by ICMI/Lionbridge found that only 19% of contact centers provide language support. If they receive support for people of a different language, ICMI report that the common strategy across different channels is to apologize for not speaking the same language and attempt to help them to whatever language the agents are speaking.
This compromises customer satisfaction and lowers agent score because of long handle time.
Impact of Language on Self-Service Support
In 2014, CSA analyzed the impact of language in localizing websites to increase sales. They surveyed 3,002 consumers from different countries and found that 55% of the respondents only buy on localized websites. Likewise, 53% are comfortable in buying in their native language. Regardless of English proficiency, CSA noted that the main reason for buying were cost, selection and quality. However, this drops as a consumer’s English skills decrease.
These findings are very insightful, as more and more people are relying on self-service support. According to Nuance Enterprise, 67% consumers now prefer self-service over traditional support channels. Dimension Data also reports that 73% of customers rely on websites, FAQs, knowledge base, and brand community forums for a faster DIY solution to their problems. Hence, creating a localized self-service portal and website also help elevate customer satisfaction.
Localization, however, is a huge project and requires a lot of company resources. In case self-service in native language is not possible, interactions should seamlessly transfer to a multi-language CX team.
Role of Offshore Agents in Multilanguage CX
They operate one of the largest multilingual hubs in Asia, in Kuala Lumpur. Everise CEO, Sudhir Agarwal believes to truly enhance multilingual support, never hire Filipino agents to support Japanese customers, nor English speaking agents to help Hispanic customers because it will never work.
With offshore solutions, however, agents are multilingual and can assist customers speaking in various languages. The United States of America, for example, has 59 million Hispanic and Latino-Americans. So, companies consider hiring multilingual offshore or nearshore agents that can speak both Spanish and English. Likewise, they can look into Asia, like Malaysia and the Philippines, to support both Asian-American customers.
Aside from the multilingual capabilities, there are many reasons businesses today look at offshore solutions to support their operations.
- Saves Money
Cheaper labor is the main reason companies go for offshore CX solutions in the Philippines, India, Malaysia and other Asian countries. Lower labor is not limited to administrative jobs but even on specialized roles like graphic design or strategic management.
- Quality Talent Pool
Aside from their excellent communication skills, offshore agents are fast learners and highly trainable. Applicants also have high educational backgrounds which equates to the quality of their skills. In addition, their deep understanding of the western culture makes it easier for them to connect with their customers.
- Increase Productivity
Asians are known to be friendly, empathetic, accommodating, and hardworking. These are traits that increases productivity and improves focus. BPO companies have a strong business process funneled to increase KPIs.
- Strong Government Support
BPO is one of the largest contributors of economic growth. In the Philippines, for example, 10% of the country’s GDP is because of the outsourcing industry. Hence, governments enact several laws to protect the welfare of BPO professionals and increase tax incentives for BPO companies.
With the growing demand of customers and the increasingly competitive marketplace, hiring offshore agents to save money and increase productivity is a welcome solution to many companies.
Especially that customers are becoming global and diverse, having multicultural agents who speak several languages can enhance customer experiences.