The Benefits of Multilingual Customer Support
Last Updated On: June 6, 2022 by The Migration Translators
What is meant by customer support?
Most manufacturers around the world these days have learned that their products can’t just be distributed and sold without any backup customer support. In fact, products are often judged on just how good a company’s customer support is. Until relatively recently, most customer support involved taking a product back to the place where it was bought and getting it repaired or replaced, or at least checked.
Customer support also involved the option of ringing a customer support representative at the company where the product was manufactured or the agency that distributed the product. All of this was relatively easy when products were manufactured and sold within the same country. There wasn’t too much of a problem with communicating, although, in countries where there was an increasing number of immigrants who didn’t necessarily speak the official language too well, this was beginning to change the whole basis of customer support.
Changes to the way business is done have meant that there are benefits in multilingual customer support
The last couple of decades have really shaken up the way business is done and this has worked its way through to customer support. Two radical changes have been the widespread use of the internet to communicate and the globalization of business.
The former means that customer support can take the form of (much cheaper) email communication and the use of websites with lots of information such as FAQs. This helps to minimize the use of support staff, although some would argue that the reduction of human help has made customer support less useful.
The globalization aspect, coupled with the power of the internet means that many more products are being marketed and sold outside of the country of manufacture. This immediately brings into question how customer support has to be changed to deal with the fact that many new customers will not be able to speak the language of the manufacturer. This is avoided to some extent with particularly large businesses and multinational corporations that have nationally based branches of their business that can handle sales, marketing, and customer support locally.
To take a few examples, Ikea is a Swedish company that has branches in many other countries. If you have a problem with your Ikea kitset desk, all you need to do is to ring up or email the local Ikea customer support team. Similarly, Toyota is a Japanese car manufacturer with branches all over the world. You don’t need to speak Japanese to make an inquiry about the Toyota car you have just purchased!
Multilingual website design is an important ingredient in providing multilingual customer support
The real need for multilingual customer support translation is in the design of websites for all shapes and sizes of manufacturers, who market their goods overseas, yet do not have national branches outside of the country of manufacture. The use of human multilingual customer support staff at the manufacturing company’s base probably won’t be justified, but there are certain customer service benefits from having a user-friendly multilingual website with a lot of information on the product and support for any problems with working out how to maintain or use the product or what you can do if it breaks down or needs servicing. This certainly does need to rely on technical translators who can translate the more technical parts of your website so that it can reach a multilingual customer base.
If you have a small to medium-sized business that exports products to many parts of the world, you probably haven’t the resources to have nationally based branches of your own business. Exporting overseas doesn’t eliminate the need for customer support, but does make its availability more challenging. At the very least, you will have to have a troubleshooting or customer help section on your own company website. By using professional translators to translate your material for you, you can provide useful multilingual customer support for those people around the world who have purchased your products.