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Expanding your business into foreign markets opens up the potential of reaching millions of customers around the world. But the potential is useless without a solid, pragmatic strategy for growth. An important part of that strategy is adapting your marketing as well as your customer service to the subtle differences of international markets, including the language barrier.
Communicate With Your Customers in Their Own Language
Translating marketing materials will undoubtedly boost your brand visibility and advertising efforts. To go one step further, you’ll need to offer translated customer service as well. Brand loyalty is getting weaker since it’s no longer unusual for a customer to jump ship if your competitor offers personalized service or better after-sale support. To retain your customer base, you’ll need to meet them where they’re at and for international businesses this means you should communicate with them in their local language.
What follows are four practical ways how to incorporate translations into your customer service to get bonus points for client satisfaction.
1. Pay Attention to Details
What comes first is thorough research. It’s not enough to simply translate your material into a foreign language or hire some employees with mediocre language skills. You’ll need to go through your material with a fine tooth comb to make sure it’s culturally appropriate for the market you’re trying to reach. This it not a job for a random translator — to understand the nuances that often make the most difference, you’ll need a person who is fluent in both the local language and the language your material is in.
Creating and managing your social media presence is even more effective when tailored to a local market. For example, Facebook offers a useful feature called global pages, where visitors are redirected to their local page based on their IP address. With other platforms, such as Instagram or TikTok, you’d need to create separate pages for each country (@yourbranduk, @yourbrandusa, @yourbrandaustralia, etc.). This means more effort is put into creating content, but it also means you can utilize local user-generated content and communicate with local customers directly.
When considering social media for different markets, you’ll also need to look into which platforms are being used in different countries for your specific industry. For example, Facebook is dominant in the USA, but China uses WeChat (it has 1,28 billion active users every month), while VK is the largest European social network. Go where your customers are and tailor your communication means to their needs.
3. Employ a Local Customer Service Team
When assembling a support team, language skills should be non-negotiable. Employees who are local to the market will always be better equipped to communicate with your customers. They’ll also have a better understanding of your customers’ concerns and frequent complaints — use this advantage to improve your products or services.
4. Expand Your After-Sale Services Through Multilingual Resources
One way of improving your customer service without doubling or even tripling your support team is to create an extensive knowledge base. The same goes when making these resources available for foreign markets. Now, if your business has a large pool of information, this can be a time-consuming process. The translation service with Unbabel can streamline this step in your growth strategy while still utilizing human factors to ensure that the translations are adapted to the location.
Maintain Strong Customer Support When Scaling
Regardless if you’re spreading into a neighboring country or going global, the quality of your customer service shouldn’t suffer. Partnering with a translation service and adapting your existing systems to suit the newly acquired customers are key to making this transition as smooth as possible. In the long run, your business will reap the rewards in maintaining customer loyalty, improved brand recognition, and, consequently, more sales.