Three Things to Avoid When Going Global

Posted by
Dave Smith
Guest Blogger
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 10:54

According to The Economist, less than 20% of the world’s population speaks English as a primary or secondary language. That means that 80% of any business’ opportunities are probably unreachable if they don’t offer multilingual solutions.  As a Lionbridge sales and marketing guy, I am always on the lookout for new markets and customers for our GeoFluent real-time translation solution.  Those opportunities are often in places where English is not the native language or even widely spoken.

New technology paves the way

Today, forward-thinking enterprises are deploying new technologies to help them interact with their customers in a more engaging way.   GeoFluent customers expect the company to be responsive at all hours, every day.  Yours probably do too.  We need ways for them to engage with a brand the way they want and also have a great customer experience.

Live chat solutions are leading the charge, providing one-to-one customer interactions that cut support costs, increase revenue and improve CSAT metrics.  And it seems that many customers prefer it.  This past holiday season, LivePerson customers hosted over 860,000 chats on Cyber Monday, a 30% increase over the previous year.  In a 2012 survey about holiday shopping trends it was found that 94% of those surveyed who have used live chat in the past planned on using it again during the Christmas 2012 holiday season.

For most multinational companies, going global requires a solid international communications strategy and framework for success. Based on our experience working with companies who have struggled at their first attempts to bring their live chat solutions to the international marketplace, here are some lessons you can learn from their mistakes.

Are you thinking about going global?  Here’s what doesn’t work:


1)  Only hiring native language agents to support your customers

In one case, a high tech manufacturing customer estimated over 400 language specific agents would be required to support their complex products… they received budget for 40.  In some cases, hiring language-specific agents with the right technical skills has shown to be almost impossible.

 

2)  Only providing ‘office hours’ coverage for most languages

Helping customers some of the time is better than not at all, right?  A UK-based online gaming customer thought so, and provided support from 8am – 5pm in all EMEA languages… only to find that their most lucrative customers wanted assistance after hours. Monitoring site traffic to understand international visitor traffic patterns can help, but this still leaves a lot to be desired for the customer who wants help when it’s convenient for them, not for you.

 

3)  Relying on Google Translate

Do you really want to trust important customer communications to the translation quality of the freebies?  A large manufacturer of recreational products incorporated a Google Translate button into their chat… and found no one used it. Google Translate is great if you just want to give someone just the gist of what you want to say, but as a representation of your brand and your customer service approach, it should not be your first choice.

 

How to Go Global Successfully...

Recently LivePerson announced the adoption of GeoFluent, a real-time translation solution from Lionbridge, to assist with their global expansion strategy.  GeoFluent’s high quality, actionable machine translations enable LivePerson agents to support their customers in any language 24x7.  And best of all, the GeoFluent integration with LivePerson preserves the same great customer experience we’ve all come to expect.

From a customer support perspective, we are seeing a 15% increase in call deflection and 5% increase in CSAT among non-English speakers after integrating GeoFluent compared to results where multilingual chat was not previously available. From an online sales perspective, businesses using Geofluent have reported an 11% increase in online conversions and 16% productivity increase for call center agents compared to results previous to multilingual chat availability.

The time has come when tools such as GeoFluent are necessary to enable global companies to reach their multilingual customer base.  It works for LivePerson and it might just be perfect for you.

What is your strategy for global expansion with LivePerson?  We’d love to hear your story and approach.

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