So, you want to get customers in other languages and regions. Great! Your first step is to translate your website. But what then? Are you ready for foreign language customer calls? You’ll have to rethink having an international virtual phone system.
Handling foreign language calls effectively is vital for the global company. Fortunately setting up a virtual phone system with multilingual customer service representatives (CSR) for any region and language is affordable even for small businesses.
Research shows that people prefer to do business in their native language. Not only single language speakers, but also bilingual people also tend to feel more comfortable speaking to others in their native tongue.
- 72.1% of consumers spend nearly all their time online on websites written in their own language
- 72.4% said they are more likely to buy when product information is written in their own language
- 42% never buy if the information isn’t in their native language
- 56.2% say that getting information in their own language is even more important than price
- 90% of Internet users say that, when given a choice, they always use websites in their own language
Even in Europe, known for its people’s high multilingual proficiency, a full 44% of the population uses only its own language to read or watch content on the Internet.
Clearly, consumers expect materials in their own language. That preference transfers to phone-based customer service and support as well.
It’s extremely confusing and frustrating for customers to browse a meticulously localized website, call the company, and then discover that they can’t understand the CSR.
After saying, “What? I don’t understand. Say again!” multiple times, they hang up and never bother to call back.
Even customers that speak two or more languages still feel more comfortable speaking their native language, so providing customer service in that languages increases the chance that they will buy.
Further, culture can also be an important element. CSRs that speak the customers’ native language usually have a better grasp of the customers’ culture and expectations.
With language and cultural barriers removed, the potential for costly errors is reduced.
The Importance of an international virtual phone number
Even if you offer multilingual customer service and support, few customers will call you if you give them only your company’s local phone number. That’s because not everyone has an international virtual phone system. Those that do may have to pay a fee for international calls.
A non-local number is a barrier to your customers. It’s yet another reason for them to find another company to purchase from. So giving your customers a local (for them) number to call is critical.
Fortunately, with today’s technology, setting up an international virtual phone system with an international phone number doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Options for an International virtual phone system. Multilingual service
Some companies hesitate to translate their websites because they lack confidence to effectively serve multilingual customers. For example, you want to localize your website into Spanish, but you are terrified that a Spanish speaker will actually call. Then what?
In the old days you had to go to the foreign country, open up a brick and mortar office, and hire local personnel to sit by the rotary telephones. That’s expensive. Fortunately, with call center software service and other services now available, companies can offer local language phone numbers without a huge investment.
Companies have a couple options for offering multilingual customer service with local or toll free numbers regardless of where their CSRs are located: hire bilingual CSRs or outsource the call center.
# Hire bilingual customer service representatives to work in your office
Spanish language customer calls can be routed to your Spanish-speaking employees. French calls to French-speaking employees and so on.
- The upside: In house CSRs understand your company’s policies, products, and culture.
- The downside: Qualified people in the required language pairs can be hard to find. In addition, you may not have enough call volume to keep them busy.
That’s where the second option comes in.
# Outsource your foreign language customer service
The customers call a local number listed on your website thinking that they are talking to one of your employees. But actually they are talking with third-party call center employees that have been trained to sell or support your product.
- The upside: For a company that receives a low volume of foreign language calls, this option is affordable since you pay what you use.
- The downside: Outsourced call center employees can never understand your product and company culture as well as your own employees do.
Which option you choose depends on your budget as well as the particular needs of your company. The key, however, to setting up a multilingual virtual phone system is having the right technology.
Setting up an international virtual phone system for a multilingual customer base such as a cloud contact center is vital, but it’s not difficult. With the right technology and people, you can serve your customers abroad with just as much care as you serve your customers at home.