Customer interaction takes place on a number of channels and in multiple languages.

The Needs of Global Customer Support

Dealing with a multilingual customer base can be tricky for several reasons. How can we support our customer service agents with this specific challenge?
Customer interaction takes place on a number of channels and in multiple languages.

Customer interaction takes place nowadays through many channels, and a great experience is expected regardless of where the communication is taking place. It has to be fun and satisfying for an international customer base to engage with a company’s brand. The work of support agents should therefore be made easy and efficient. The systems deployed to assist in this must effortlessly rise to a businesses needs.

Going mobile is the current trend, driven partly by Social Customer Care that is favored by millennials. This requires a very flexible SaaS architecture. Information flow and presentation needs to be optimized for the respective channels. For example, for support on a mobile device the system needs a minimalistic UI. Hit lists must be very short and have to highlight key information. Automatic dialog systems have to support the most common chat applications. The system needs to tolerate typos and terse social media-style language. Some customers might want to use voice instead of typing. Answers have to be short and precise, and link to further information.

Know Your Customers and Meet their Needs

Companies collect a lot of data from customer interaction. Despite this, customers often have to repeat information over and over again. Instead, good customer support could sometimes even preempt issues, if the customer is already known. Leveraging data stored in ERP systems and having the communication history at hand are key. Information on new customers can be acquired through social media mining or analyzing peer groups, without having to bother them with thousands of questions.

Deliver a Personal, Satisfying Self-Service Experience

For most people, being able to use their mother tongue is a prerequisite for a personal experience during a customer interaction, or maybe even simply the only way they can communicate efficiently. This requires not only a localized UI, but also being able to access knowledge using the customer’s language. Ideally answers are also provided in the customer’s language, at least to a machine translated quality. FAQs should be translated to a human quality.

Allow Customers to Share Ideas and Solve Issues

E-commerce wants to benefit from the sharing economy, too. And it should. Often the customers themselves are the best support agents. Companies therefore need to provide an Open Knowledge Base which can be expanded by customers. Giving kudos to contributors or implementing some sort of gamification is often incentive enough for the customers’ efforts. Most customers, though, will use their mother tongue for writing knowledge articles. Thus articles in many languages have to be revised for publication. They need to be retrievable by cross-language search through a Multilingual Knowledge System. Their content has to be machine translated into the customer’s language. Some companies want to translate every article in human revised quality into their corporate language. Articles need to be categorized. Text Analytics can extract invaluable insights.

Support Your Agents Optimally

Customers can embarrass support agents, because simply by Googling they can often know more about the issue than the agents themselves. Therefore, the agents need the same cross-language access to the knowledge base that the customers have. In addition, they need to have access to the communication history and customer data from the ERP systems. A social media dashboard provides further information about the customer, about their colleagues, friends, or family members and their communication history. For known problems, template answers, translated in all languages, should be available.

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Gudrun Magnusdottir
Gudrun Magnusdottir

Gudrun is co-founder of Coreon GmbH and a Chief Strategy Officer. She brings the team a passionately innovative and strategic mindset, entrepreneurial spirit, and a long term experience in marketing to global corporates, organisations and institutions.