The globalisation of business means that demand for multilingual service desk support has grown. Tom Tseki of Lionbridge offers some tips on improving your language capabilities.

As organisations expand internationally, and their workforce and customer base grows and diversifies, their ability to effectively communicate across geographies and cultures becomes increasingly important to global success. Traditional approaches to service desk language support, such as employing bilingual staff and using over-the-phone interpretation, are still widely adopted but now with the new demands of the digital world, are these still the most effective approaches to take?

By enabling a whole new level of effective and consistent communications with end-users – regardless of language – next-generation multilingual support solutions have quickly become pivotal to the success of the best-in-class enterprise service desks on the international stage. Recent studies have shown that nearly 75% of global companies have found that customer satisfaction improves when the service is provided on their customers preferred channel and language. Additionally, more than 88% of companies said that their service desk analysts like supporting customers in their customer’s native language.

So, if comprehensive multilingual support is now seen as a differentiator between the leaders and the mainstream, and a key factor in global success, how can this level of service be achieved?

Here are five steps your organisation can take to enable or improve its language services:

1: Analyse your current offering
The first step to improving your multilingual offering is to take a backseat and objectively analyse how your organisation currently services non-primary language speakers. The key question to ask is does your service desk provide non-primary speakers with the same level of satisfaction as primary language users? On surface value, this may be difficult to determine, so consider asking these questions, and see if the answers are consistent for all end-users:

  • Are my preferred communications channels available?
  • How easy is it for me to report an issue?
  • How much effort is required?

2: Track and measure the languages used by your end-users
If you don’t already do so, track all of the languages that are being requested of your service desk, and determine the volume of users that are doing so for each.

After you’ve identified the languages, start to measure them. The aim here is to determine how quality metrics vary by language. Try and select those that are most important or unique to your organisation, some examples are: customer satisfaction, time to respond/repair/resolve, cost per incident.

3: Map user journeys by language
Mapping journeys by language will visualise the discrepancies that exist between different user experiences when it comes to language. This will clearly show which languages need more attention than others.

4: Assess your options
Now you have a clearer picture of where your current language service is failing, and where the opportunities for improvement lie, it is time to assess which solutions are the right fit for your organisation.

If there is a high demand for support across various channels and languages, then a customisable, omni-channel, 2nd generation real-time translation and interpretation solution may be the right answer. As interactions are increasingly taking place in digital formats via self-service and social channels, these 2nd generation solutions have become key to service desk support. But conversely, traditional methods may also still be of use if you find your end-users prefer voice-only support, or if your service desk only caters to one or two languages.

Regardless of this, it is worth noting that we commonly see the best-in-class organisations deploying a combination of services. Covering all bases with a variety of translation and interpretation technologies will help to meet the needs of all end-users. The most important thing to remember is that your language support approach should be unique to your organisation and its specific circumstances.

5: Test, monitor, roll out
After completing step four, you are probably keen to swiftly roll out your new approach to multilingual support, however it is important to maintain best practice by testing and monitoring this new approach at a smaller scale.

Firstly begin by taking on the languages and/or channels that can benefit most from multilingual support. If you can see the positive impact of this new approach here, repeat the process again and again to implement broader language and channel coverage across your service desk. But remember, it might not be necessary to offer every language across every channel.

Following these five steps will ensure that your organisation is well on its way to improving its language journey. Providing omnichannel multilingual support to all end-users will allow your organisation to benefit from improved interactions, both internally and externally, across the entire global enterprise.

Guest post by:
Tom Tseki

Tom Tseki

Vice President & General Manager, geoFluent & customer care solutions, Lionbridge
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