How Multilingual Customer Experiences Can Boost Your Business


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What do your customers really think when they can’t find support or marketing content from your brand in their native language? As a Portuguese native speaker, it’s somewhat common for me to communicate with multinational corporations that don’t support my language. It’s always surprising, and even a bit jarring. For those that don’t speak English, this lack of support can feel like an outright bias.

According to our recent Global Multilingual Customer Experience survey, more than two-thirds (69%) of global consumers believe it’s extremely or very important that brands offer an end-to-end customer experience in their native language. Those that do can experience benefits that range from long-term customer loyalty to increased profitability.

Your brand reputation will improve

Customers expect to hear from their favorite brands in their native language. When they do, it’s good for business. They feel that a brand is prioritizing them and being inclusive of their country and culture.

Businesses without multilingual support may suffer some surprising consequences. The survey cited above found that 57% of consumers consider it a bias when brands don’t offer multilingual experiences to their customers. That number is even higher in the U.S., where nearly two-thirds (63%) of consumers consider it a bias.

An emphasis on multilingual experiences could make people feel more connected with your employees and your brand. In fact, 45% of consumers in Brazil and 32% of consumers in Japan actually think that native language communication from brands demonstrates empathy. Research has shown that a language learned during childhood elicits stronger emotional responses than languages learned later in life. That means speaking to someone in their native language creates a common social context that can foster stronger connections and empathy.

Customers will be more loyal

Beyond empathy alone, native language experiences can turn customers into loyal advocates. Our survey found that around three quarters of global consumers would switch to a new brand that markets products or services in their native language. In addition, 73% of respondents would be somewhat or very loyal to a brand that offers support in their native language. Many brands invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in customer retention efforts, when something as simple as language could work wonders.

There’s one important caveat. For brands that do offer native language support, there’s very little tolerance globally for poor customer experiences. An overwhelming 92% of global consumers believe that poor customer service, even if it is in their native language, will impact their trust and loyalty toward a brand. In other words, translation alone is not enough. Expert customer support agents, paired with an AI-powered language operations strategy, can be critical to increasing customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores and other important KPIs.

You’ll increase profit potential

Perhaps the most surprising benefit to come from multilingual services and support is an increase in profits.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the global consumers we surveyed would pay more for a product or service if a brand offers a customer experience in their native language. Depending on the market, this number jumps significantly. In Brazil, for example, 84% of consumers would pay a premium for language support. Age can also play a big role when it comes to language, with 74% of millennials saying they’d pay more for a native-language customer experience.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, brands stand to lose out on profits if they fail to offer native language customer support. One in four consumers would not spend more than $500 if brands do not offer proper language support.

Prioritizing multilingual experiences pays off

Rather than leaving multilingual customer experiences up to chance (or Google Translate), investing in native language support could pay dividends in the future. It’s time that companies treat non-English-speaking customers as first-class citizens. Doing so can drive major gains when it comes to reputation, loyalty, and the bottom line.

Vasco Pedro
Vasco Pedro is a co-founder and chief executive officer of Unbabel, a company that removes language barriers by blending artificial intelligence with real time, human translations. A serial entrepreneur, Vasco has led Unbabel since 2013, taking it through Y Combinator and raising a total of $31 million in funding.


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