How COVID-19 Exposes a Vital Need for Localized Customer & Staff Portals

In the time of a global pandemic, offering clear communication and assistance to multilingual constituents is more important than ever.

Jessica Rivera's avatar
Jessica Rivera

April 28, 2020


No other event in modern history has impacted the economic performance of organizations worldwide more than the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even after months into the crisis, the active workforces in many nations are working from home, and customers around the globe remain housebound, scouring the internet for answers, products and solutions.

With so many of your company’s employees and customers leveraging the power of digital channels, it’s critical to offer them secure login experiences where they can clearly communicate with you, coordinate with each other, access important account information and more.

If your business operates in multilingual and international markets, it should translate those portals, now more than ever.

Let’s explore why.

The Value of Localizing Customer Portals

Your multilingual customers are the most vital component of your business, and they deserve localized content during the pandemic (and beyond). Customers always prefer to work with organizations that value them—especially in times of duress—and offering a localized customer portal is an invaluable way to help ensure they work with you.

There are additional short- and long-term benefits to translating your existing customer portal.

Reduces International Customer Service Costs

When multilingual customers can’t find online support in their preferred languages, they turn to Customer Service departments for help. This often increases the number of inbound support requests, which overburdens existing multilingual support resources (who handle phone and email requests).

In crises, when support requests often skyrocket, this workload goes from inconvenient to downright brutal.

Localizing support and account management content within your customer portal eliminates most of these operational complexities and resource demands. It usually also improves customer satisfaction, as most customers prefer self-serve online support to phone or time-shifted email support.

Provides Useful, Customized Engagement

Customer portals use innovative technologies to deliver customized experiences to users—such as recommending products or solutions, or providing account or service information that is unique to each customer.

These bespoke digital experiences can be further tuned by displaying locally preferred words and phrases, references to local customs and buying habits, and—especially important during the pandemic—regionally relevant information about business operations, product availability and more.

These market-specific experiences build brand credibility and trust, which might otherwise be in short supply during a crisis.

The Value of Localizing Employee Portals

Coordinating global resources is demanding for companies in the best of times, but the COVID-19 pandemic has created countless operational issues that are further complicated by having a workforce that is, overwhelmingly, working from home.

Remote work has been a lifeline for many businesses, but its model brings undeniable challenges. Processes that were once clear and efficient can be delayed or outright derailed. Important changes in resource management can be miscommunicated—or not communicated at all.

These problems are even greater and more numerous for multilingual employees working in different markets. They, like the workforce in your primary market, need a secure, centralized employee resource that’s available in their preferred languages.

Here are some other benefits to localizing your employee portal:

Unified Communication Across Disparate Locations

Translating the content of your organization’s intranet or employee portal ensures clear communication across all countries, subsidiaries and departments. This empowers your multilingual teams to effectively sidestep the continual confusion that vexes businesses during times of crisis—to say nothing of the additional communication gaps that come with telecommuting.

This translated “single source of truth” does more than streamline collaboration among staffers and markets. It provides a vital hub for delivering companywide announcements about how your organization is handling the pandemic, or how eventual return-to-work policies may be implemented.

It also streamlines employee and contractor management, and resource allocation.

Centralized HR and Training Resources

These portals can also provide multilingual employees with instant access to key resources—including ways to easily (and if needed, urgently) review and manage private data such as employee benefits, insurance-related information, PTO requests and more—in their languages of choice.

Secure employee portals can also offer training materials and other documented processes for remote work. Translating this material ensures staffers get the support they need to efficiently help customers during a time of uncertainty.

How To Translate Your Secure Portals

The upsides of translating secure login areas are high, but—unfortunately—so are the number of technical challenges you’ll overcome to successfully localize them. Generally, this is because:

  • Most digital translation vendors use immature technologies to detect and compile portal content for translation
  • The tools fail to reliably detect translatable content on webpages, or within single-page applications and dynamic-content databases
  • Most vendors often heap technical and translation tasks onto their customers, generating unexpected costs and effort

These shortcomings result in a compromised multilingual UX that frustrates your constituents, and does more harm to your business than good. You can avoid this minefield by finding a portal translation that accurately detects and translates all of your relevant online content, while eliminating nearly all effort for your teams.

Here are a few characteristics to look for in a truly qualified translation vendor.

Choose a Solution that Minimizes Complexity

Firstly, consider vendors that offer proxy-based translation solutions. The best proxy solutions operate independently of your portal’s content-management platform, ensuring full compatibility with your entire technology stack— even if your portal was custom-built with in-house resources, or leverages content stored in legacy (or obsolete) frameworks.

The proxy approach also presents distinct advantages over other solutions such as CMS translation connectors, which require initial and ongoing customized development.

The best proxies also offer practically effortless implementation and ongoing operation. They automatically—and reliably—detect translatable content and route it to linguists for rapid translation. This translated content is then instantly delivered to multilingual end-users in ways that other approaches struggle to do with any timeliness or affordability.

Supports All On-Site Content

The best end-to-end proxy solutions also leverage superior content-parsing technologies that can handle all of the under-the-hood complexities that make portal translation such a burden for IT teams. The aforementioned issues about web applications and dynamic, personalized content are great examples of this.

Great turn-key proxy solutions can parse translatable text from these applications while preserving their framework logic. After translation, they elegantly reintegrate the localized content back into the applications, too.

They can also translate content that “lives” on third-party services or servers, or in multimedia files (such as images, PDFs and videos), all with no customer-side effort required.

Last updated on April 28, 2020
Jessica Rivera's avatar

About Jessica Rivera

Jessica Rivera brings an expert understanding of global business, executive leadership, and holistic team and culture building to her role as MotionPoint’s EVP, Global Sales and Corporate Affairs. She has over 15 years of experience collaborating with C-suites at leading SaaS and fintech companies.

Jessica Rivera's avatar
Jessica Rivera

EVP, People & Performance / Chief Legal Officer


Keep Learning

Here is some related information that you might enjoy

Building Customer Trust Goes Beyond Website Translation

Building Customer Trust Goes Beyond Website Translation

Top 3 Website Translation Technologies of 2024

Top 3 Website Translation Technologies of 2024

How to Go Global with Your Hospitality Website

How to Go Global with Your Hospitality Website

Colombia Is Becoming a Hot Emerging Market for E-Commerce, MotionPoint SVP tells Latin Trade

Colombia Is Becoming a Hot Emerging Market for E-Commerce, MotionPoint SVP tells Latin Trade