As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt lives around the world, two things have become increasingly clear to corporate leaders:
- They’re witnessing the critical and growing importance of their organization’s digital presence
- They’re especially impacted by the ability to communicate effectively online
A vital component of proactively communicating with customers at home and abroad is language. Many companies are undoubtedly scrambling for ways to educate and serve their multilingual customers in this time of growing uncertainty.
Engaging multilingual and international customers in their preferred languages—especially during a crisis—can positively impact a business in key ways, including revenue generation, business continuity, customer support and community service.
Let’s take a closer look.
Continued Relevance & Competitiveness
Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 requires people to practice social distancing, including avoiding large gatherings in stores and office spaces. In response, companies are altering their in-store hours, reducing output or closing on-site operations entirely.
This is killing conversions and revenue in many industries. But customers—including those in multilingual and international markets—are adapting by going online to find solutions to their needs.
Offering a localized digital customer experience helps offset the reduction of in-store traffic, revenue and other KPIs. Equally important, your company is available for customers in their channel of choice, in their languages of choice, when they need it most.
Accommodating Increased Customer Activity
As more multilingual and international customers seek solutions during this time, they’ll expect the same information that’s offered to English-speaking customers. This includes online capabilities such as account management, payment management, wealth and healthcare management and other crucial services.
Presenting a seamlessly localized CX across all channels—including those found in customer portals and other secure login areas—gives anxious customers precisely what they need during this time: reassurance and reliability.
Updates to Business Partners and Clients
COVID-19 has impacted supply chains, manufacturing output, deliveries and other aspects of B2B business. Has your company already been affected? If not, will it?
It’s critical to provide transparent, timely information to your suppliers, B2B clients and other partners. Some companies have launched microsites that are exclusively dedicated to informing their business partners about COVID-19’s impact on operations.
These urgent updates won’t be much help, however, if they’re not localized for multilingual and international constituents. Translation can play a vital role in preserving your most important B2B relationships during this situation—and beyond.
Business Continuity Across Markets
If your business operates in global markets, it needs a localized online destination (such as an employee portal) to ensure crystal-clear communication across all countries, subsidiaries and departments.
This localized “single source of truth” can become a vital part of your business during the ongoing pandemic.
With translation, leadership can be fully aligned across all aspects of the business. Company-wide announcements will provide timely information. Employee and contractor management gets streamlined. Critical resource allocation is simplified.
Seamless Virtual Collaboration
In an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, many companies are leveraging remote work / telecommuting solutions, often for the first time. The kind of corporate content typically associated with using this software—such as in-house training materials and other documented processes—may not yet be localized in your employees’ preferred languages.
Translating this material ensures that multilingual team members get the work-from-home support they need to preserve productivity, and help customers during a time of uncertainty.
Customer & Community Support
Since COVID-19 information (and sadly, disinformation) moves at the speed of the Internet, customers now expect equally speedy updates and information from the brands they trust the most.
Multilingual and international customers are, of course, no exception—and in fact may need information more urgently than others if their country is severely impacted by COVID-19.
Providing answers to their questions via localized websites, social media posts, multimedia (such as videos and PDFs) and omnichannel assets ensures they are up-to-date on your company’s preparedness, necessary closures, service availability and more.
It’s common for customer support requests to spike in times of duress, particularly when a company’s production systems and supply chains are affected. It’s also common for customers to contact Support teams via telephone.
This usually stresses the limits of telephone Support teams. However, multilingual Support teams (which often have far fewer team members) can find themselves completely overwhelmed by the increased call volume in ways that English teams often aren’t.
Localizing online support material—such as self-service options, knowledge bases and FAQs—can dramatically reduce those incoming calls. Translating your Support team’s often-used “saved replies” email content can mitigate the workload, too.
Customer & Community Outreach
Finally, translating any content that can make a helpful contribution to the lives of your customers, and the community at large, can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in multilingual and international markets. It also increases your brand’s visibility at a time of need.
Localizing announcements about your company’s charitable giving, discounted services, donated products, proper hygiene or other health-related information reveals the human side of your business. It also showcases your empathy and commitment to your customers, no matter where they might live.Last updated on March 17, 2020