Understanding How To Deploy Chat Internationally Offers Insight About Multi-Language Considerations At Home

Many eBusiness professionals -- inspired by the business results they have seen at home with chat including call deflection, increased conversion, and enhanced customer satisfaction -- are expanding chat into their international Web sites.

While the elements of a successful chat transcend borders, the components to a successful international deployment can be complex. eBusiness professionals must consider their international markets, their international readiness, and what localization will be required to be successful. To assist in meeting these challenges, we published a document today called, "Taking Chat International: Paving The Way To Success Through Effective Localization."

One of the more complex challenges is managing translation. Some of the key questions include:

  • Should you hire native speakers or translate during chat sessions? Hiring native speakers is ideal, but not always practical. Alternatives include training chat reps to identify variations in spelling, grammar or vocabulary between different audiences or using translation technology.
  • What will be needed from technology to support multi-language agents? Key considerations include what it will mean to business processes when an agent supports chat sessions coming in from different languages, the impact if agents will need to search for answers in one language and push answers to consumers in another, and the impact of multiple languages on your maintaining an accurate knowledge base.
  • How will different languages impact your design principles? For example, a best practice in chat design is to use short sentences and words. However, some languages have longer words and sentences compared to English, and this may have an impact on how your knowledge base is paragraphed.

Even if you aren’t considering taking chat international, here is something to think about: 5% of US online adults agree that "online customer service content in languages other than English is very useful to me" (Source: North American Technographics Omnibus Online Survey, Q4 2010 (US)). If 5% doesn’t capture your imagination, look at it this way:  Service content in languages other than English matters to nearly 9 million online US adults (Source: North American Technographics Benchmark Survey, Q2 2010 (US, Canada)). If these non-English segments have an impact on your bottom line, I hope you’ll find “Taking Chat International” to be helpful. As always, I welcome your comments and ideas here.


Great topic and report

I did a project a few years back on best practice support delivery processes and IM support was an area I looked at. Where it was used, vendors were substantially more productive and could more easily link IM requests with their knowledgebase for quicker/better responses and even use translation software to allow customers to communicate in their own language. Reps were able to handle multiple requests at a time (versus just one phone call) and, for customers, it was less invasive and allowed them to continue doing their business. Where either party needed to, it was easy to quickly set up a VoIP call or call-back (and, also fairly easily, hand off the ticket to a native speaker). With the huge increase in business in emerging (largely non-English speaking) markets, chat provides a great way to enter and service new markets at lower cost. Your points about not assuming an American paradigm are spot-on as the lack of localization can undermine a customer's experience and the brand's value. Like segmentation studies show us how to best optimize products, processes and pitches for particular targets, so too should IM chat (support interface and process) be optimized for individual target markets. This is often overlooked (or discounted) so, bravo, for this analysis and your clear call!

interesting article

interesting article