Building an international client base can be a daunting prospect for any company.

Luckily, the Internet has made it easier than ever to source and reach out to potential customers – whether that’s through an international email marketing campaign, targeted ads or a free webinar – wherever they are in the world.

With research, planning and a carefully thought-out digital strategy in hand, setting about the challenge of attracting international clients can lead to a huge pay-off.

Picture of people standing around the Earth to illustrate international customer service tips.

But with approximately 7,111 languages spoken today globally, how can your company ensure that you speak your customers’ language?

Offering an efficient and effective multilingual customer service experience may seem unrealistic for smaller companies, but few realise that there is real possibility for an amazing return on investment for those who put their money towards professional language services.

'The Age of the customer'?

Many industry experts believe that we are living in the middle of the ‘Age of the Customer,’ defined as “a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.”

And there are stats to back it up. A recent survey found that:

  • 86% of buyers would pay more for better service.
  • 97% of global consumers cite customer service as important in their brand choice and loyalty.
  • Improved customer experience can grow revenue by 5 to 10% — and cost 15 to 20% less — over a span of three years.

These stunning findings prove the importance of prioritising the customer experience and should encourage companies to urgently look towards streamlining their customer service model.

A multilingual model

But how can you offer a great customer experience in multiple languages? Here are our top three customer service tips for ensuring your multilingual model is a surefire success.

1. Identify your customers

In an ideal world, every company would offer their services and products in the 7000+ world languages – but it simply doesn’t make financial sense!

The good news is that half of the world’s population speaks 23 languages – and it’s likely that your client base speaks fewer than that.

To begin to build your new customer service model, it’s vital to track exactly which languages your customers speak. According to Groove HQ, there are two main ways to achieve this:

(A) Identify them yourself – this could be as simple as using Gmail’s Labels in your support inbox to track every unique language used over a period of time, and then gathering the statistics together for comparison.

(B) Use tools to determine where your customers are – Google Analytics is a fantastic (and free) tool which can allow you to see where your traffic is coming from – just choose ‘Audience’in the left sidebar, and then select ‘Geo’, and then ‘Location’.

2. Invest in professional language services

Once you’ve identified which languages your customers are using, it’s time to look into investing in professional language services to support your company.

If you can’t instantly reply to a customer in their own language, a simple yet professional solution would be working with a translation company to build a bank of autoreplies in multiple languages.

Furthermore, paying an experienced and reliable translation company to translate key product details, helpful articles and troubleshooting information is a wise investment. These are documents that can be used time and time again – after all, you will only need to pay for a quality translation once.

3. Hire multilingual staff

Of all our international customer service tips, this may be the most expensive step, but hiring an employee that has skills in one of your customers’ key languages could actually save you money in the long run.

They don’t even have to be native speakers. Nowadays, many language graduates in the UK speak foreign languages to a high level and can communicate seamlessly in a business setting.

Indeed, in today’s instant world where 75% percent of online customers expect a response to their query within five minutes, there’s never been a better time to get multilingual employees on your side and ensure your company can compete in the global economy.

Article written by Sofia Lewis, Wolfestone contributor.