How to Improve Customer Engagement with Localization
Achieving an appropriate level of engagement with customers has always been a critical success factor. Some experts say customer engagement isn’t about selling a product or service or improving the bottom line. It’s about understanding what a customer needs, their pain points, and what solutions can help. Many companies could quickly improve customer engagement with localization. Here’s how.
An Important Localization Primer
Global businesses recognize the advantages of localization but often think it’s just a more complicated form of translation. Language is always a localization component because it’s a primary channel for bridging linguistic and cultural barriers.
However, localization goes beyond just converting text from one language to another. Localization considers the target audience for each market, including linguistic and sociological differences such as idioms, slang, tone, and cultural references.
A localization strategy combines all these elements by adapting a company’s branding, product, or service. Therefore, it connects with a new audience, often in more than one language and multiple locales. If translation is about using words to further one’s brand, then localization expands that idea to include design, layout, messages, and product functionality.
Improving Customer Service with Localization
First, it’s essential to recognize that while localization is how companies connect with and relate to potential customers, it’s also a strategic effort. The localization process is explicitly employed for global companies to gain a competitive advantage over rivals by understanding and embracing the opportunity to reach new customers in untapped markets. Customer engagement requires substantial customer centricity, especially when crossing cultures and languages.
Where to Start? Product Information
The best place to improve customer engagement with localization would be to start translating your content — any content. We know from widely distributed studies that people won’t buy products from a company that doesn’t speak their language, and 87% of consumers won’t buy from an English-only website.
If translation is process-driven, it’s important to remember that localization is more strategic because of all the moving parts and unique elements. In its best iterations, localization is used to gain a competitive advantage by understanding and utilizing opportunities to reach and connect with global customers.
As it turns out, accessing a company’s product information in one’s native language isn’t just nice for the consumer. According to CSA Research, over half of consumers say having product information available so they can easily read, comprehend, and act on it is more important than price when making a decision.
Closing the loop means capturing potential customers through different touchpoints and channels throughout their buying journey. A localized website improves customer engagement by offering consumers all the necessary information, such as product descriptions and marketing information, multilingual product reviews, and post-sale support in local languages. With this localized knowledge, consumers make more educated purchasing decisions, increasing satisfaction with your brand and solidifying your entry into new markets.
Support that Speaks Your Customers’ Language
Another area where even major brands stumble is in providing localized customer support. While your localized website and product information can get consumers’ attention, generating brand loyalty is impossible without addressing customers’ evolving needs.
Providing easily accessible, robust customer support over various channels ultimately provides more strategic benefits than any loyalty program. Easily accessible customer support is worth its weight in gold — or can just as quickly impact your reputation if done poorly.
In addition to customer support by phone or email, it’s worth investing in translated chatbot content for your target markets. Meanwhile, localizing eCommerce platforms ensures you operate with the right expectations regarding payment methods, address formats, and market-appropriate pricing.
Remember that culture is essential. In terms of communication, companies learned that digital communications platforms, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, can be helpful platforms for many consumers as opposed to other messaging applications. As social networking continues to change and evolve, it’s worth investigating what is used locally and catering to these practices.
Localization Boosts Search Results
Unsurprisingly, how consumers find products has changed over time, specifically how businesses are visible to consumers; in a world driven by Google searches, it’s easy to overlook how sophisticated SEO (search engine optimization) has become.
Not only do potential customers strongly prefer local search features, but search engine companies do too. Algorithms zero in on localized versions of websites to offer the most accurate results within the user’s area. The result is that localized websites with information in a language for a geographic area rank higher on search engine results than non-localized websites. Shifting the geographic, linguistic, and cultural focus toward your customer can offer positive and strategic advantages for your business.
Legal and Regulatory Compliance
In many countries, the need to provide information to consumers in their local language isn’t just part of good customer service; it’s legally required. The European Union has some of the most comprehensive laws in the world regarding website translation, for example. Meanwhile, some parts of the United States have been proactive in passing online language accessibility laws. Because French and English are official languages in Canada, the government requires all content to be translated into both languages.
Avoiding fines and other negative repercussions may be the highest priority, but proactively including compliance as a part of your localization strategy will ensure you’re meeting the legal requirements of your target market while also establishing trust and goodwill locally.
Additional Benefits of Localization
When customers feel that your product or service is designed with them in mind and presented in a language they feel comfortable with, customer engagement improves exponentially. But that’s not the sole benefit that localization brings to companies.
A more substantial reputation: Entering new markets is challenging even for the most sophisticated worldwide brands because establishing familiarity and trust is challenging. Investing to develop a robust localized presence can enhance your brand reputation significantly. Values like diversity, inclusivity, and respect are easier to demonstrate through increased visibility and expanded geographic presence, and positive media coverage almost always follows.
Design that works across borders: Because so much of the focus for localization is on language and translation, it’s easy to forget that the very localization process can lead to improvements in your business infrastructure. Working with a language services provider (LSP) and your web designer offers advantages in terms of usability. For customers who read right-to-left, such as Arabic or Hebrew speakers, or have other cultural considerations regarding how they perceive and comprehend information, localization can make your brand more engaging for all your customers.
Reduced costs: A localization strategy is a significant investment; some companies haven’t reached the level they need to localize to achieve success. However, localization inevitably pays financial rewards. Reaching a larger consumer pool can mean more sales and a better bottom line, depending on your target locale and the nature of your business. Setting up different service levels, testing out projects, and working with a language partner to automate your localization process can all help support a robust and cost-effective localization strategy.
Higher Engagement is One Step Away
Investing in localization is the first step toward establishing new markets, but the advantages to your business are multifold. Improving customer engagement with quality translations, shifting toward authentically serving the customer, and making local connections all help consumers feel like they can trust your business, both now and in the future. When customers can purchase products or services via their usual methods and feel comfortable with your presence on familiar platforms, engagement in your company is bound to grow.