The world of e-commerce is on the crest of a wave of rapid expansion, and cross-border e-commerce in particular is increasingly the driving force behind this. Indeed, what we are witnessing is global expansion, particularly prominent in Europe, which continues to break down borders by connecting consumers and businesses across national frontiers. Consider, for example,...
The world of e-commerce is on the crest of a wave of rapid expansion, and cross-border e-commerce in particular is increasingly the driving force behind this. Indeed, what we are witnessing is global expansion, particularly prominent in Europe, which continues to break down borders by connecting consumers and businesses across national frontiers.
Consider, for example, the fact that e-commerce grew by 10% in Europe in 2020, with a turnover of 757 billion euros. Predictions are of a 12% growth and a market volume of as much as 974.40 billion for 2025. However, many challenges remain for those about to make the leap or for those who already have cross-border e-commerce in place. Between payment method preferences and logistical difficulties, one issue of particular importance for enabling cross-border trade is the presence and efficiency of multilingual customer services.
Accompanying the customer means involving them
With the spread of the pandemic and the ensuing digitalisation race, customer care has emerged as being of the utmost importance. An efficient, effective and, most importantly of all, accessible customer service is an integral part of a satisfactory user experience. If the customer is accompanied at every step of their path to purchase and is able to recognise the support received in the various steps, there is a strong likelihood they will feel positively towards the platform they are using. This, in turn, means they will return to it and experience greater ease with their purchases.
A consumer’s online shopping behaviour is undeniably a very useful source of information. However, at the same time, it can be managed through a well-constructed user experience. The availability of customer service in the language of the consumer plays an essential role in this respect.
Many languages, many markets
One of the main obstacles of cross-border trade is attributed to difficulties in accessibility due to language differences. According to the study Can’t Read, Won’t Buy, by consultancy firm Common Sense Advisory23, 76% of international customers are more likely to shop at eshops in their own language, precisely because of language preferences. As a result, addressing potential customers in their native language is essential.
Multichannelling is a must these days, with the main channels being telephone, email, contact forms, WhatsApp, LiveChat and chatbot. Each of these channels should provide the option to interact in several languages. Telephone channels, in particular, are still among the preferred means and it is therefore very important to provide customers with a telephone number for each country from which they would like to make contact.
3 tips for efficient multilingual customer service
When dealing with consumers from different parts of the world, a strategy must be in place to make customer service accessible and equally effective for everyone involved; whatever language is spoken, and avoiding wasting resources. So as to get the most out of customer care, always consider the following points:
Identify target markets: Especially in the early stages of cross-border expansion, it is useful for an e-commerce company to pinpoint which country the largest share of its current customers comes from and to invest in customer services in that language. Additionally, the market offering the greatest growth prospects should be taken into account.
Build a multilingual site: Consumers are increasingly independent and tend to prefer to do their own research. It is therefore very worthwhile to make the site content accessible in different languages, starting with what is likely to be searched for the most often. A FAQ page, for example.
Localisation: Involving native speakers in customer service is very worthwhile because consumers empathise more easily with speakers of the same language.
A global experience for a global brand
With the continued growth of cross-border e-commerce, ignoring the needs and specifications of customers from various parts of the world is simply not an option. In European markets where online shopping for luxury items, handicrafts, and value propositions is widespread, consumer expectations are especially high and therefore there is no place for inadequate or a lack of customer services.
In any case, a multilingual customer service is beneficial for everyone, company and customer, ensuring competitive advantage and a positive customer experience. Offering global customer service makes a brand global.
The Report & Research Customer Service: Why a Good Marketing Strategy Starts Here, released by Go Global Ecommerce, offers numerous valuable insights on how to build truly useful customer service. The fact that it is multilingual is key to its success.In the full report, Stefania Fornari, Customer Service Director at Go Global Ecommerce, explains everything you need to know about good customer service management in international e-commerce. Access it here.