English is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world. According to Babbel analysis, English is the third most common spoken language on the planet, behind only Chinese (which consists of Mandarin and Cantonese) and Spanish. With over 360 million native speakers, plus another 1.5 billion people who use it as a second language, English clearly has a large impact on the global economy.
So, with so many people able to communicate in English, should customer experience centers still prioritize language translation services. The short answer is: Absolutely. While English is one of the most common tongues on the entire planet, it is far from ubiquitous enough to be the sole form of communication. Even those that speak English do not always wish to. Customer service continues to be of paramount importance and organizations cannot afford to alienate potential or current clients based on language limitations.
Here are three reasons why language translation services remain vital to the customer experience industry:
1. Not everyone speaks English
According to Worldometers, roughly 7.6 billion people currently live on planet Earth. Subtracting the nearly 2 billion English speakers, that leaves a population of nearly 5.8 billion individuals who cannot speak English. Even prominent English-speaking countries like the U.S., U.K. and Canada have percentages of their population who are uncomfortable speaking English.
Clients who cannot easily speak English may become flustered during their customer service experience and are less likely to find it helpful or positive overall. Given customer service's growing importance, this can be disastrous for retaining or growing a client base. A Walker survey anticipated that, by 2020, customer experience will be the key brand differentiator between companies, more valuable than even price or product quality.
Non-English speaking clients will naturally gravitate toward a company that can serve them in a manner that they find comfortable.
2. Clients prefer to do business in their native language
Almost everyone prefers familiarity to some extent, especially in a situation where they need assistance. Moore Blatch, a soliciting company, consciously opts to hire customer experience employees who are bilingual.
"Many businesses will rely on the help of translators, but we have found that investing in a dedicated service has led to stronger relationships with clients – so much so that the majority of work the firm receives under this service is through personal recommendations," Moore Blatch Partner Ciaran McCabe told The Guardian.
Speaking a client's native language can help create ease as well as the perception of importance. According to a Common Sense Advisory study, 75 percent of respondents prefer to buy products in their native language. Exactly 60 percent rarely or never buy from English-only websites.
3. Emerging markets rarely use English
While the U.S. economy continues to grow at a snail's pace, markets are booming elsewhere worldwide. Many developing nations are starting to stabilize – and that means rapid economic growth may not be far behind. These countries exist outside the U.S.-China economic dominance, with markets including Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Taiwan. English is not a majority language in any of these markets.
If companies hope to do business with emerging markets, they must prepare to service them in their own native language. Translation services will be vital in not just acquiring customers but keeping them happy through every facet of the customer experience.
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