Why is multilingual customer service so important?

If a customer has an issue with our ecommerce, we should have a multilingual customer service to help them in their own language. In fact, the reason forums and social media work so well is because they allow people who share the same language to interact.

However, a lack of time and resources often leads many business owners to forget about customer care on their online shops. So, it is unsurprising that the use of bots has become a viable solution for many online businesses. The question is, though, are these bots reliable? Imagine the scenario regarding our international ecommerce customer service.

Why should we serve a customer in their language?

Establishing a human commercial relationship between business and customer is becoming increasingly important. That is to say, customer service, as in a physical shop, is essential and must be looked after.

However, is it easy to maintain this relationship online? The reality is, no, it isn’t. In fact, it requires professional management that involves answering emails, comments and customer opinions. On the face of it, these are things that seem very simple. But what happens when our business has expanded beyond its original borders? How do we process queries or appraisals that aren’t in our language?

Evidently, the messages we receive in another language cannot just be ignored. As we have mentioned in a previous article, 80% of internet users would not buy a product whose description was not in their language. Well, it’s the same with customer care.


Which language should we use for our ecommerce customer service?

It’s an open secret (a very open secret) that the majority of online shops’ approach to multilingual customer service is to read and respond to queries in other languages using machine translation tools. Although it is a quicker solution, it can cost us dear, as we can’t offer a quality service when we don’t know what is being said or how we respond. So much so that in the short term we may (quite possibly) even lose customers. But what’s worse is that if this trend continues, it will lead to a significant loss in revenue and irreparable damage to our image.

So, which language can we use to solve this issue? Even if many people think we can get by simply by answering everything in English, we can’t. Taking for granted that everyone speaks English is very risky. The only real solution we have is to answer in our user’s language.

Obviously, this can be a challenge, especially if we have expanded into multiple areas where different languages are spoken. For this reason, and also because having an in-house multilingual customer service representative isn’t always possible for every ecommerce, the most cost-effective solution is to turn to professional translators.

Although it may seem like adding a third party into the mix would delay response time, translation agencies are prepared for this type of service. And even though the process is a little slower, isn’t it better to interact with our customers fluently in their language than worry about making some kind of blunder?


Chatbots, a reliable tool in other languages?

Recently, we have seen how the use of chatbots for customer service has become the norm in ecommerce. The system allows us to respond to our customers’ frequent doubts. In other words, it is very useful for accelerating response times for recurring issues. However, are they a viable option if we have a multilingual online business?



As with everything, there are always options to get us out of trouble. In fact, there are companies that have developed multilingual chatbots that can alleviate our situation. However, as with our own language: there are limits and they are unavoidable! What’s more, we should also bear in mind that a bot gives an automatic and impersonal response, which often leaves a lot to be desired when we have a real problem and are looking for an agent to listen to us and help us out.

So, are they a reliable tool? Yes, as long as the user has an issue that we have seen is frequent and not very serious. In all other situations, we should have a qualified multilingual customer service representative on hand to serve customers efficiently in their own language. And if we don’t have the resources to cover this, we should outsource the service to professional translators.


Online multilingual customer service

Internationalising an online shop or a hotel website cannot be limited to the content of its pages. We must go a step further. It isn’t much use having our content localised and not providing a professional multilingual customer service to our consumers and users in other countries. And in fact, it’s a sign of trust for your business.

Professional translation of email queries and replies from customers is essential, and is a safe, quick, and reliable investment. At Ontranslation, we know how to do it.

Have you ever had a bad customer care experience with an ecommerce because of a language miscommunication?

About the author

Oscar Nogueras

Es el CEO de Ontranslation y dedica algunos ratos libres a escribir en este blog para compartir sus conocimientos sobre internacionalización, cross-border ecommerce y Traducción SEO. No es para menos, ya que entre su formación cuenta con una licenciatura en filología inglesa, un máster en tradumática, un posgrado en elearning y un MBA. En definitiva, una declaración de intenciones donde la cultura y los idiomas se sirven mezclados, no agitados.

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