Inclusion: the forgotten element of customer service excellence

True customer service excellence can only come with inclusion. That is to say, the same quality of care must be extended to everyone, equally.

In customer service, an inclusive culture encompasses a diverse audience and ensures equitable access to help. It removes barriers and helps serve any customers, anywhere.

But that’s not possible when support only comes in one language.

Of course, it’s not reasonable to expect customer service teams to suddenly learn multiple languages in a bid for customer service excellence. With the right technology, however, they don’t need to.

Here, we explore how to create a more inclusive customer service culture with the help of translation.


Looking beyond English

Did you know there are roughly 6500 languages spoken today? Customer service excellence means looking beyond English alone.

You might think that this doesn’t affect you. Perhaps you trade locally, and think that supporting multiple languages is a concern for exporters and enterprises only.

Well, multilingual customer support is important even in countries where English is the primary language.

For example, 8% of the UK population have a main language other than English. Meanwhile in the US, 1 in 5 people speak a language other than English at home.

Even if you’re an SME trading in domestic regions only, you still need to factor in the plain truth that many of your customers don’t necessarily prefer (or even speak) your language.

A wider perspective

Let’s look beyond domestic trade. In the UK, 25% of the economy is based on exports. Across the pond, the US is the world’s third biggest exporter.

These nations may have English as their de facto official language, but millions of their international customers don’t.

And all these international customers still have a right to post-sales aftercare. If you sell to a customer, you must also be able to speak to and support that customer.

They deserve to receive customer service excellence as much as anyone else, after all.

Inclusion is all about recognising that your entire customer base should be able to access help – not just those who speak English.

Inclusion as a differentiator

Inclusion is more than a buzzword. It’s also emerging as a key competitive battleground for businesses.

Today more than ever, consumers are holding businesses to ethical standards. We are more likely to trust brands who are committed to championing equality and trading fairly.

And, naturally, creating an inclusive customer service culture is part of this picture.

Providing open, accessible and inviting support for all is an opportunity for businesses to differentiate their services. (Not to mention win a reputation for customer service excellence.) You can stand out for all the right reasons – demonstrating effort towards equality and inclusion.

In fact, forward-thinking businesses are already doing so. In the UK, some 40% of contact centres have started to support languages other than English.

And, with language differences unlikely to go anywhere, now is a great time for other companies to follow suit and be an early inclusivity leader.

Customer service excellence without the cost

Now, talking optimistically about inclusive customer service is all well and good. But there is an enormous cost that comes with providing multilingual support.

It’s not realistic or practical to expect every business to recruit an army of bilingual agents and interpreters. Nor can the average company afford to set up an offshore call centre.

But those aren’t the only options. Instead, technology is making customer service excellence achievable via smart, affordable language translation.

We’re not talking about the latest poorly-performing translation wearable, or about manually typing every customer message into Google Translate.

There are quicker and more efficient solutions available, and ones that tie in with your broader omnichannel strategy.

Turn your attention to live chat software and its real-time translation functionality.

Unfortunate #CX reality: if your customer support only comes in one language, then it's not inclusive. Click To Tweet

Quick multilingual communication

Your customers already love live chat. It’s emerging as the channel of choice in today’s fast-paced, web-based world. Now, real-time translation is making live chat more accessible than ever.

Advanced solutions, for example, can complete real-time translations of chat sessions in over 100 languages. This translation runs both ways, with the customer typing in their language and the agent typing back in theirs. This all happens smoothly and seamlessly, in a conversation without jarring delays or language barriers.

Real-time translation, then, is your ticket to inclusive customer service excellence. No matter what their language of choice, customers can chat to you and get instant help. They’re not excluded based on language, and have a quick and easy route to support.

Plus, live chat is affordable for the company. It doesn’t require additional employee resource, and enables multilingual support with minimal effort. Everybody wins.

Commit to inclusion

Inclusion is only one part of customer service excellence. But it’s also an oft-overlooked part.

So, businesses that embrace inclusion create a more accessible culture even while they boost their competitiveness.

It’s time to think outside the box that is the English language. And the small addition of a live chat box on your website can help you do just that.

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