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January 27, 2015 | By

Omni-Channel Customer Service Strategies May Be Trendy, but They Must be Global to Work

Omni-channel customer service strategies have been receiving a lot of buzz lately. It seems like everybody wants to talk about how they are solving for a very connected and dynamic customer who expects high levels of customer service in a short amount of time.  Case in point: at this month’s National Retail Federation (NRF) annual conference omni-channel customer service was a major focus.  Another case in point: Aberdeen analyst Omer Minkara mentioned in a recent blog that “the average number of channels companies use to interact with customers has changed from five in 2012 to six in 2013 to nine in 2014.”

As somebody with a deep knowledge of customer service strategies, I agree and I get it. However, as omni-channel customer service strategies are created, it is important to remember that these strategies must be global in scope to work properly. Retailers and other selling organizations must show the same dedication towards supporting their global customer base as they do toward marketing and selling to them. Previously, that has meant finding and hiring multi-lingual call center agents – not an easy task. Alternatively, some organizations have opted for opening foreign-based (and usually very expensive) call centers. Neither option has been seen as particularly successful in the long-term.

The good news for these organizations is there are now a lot of cost effective strategies for establishing superior customer service online. One of the most notable strategies is to drive global customers toward online chat, allow them to converse in their own native language, and provide the same capability for company representatives and other customer service staff. This is achieved by enhanced, personalized machine translation. As a result, multinational businesses – or even businesses with multilingual customer bases – can significantly broaden their reach, boost brand loyalty and cost-effectively support customers, regardless of language, location or device.

Enhanced, personalized machine translation is definitely not as perfect as human translation. But that’s okay. What it does do is aide chat conversations that cannot wait for long-term translation perfection to be actionable, understandable, and immediate.

Basic, unvarnished, and free machine translation engines have actually been around for some time. However, there are really three big reasons that they haven’t caught on in the corporate setting: quality, security, and accessibility. Free machine translation engines cannot provide necessary quality because they don’t have the specificity of the business or industry lexicon to properly translate terms. Caterpillar Brands, for example, would no doubt appreciate their corporate name being translated properly, versus the insect that crawls around on warm summer days. Second, free machine translation engines often capture and save content without the blessing of the user. Third, they are only available via the Web. To counter these challenges, and to bring the real possibility of success to omni-channel customer service, GeoFluent recently announced a partnership with LogMeIn’s BoldChat product to bring real-time, state of the art translation to chat agents and other customer service personnel.

boldchat_geofluent_integration

The goal is simple: support the omni-channel customer service support strategy with globalization capabilities. GeoFluent Chat Translator allows agents to provide actionable and understandable guidance in one language while a consumer speaks another, all the while being mindful of industry terms that need to be carefully translated, security concerns, and easy accessibility right in the BoldChat interface. The new integration with GeoFluent makes it possible to:

  • Reduce costs and time associated with supporting customers across languages and geographies by reducing staffing needs and enabling chat agents to instantly translate BoldChat messages in real-time for both the customer or site visitor and the customer service agent.
  • Identify and translate branded terms, industry lexicon, slang, typos and communication shortcuts, resulting in higher quality translation. Agents can also choose to preview translated text and make adjustments, if needed, before sending to the visitor.
  • Support “language swapping,” where agents can see when a visitor’s language has changed and quickly alter the conversation to adapt to the new language.
  • Support more than 40 languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, and Japanese.

To learn more about this partnership, please contact us.


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