|The following is a guest post by the Microsoft Translator Partner, Lionbridge Technologies, who developed GeoFluent as a solution to address the challenge of real-time translation of user generated content leveraging the Microsoft Translator automatic translation service and customization capabilities of the Translator Hub.|
Let’s face it: customers appreciate simplicity. Nothing saves an angry customer from becoming an ex-customer like simple, seamless customer support. Savvy businesses offer up to a dozen contact channels to deliver support at the right time and place for a customer, but many are stymied by the complexity of providing this level of support for their entire customer base, and in a variety of different selling mediums.
Consider the multi-lingual nature of North America alone. According to a recent survey, 30% of North Americans do not consider the English language as their native language. The number of limited English proficiency (LEP) individuals in the United States has also grown by 81 percent since 1990. Finally, nearly one in ten working-age U.S. adults—19.2 million persons aged 16 to 64—are considered limited English proficient. The complexity, customer service executives would say, is that they cannot possibly staff for support of all the languages of all their customers any given point.
Another factor making effective customer service seemingly complex is the dynamic way customers can interact with service providers. This interaction is omni-channel, whereby customers can not only buy products from selling organizations, but also reverse direction and interact and provide feedback to that sell for all to see. This has put new pressure on sellers to quickly and effectively manage this interaction, or risk a hostile reputation. Indeed, according to Forrester Research, 67% of today’s Internet users would prefer to find (pre- and post- sales) answers online.
Modern, simple customer support is dynamic – whether one to one contact channels like email ticketing and chat, communication takes place in near real time. Chat, for example, can be an effective way for customers to reach out to customer service representatives to have their issues resolved, and learn about new products. At the same time, technology has made it possible to allow customers 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. Best of all, translation processes can be specially mindful of industry terms that need to be carefully translated, security concerns, and easy accessibility by both agent and consumer.
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.
When deploying machine translation in a support environment, organizations must consider:
- How does the solution integrate into existing software/workflows
- The preservation of brand/product terms.
- How to maximize translation quality through translation engine customization and agent/moderator training?
- Does the solution offer adequate safeguards for the handling of PII.
This is the heart of what GeoFluent by Lionbridge does every day for all of our customers. As a result of our partnership with Microsoft Translator, we can help answer these challenges and make the customer service translation process simple, actionable, understandable, and immediate.
Your customer base is only growing more diverse and channel-savvy. Providing simple, cost effective in language customer support is within your grasp. Please visit http://geofluent.lionbridge.com/ to learn how state of the art machine translation can make multilingual, multi-channel, customer support simple.
By: Greg Belkin, Director of Product Marketing and Product Management, Lionbridge.