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The internet has given technology businesses an easy way to build a presence in new markets by localising their websites to make products available to international customers. But before you start adapting your product and website for Kenya, Nigeria and Mauritius, have you thought about customer support?
As technology gets more complex, consumers and enterprise users alike don’t always instinctively understand a new product. There needs to be some way for customers to get in touch with your company’s reps or support team.
Research has shown that personal recommendations are the number one driver of consumer purchase decisions and enterprises also consider the opinions of their trusted sources before buying. With social media, bad customer experiences on an online review site or industry forum can travel faster than ever – with potentially harsh consequences for the providers of tech products in losses of thousands of rands.
Solid customer support is the foundation of a great customer experience. But, there are ways tech companies can build a great experience without setting up expensive and unfeasible call centres in every new market.
1. Adapt the user interface
Many tech companies build intuitive user interfaces (UIs) to help customers navigate their products. By localising the UI, companies can allow users to jump into the software and start using it immediately. Users often depend on helpful user support messages with tips and notifications popping up along the way to show them how to make the most of the software. Localising contextual user support would mean going a step further by translating all of the copy within the actual software.
A localised UI that helps non-native English speakers learn the product can do wonders for customer support by educating customers and cutting down on frustration.
2. FAQs and Resource Pages
If a product doesn’t have a user interface or localising the UI is too complicated and costly, companies can consider translating their frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages and other online resources. Usually, this just means localising the content that’s already available on the English-language website and customising it from there.Localised how-to content should be easily accessible and placed prominently on the website. Something like a Webinar would take a little bit more work in design and voiceovers than translating the FAQ section. Likewise, e-books and white papers should be carefully translated by someone who knows both the language and the industry.
Companies can archive all of this content under one domain to ensure that it receives maximum visibility. Through a mix of images and dynamic content, you can connect customers with the helpful content that’s right for them.
3. Localise your videos
Videos are quickly becoming the new instruction manuals. According to a 2013 survey, 73% of respondents said they were more likely to purchase a product after watching a video, while 93% found it helpful for comparison shopping and instructions post-purchase.
A comprehensive customer support programme should encompass this trend. When you’re launching in a new market, think about the videos that may prove most helpful and how you can convert those for a new language. This doesn’t necessarily mean shooting new videos either. Through a combination of video editing and voiceovers, companies can repurpose company content that is already available.
Your corporate YouTube channels should also be part of this process. Create a separate playlist for a new market, so customers can easily navigate through the corporate content to find what they need. Embed introductory videos on the website, in blog posts, and across online resource pages.
4. Tackle technical documents
With so much digital content being created, it’s tempting to forgo traditional manuals. But, these can still play a very important role in orienting new customers and helping them understand what a tech product can do for them. Since most software has gone from out-of-the-box to download-only, technical documentation can follow suit.
In the online resources section of your website, offer the manuals and technical documents that otherwise would have been included in the box. These documents should include detailed diagrams, charts, and pictures that are clearly labeled in the target market’s language to help customers better understand the software. Offer PDFs of the product manuals so customers can print the documents, read and share them as needed.
5. Digital support on many levels
Call centres are often the last resort for customers when they’re having a problem. Companies that supply their audience with enough helpful content to learn a new tech product on their own can significantly cut down on overhead while building loyalty.That doesn’t mean that customer support centres should be completely dropped in favour of digital alternatives.
By supplying customers with support in a variety of visual, audio, and written formats, you can guarantee that support calls won’t be as demanding, and customers will feel like the company has them in mind, from start to finish.
Image: plantronicsgermany via Flickr.