Localizing Customer Experience: It’s Worth It
People won’t buy a product/service they don’t understand. This is the core reason for every localization effort and everything that it may include, from market research, development of custom technological solutions, translation to linguistic fine-tuning. But is product/service localization really sufficient for the global success?
Making prospective customers understand a product, service or a deliverable in this day and age takes more than a simple translation / localization of a product description or a user manual. It also includes localization of a wide variety of pre-sale activities designed to reach and engage customers and post-sale customer support. These activities ultimately spell customer experience (CX) and its necessity for business success is pretty much self-explanatory.
Different Markets – Different Approaches
Most marketing materials are originally produced in English and designed to appeal to the specific cultures of the Anglophone countries, and, sadly, most of the time without localization being taken into account. This usually means that even the most carefully produced copies, ads, campaigns and other types of marketing materials may lose a good deal of their original flair and punch in localization because their structure and the original cultural context simply prevent the message from resonating with the target audiences on the foreign markets the way it should.
While creating a new content for each market may take too many resources, it should never be forgotten that different markets demand different approaches. The content designed to reach and engage foreign clients and customers cannot simply be localized, and for this reason it is important to answer the following questions during the content production process:
- Will the message designed for one market work on another?
- Can the message be changed on the foreign markets?
- What is the universal appeal of the message?
The solutions that can be helpful in adapting the desired tone, style and meaning of the original message to the foreign market include:
- Target culture research
- In-country review
Our experience has shown time and again that the most successful marketing localization projects were executed in close cooperation with all stakeholders at all stages, from content producers to in-country linguists. In fact, the Pareto principle for a successful localization of marketing materials could easily read 80% of research and consulting, 20% of language tasks.
Localizing Post-Sale Activities
While the traditional marketing materials are regularly localized, post-sale customer support rarely gets this kind of attention.
Companies are predominantly focused on providing customer support on their home markets. One of the main reasons for this is that the real value of localizing the entire cycle of customer experience is not always evident, but the recent research by CSA The ROI of Customer Engagement clearly demonstrates that both B2B and B2C customers from the non-English speaking countries largely prefer post-sale customer care in their own language – a survey of 3000 respondents showed that 85% of them would rather buy software or a high-tech product if the post-sale technical support is available in their language, while 74% of them are more likely to purchase the same brand again if the after-sales care is in their language. (Read more: ROI on Global Customer Experience? Show Them the Money)
This all brings us back to the first sentence – people won’t buy a product/service they don’t understand – but lest we forget that the term understand here includes all stages of the customer’s interaction with a product/service, all the way through post-sale customer support.