6 Tips for Delivering Effective International Customer Service

6 Tips for Delivering Effective International Customer Service

Your products or your website could be designed for people, that speak your language. However, you can offer your services in other languages and people without the right alternative in their language can seek the product and service. It is a good problem to have. But keep in mind that providing international customer service is a challenge when you are not prepared to offer real multilingual customer support. What can you do if a customer starts a conversation in French? Nobody from the team can speak the language. Here are some tips for developing international customer service.

1. Use translation services: The most obvious translation tool available is Google Translate. However, remember not to just translate the normal reply and hit the Send button. You need to simplify your language before completing the translation and ensure that you are including your response in either language. More significantly, manage the customer expectations by using translation services or tools. After you have started handling a fair number of conversations in foreign languages, Google Translate might not be enough.

2. Simplify the language: Easy words and sentence structure can go a long way in having effective multilingual customer support. Many people do not realize how badly affected the use of our native language is. We are not used to adjusting while communicating with clients that speak another language. While you are using Google Translate or just while writing in the native language to a foreign speaker stay with the basics as far as possible. Rather than adding some heavily idiomatic language while translating with a tool, you need to choose shorter and clearer sentences. Otherwise, the translation can turn into gibberish. Sometimes it is a good idea to sacrifice a bit of clarity in these cases.

3. Add visuals: As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is true for any language. When you are worried about being misunderstood, you need to record a short video or take a screenshot with tools such as CloudApp. You may even develop a GIF quickly. By using the right tools, these inline visuals can save your clients and yourself a lot of confusion and time.

4. Hire the services of a polyglot: You do not hire people because they are great at using many languages. The main skill you will look for while hiring a person is how good he or she is at providing customer support. However, it is a bonus to have a person in the team that can answer in several languages and maybe take a call in Italian at some point in time. But if your business develops internationally, you will have to hire support pros that speak several languages. You can use Trello which offers support in more than 20 languages. One of the ways they use, for providing this support is by hiring team members that speak other languages. You can also use the native speakers working in the company as long as you are not relying on them too heavily.

5. Keep in mind the keyboard differences: Sometimes you are faced with a customer with a bug that you cannot reproduce at your end. The reason for this can be the shortcut conflicting with special characters. Although several websites can find out the language used and apply various rules suitably, you still may run into issues that occur due to non-ASCII characters and diacritical marks. If you are aware of the problem, it saves a lot of back-and-forths.

6. Add the multi-lingual support slowly: It will be terrific to translate the knowledge base into several languages. However, not before the tools and the site are available in the language. Collect demographic data for finding out where most of the international customers are. Then you can concentrate on training and expansion in some other languages.


In the end, ensure that the right person from support has a seat at the table when you are trying to design an international growth strategy. This will allow you to scale the support level suitably. You need to try in one or two languages in the beginning, before reaching out to a large number of clients with minimal effort.