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Multilingual Chatbots: What are They and Why are They Important to Customer Experience?

Many businesses are focusing on the customer experience (CX) as a way to differentiate and beat the competition. For multinational corporations, part of the CX is delivering localized experiences in their customers’ native language, while respecting cultural differences. Sadly, businesses today are still struggling to deliver on this.

There is soaring demand for multilingual candidates in the UK—meanwhile, the UK has abandoned membership of the Erasmus scheme, a catalyst for developing multilingual skills.

The EU lists multilingualism as one of its founding principles, but 35 percent of EU citizens speak no foreign language, and another 35 percent only know one foreign language—often English.

All this begs the question: How can businesses start delivering better multilingual experiences despite the challenges involved? This page explores the topic of multilingual chatbots as a resolution to the growing shortage of language skills.

What is a Multilingual Chatbot?

A chatbot is like a digital customer service agent. It simulates conversations with users to understand their issues and to provide automated resolutions. In more complex situations, chatbots know when to connect customers to a real human agent.

conversational AI translation

A multilingual chatbot can go one step further by conversing with customers in their native language. Imagine a customer from Poland—a Polish speaker—opening your website, only to see everything in English. CSA Research shows that in these circumstances, 40 percent of customers will not make it to checkout. This is a shame, as businesses don’t even need to get it perfect; 65 percent of customers would prefer poor-quality native language content versus non-native language content.

With this in mind, multilingual chatbots offer an opportunity to enhance the CX and overcome language skills shortages.

Why are Multilingual Chatbots Important to CX?

According to Gartner, 80 percent of large enterprises will need “conversational-technology-focused centers” by 2025 to tackle increasing workloads and overcome language barriers.

Here are some reasons why multilingual chatbots are essential to the CX.

Real-Time Translation

Multilingual chatbots use a technology called “real-time translation” to support customer service teams.

Imagine this real-world scenario:

multilingual chatbot translation

A user from Spain sends a message in Spanish. The message is converted to English and delivered to an English customer service agent. The agent replies in English, and the message is converted to Spanish before delivery to the customer.

This is how real-time translation creates an illusion of native conversation, despite both participants using entirely different languages.

With chatbots, this real-time translation is invisible to the user, but enables support in numerous languages.

Wider Geographical Reach, More Customer Leads

Chatbots act as the first point of contact for a business. If this chatbot is not in the correct language, customers may be unable to achieve what they’ve set out to do. This can sour brand perceptions and reduce CSAT scores.

Multilingual chatbots help more customers in a wider range of languages, increasing inbound customer leads and geographical reach. These self-service applications help businesses establish a foothold in a new market for revenue growth opportunities.

Always On, Always Available for Low-Level Tasks

Humans require sleep to maintain their energy levels. Multilingual chatbots, obviously, do not. This enables 24/7 service availability, meaning customers can always get in touch and obtain low-level support in their native language.

instant customer support translation

Multilingual chatbots are suited to simple low-level support tasks, such as sharing FAQ pages or forwarding sessions to an agent. These tasks are repeatable, rarely change, and take little mental power to execute. The important part is that when a chatbot does this work, it alleviates workloads for customer service agents–allowing human agents to focus on complex issues, while chatbots cover the simpler tasks. IBM reflects this sentiment with research showing that 80 percent of routine customer queries can be handled by chatbots. By 2022, they expect this to increase to a 90 percent success rate.

How Else do Multilingual Chatbots Benefit Businesses?

According to IBM, basic chatbots without multilingual functionality can reduce per-query support costs from 5 to 12 USD, down to 1 USD. Since multilingualism as a skill often leads to higher salaries, it is reasonable to believe that multilingual chatbots offer even greater per-query savings.

Recent research from CCMA—in partnership with ChatLingual— found that businesses are experiencing great difficulties in recruiting and retaining multilingual agents. Remember how 80 percent of routine customer queries can be handled by chatbots? Businesses have an opportunity to strategize and reduce support workloads with multilingual chatbots. This then reduces the need to hire new agents, as existing agents have less work to do, offering a solution to recruitment woes.

Explore How Your Business Can Benefit from Multilingual Chatbots with ChatLingual

In summary, multilingual chatbots are like digital customer service agents. They handle low-level tasks and reduce workloads, so human agents can focus on more complex issues.

Enabling more multilingual support through chatbots is important, as 40 percent of customers will not buy from a company that does not speak their language. ChatLingual is an industry leader in enabling real-time translation and always-on multilingual support. Our proprietary natural language processing (NLP) engine enables chatbots to achieve 97 percent comprehensibility across 100+ supported languages. This enhances your geographical reach to help generate more customer leads.

Ready to start delivering multilingual support? Get in touch with the ChatLingual team to get started.