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Your customers want you to STFU (and other research findings)

Business professionals’ number-one priority in the next five years isn’t their product or pricing. It’s the customer experience. But what kind of an experience, exactly, do customers really want? 

From customer service AI to support in multiple languages, learn the facts of how businesses can win over customers from around the globe.

They want support in multiple languages. They want customer service that solves issues quickly and thoroughly. They want some help from empathetic humans and some from fast, well-trained AI. In a word, they want you to STFU — that is, to Start Translating Fearlessly with Unbabel. 

Our Language Operations platform eliminates language barriers so that businesses can thrive across cultures and geographies. And we’ve eliminated the guesswork of wondering what consumers want because, well, we asked them. The data below is from our own survey of nearly 3,000 global consumers, with additional data from other brands’ research.

Customer loyalty depends on a native-language end-to-end customer experience (CX)…

What parts of your business need to be multilingual? All of them — from the first touchpoint in the buying journey, such as a translated website, to after the final sale, such as native-language customer support (CS). We found that more than two-thirds (69%) of global consumers believe it’s extremely or very important that brands offer an end-to-end CX in their native language. More specifically, 71% of the consumers surveyed say it’s important that a brand promotes and supports its products and services in their native language.

Microsoft found that 90% of consumers say CS is important to their choice of and loyalty to a brand. When CS is poor, 58% of consumers will have no problem ending their relationship with a business. But when they have a great CX, 91% of customers are likely to make another purchase, according to Salesforce.

… and a good CX means multilingual CS

For businesses, native-language CS has myriad benefits, from access to a wider market to increased sales and brand loyalty. For consumers, its primary benefit is an obvious one: easier, smoother, error-free communication.

Customers want native-language support, and they’re willing to put up with problems to get it. Nearly 40% of global consumers say they’re very likely or likely to overlook poor customer service if it’s offered in their native language. High-quality native-language support, meanwhile, wins over customers: 73% of global consumers say they’d be loyal to a brand that offers it. 

And if your business doesn’t offer multilingual CS, you run the risk of your customers defecting for one that does. 68% of global consumers say they’d switch to a brand that offers native-language support.

Investment in CS is crucial for growth — but what about the language barrier?

Growing a business is not without its difficulties. 44% of decision-makers at global enterprise organizations say their top challenge to expanding in more languages is the prohibitive cost of adding new languages. 36%, our 2021 LangOps survey found, say it’s the disconnected, decentralized processes.

When we surveyed CS leaders at global organizations about what’s top of mind for them in 2021, 45% named providing a consistent CX across markets as their top CS challenge. Still, 50% of CS leaders are increasing their CS budgets in 2021.

40% of CS leaders hire in-house native-language support agents, but this can be costly and time-consuming. One solution? Artificial intelligence. 79% of CS leaders think that AI-powered language solutions are “very valuable” or “extremely valuable.”

Customer service AI drives business success

AI is here, and here to stay. AI can be used to deflect tickets, reduce agents’ time spent answering requests, and efficiently scale customer engagement. It’s no wonder that businesses with high-performing CS are twice as likely to use AI, according to Zendesk.

Most customers understand that AI can help solve simple problems. But younger customers — Gen Z and Millennials — are more enthusiastic about AI overall, thinking it can resolve issues both simple and complex.

Conversational AI has benefited companies in industries from CPG to insurance to automotive, reducing CS costs and customer churn by more than 20%, according to a Capgemini research report

The need for speed

35% of customers say getting an issue resolved the first time — in a single interaction — is the most important aspect of good customer service. 31% say it’s having a knowledgeable agent.

Nearly 80% of American consumers say speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience. Consumers outside the U.S. value speed even more.

Roughly 50% of customers, Zendesk found, would switch to a competitor after just one bad customer experience — defined by long hold or wait times, an automated (i.e., non-human) system, unfriendly or unhelpful agents, or inconvenient customer support hours. In the case of more than one bad experience, the number is 80%.

Global companies need an AI-powered translation service

Need more proof that your business might benefit from customer service AI? Here are five reasons.

About the Author

Sophie Vu is the chief marketing officer for Unbabel, an AI-powered Language Operations platform that helps businesses deliver multilingual support at scale. With more than 20 years of experience growing and leading innovative tech companies, Sophie has a strong pulse on the current and emerging market landscape. She has a graduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management.

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