Kirill Bigai, Co-founder & CEO of Preply.
The travel industry makes the world a smaller place, in the best way possible. It connects explorers with all the wonders of the world. From planes and trains to hotels and cruises, travel catapults us from one place to another; helps us relax and recharge; makes overseas business possible; reconnects us with long lost family; and exposes us to new cultures and new cuisines.
As the co-founder and CEO of Preply — an online tutoring platform for learning foreign languages — I know firsthand how much demand there is to immerse oneself in new cultures. From connecting with heritage to moving abroad, becoming bilingual or multilingual is a major plus. But it’s especially important when you work in the travel industry.
A recent research study called “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” took representative samples from 29 countries around the world, including Korea, India, France, China, Brazil, Germany and Spain. The consensus was clear: customers prefer to make purchasing decisions in their native language, as opposed to English.
Here are some highlights from the study:
- 40% won’t buy in another language.
- 65% prefer content in their native language.
- 73% want reviews of products in their language.
- 60% of the respondents never or rarely buy at English-language sites.
- 75% of respondents want product information in their native language.
So, now you’re thinking about how to implement a multilingual features to your business. Start with these three categories:
- Identify which countries and languages would be most profitable for your business. Whether it’s existing or potential customers, you need to narrow your focus. After all, there are over 6,500 languages!
- Update your website and marketing materials. Consider all of your customer touchpoints, and make sure that what they’re reading is authentically translated.
- Hire native speakers who are bilingual or multilingual. Simply put, they will have the strongest skillset, speaking naturally and with confidence.
Now let’s focus on why a multilingual customer support team will boost your business:
#1 Increase revenue
The research says it all: when a customer is engaged in his or her native language, the more likely they are to give you their business and return in the future.
#2 Avoid misunderstandings
When a customer reaches out for support, presumably they are encountering some kind of issue. It will only add to their frustration if there is a language barrier.
#3 Expand to new markets
When you incorporate new languages into your service offerings, the possibilities are endless. Not to mention, this will also give your company a competitive advantage.
Bon voyage!Gute reise! Boa viagem!