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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: New Research on Service Desks & Multilingual Support

September 13, 2017 No Comments

As our world continues to shrink, languages are becoming more important to service desks and helpdesks. The focus is on how organizations can better support stakeholders across all languages and communications channels.

To better understand this topic, Lionbridge and HDI conducted a survey of nearly 400 service desks and helpdesks in 30 countries. Tom Tseki, Vice President and General Manager of GeoFluent & Customer Care Solutions at Lionbridge, shared the findings with IT Briefcase.

  • Q. How important is multilingual support, and how does it impact the IT support center?

A. Multilingual service is becoming a priority for support centers. Global companies have found that when they demand that all employees speak their “primary language,” they limit the talent that they can hire and as such, language diversity continues to grow. As globalization increases and the focus intensifies on internal customer experience, IT support centers are being asked to expand and adapt their range of services across languages. The Lionbridge and HDI research found that more than 71 percent of IT professionals feel that multilingual support is a priority.

Despite this, only 23 percent have solutions in place for communicating in non-primary languages. This is both the challenge and the opportunity. Hiring isn’t the answer – 41 percent of support centers said identifying and retaining bilingual staff is their biggest issue. Outscoring is also difficult – 37 percent can’t justify the cost.

While these obstacles exist, Lionbridge and HDI found that 88 percent of IT staff prefer to support employees and partners in their native language, and consider it the best method for engagement. But, the reality is that only 21 percent of support centers currently offer multilingual support at all levels, with interactions mainly limited to voice-only.

  • Q. What is the risk of not supporting languages?

A. Internal service desks are under greater pressure than ever to deliver a great customer experience. If they are falling short, they run the risk of being outsourced.

  • Q. How can service and support desks become multilingual?

A. For digital channels like chat, ticketing, email and knowledge bases, technology is playing an increasingly important role. Specifically, customized real-time translation technology as part of broader IT service management solutions.

When Aberdeen Group looked at how companies communicate across languages, they found that 21 percent use real-time translation technology, with another 20 percent planning to adopt it this year.

  • Q. Where should organizations begin if they want to prioritize multilingual support?

A. To drive multilingual support success, service and support organizations should start by identifying factors that enhance user experience. This can include the response time, accuracy of information being provided, what channels employees prefer, and more. Once these factors have been identified, look to the employee base to track and quantify which languages are high in demand. Then, proceed to dissect these metrics to determine if there are any languages that require additional support. Next, it will be important to look for any major gaps to ensure that support is provided for both primary and non-primary speakers. From there, incorporate journey maps to increase employee issue resolution, and as a last step, investigate the appropriate solution that fits each language’s needs.

By leveraging language solutions and the strategies mentioned above, IT support centers can master multilingual support and reap its benefits. The end result is reduced resolution time and costs, increased service desk efficiency and most importantly, happier employees.

  • Q. How do service desks know which language strategy is best for them?

There are three good best practices to help answer this questions:

1. Break down language volume within the employee base to help support staff identify the appropriate solutions to match each language’s needs – from in-country support to over-the-phone interpretation (OPI). By matching language volumes to solutions, enterprises can also increase productivity and remain cost-effective.

2. Leverage OPI and / or AI-based solutions to provide broader service coverage without hiring additional staff. AI-based translation can also enhance support to existing self-service and agent-assisted digital communications platforms such as chat, email and ticketing. By leveraging these technologies, enterprises can eliminate language barriers and reduce inbound calls while enhancing overall employee experiences.

3. Service and support desks aren’t alone in facing language challenges. The ideal solution is one that spans the enterprise. Think about a centralized, linguistic knowledge base that represents everything about how the company communicates. This allows organizations to leverage common language terminology and branded terms to communicate consistently and accurately across every language and through every communications channels.

Tom 150x150 IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: New Research on Service Desks & Multilingual Support

Tom Tseki is the vice president and general manager, GeoFluent and Customer Care Solutions at Lionbridge. His experience and expertise include helping organizations implement and leverage omni-channel customer care strategies to improve CX, increase revenue and gain service desk and contact center efficiencies. Tom has a deep background in technology as it relates to real-time multilingual communications, analytics and workforce optimization.


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