February 2024

The Importance of Localising Customer Services

Learn why simply translating text is no longer good enough

Simply translating text is no longer good enough. With localism on the rise, it’s clear how localisation across customer support and customer success teams is becoming increasingly important. We discuss how localising customer services helps small businesses increase customer support and loyalty while standing out from competition.

Customer services, support, and success 

Reliability is essential for businesses when building customer trust, but it helps when the business also feels relatable. Localisation of support creates a sense of trust and belonging, connecting customers with someone who not only speaks their language but understands their culture, references, and even their unique needs and desires. These more personalised nuances are why it’s important to understand that localisation is more than simply translation, as discussed further in this article from Forbes.

As we dive into more specific aspects of localising communications and customer services, it may help to clarify some commonly used terms as we define what it means to support customers on a local level.  

Customer services generally refers to all forms of assistance a business may provide to anyone who buys or uses its products or services. As defined in this helpful post from Help Scout, customer support helps to “resolve product-related issues and educate the customer about how the product works.

Customer success is another common term that usually means working with customers in a longer term capacity that tends to be more business-to-business in nature, such as a product that helps a customer run their own business. Customer success often requires more back-and-forth communication and means that localisation is even more critical in maintaining relationships. Customer services can also exist through less personalised communications such as emails, website copy, Q&A content, and how-to information.  

Advice from the experts  

In order to offer some helpful advice, we asked two of Nexi’s lead voices on the issue of customer services –Anja Brack, Head of eCom DACH Customer Care(Germany, Austria, Switzerland), and Thomas Hinderson, Head of eCom Nordic Customer Care – some questions.  

1. What would you say to a small or medium business with questions about why they should prioritize localisation?

Localisation shows that you know and understand your customers. It makes them feel appreciated and understood in the way their needs are being addressed by accommodating for language, special market requirements, restrictions [etc.] We have all tried the opposite scenario with generic translated text and know how that limits the desire to become a customer.

2. Focusing specifically on customer support or customer success, what do you find to be the most important benefits of localisation? 

Proximity, local teams, local language, and local culture. Specifically:  

  • Proximity – a customer can tell when you are local not only in language but also in market knowledge and thus can serve to their best needs 
  • Local teams – Having local Sales, Marketing and Operations teams helps build a strong and united workforce to serve the customer in the specific segment and region 
  • Local language – Customers can talk and write within their own language, and needs can be addressed more clearly and solved in a more timely manner 
  • Local culture – Not only language is key but also culture and mentality that vary from region to region is important to be considered and understood 

3. Can you share any examples or stories about localisation or its impact on a specific customer?

We receive a lot of good feedback when we do our NPS and customer satisfaction surveys, and a common topic is the possibility to express yourself in your local language, describing your needs with your words, being able to transmit your happiness or frustration without boundaries. We have clear examples of customers coming back to us as a provider, after experiencing the lack of above-mentioned areas of local approach. 

4. What changes would you predict for the future of localised solutions in customer support and customer success? What improvements would you like to see? 

We think the biggest changes will come with the usage and implementation of AI, but, in this regard, it is key to not lose focus on the personal and localised relationship towards customers. A good combination of AI efficiency plus interacting even more with our customers on a personal level, such as through video, for example. 

5. Is there anything you would like to say about how Nexi can help?

As one of the biggest PayTechs in Europe, Nexi will surely focus on being a forerunner of AI implementation and services, while keeping a strong focus on local personal interaction with our customers. We are taking the “European by scale, local by nature” approach in all we do and want to support our customers in their own journey of localisation. 

6. Is there anything else you would like to add? 

It is always easy to get lost in optimizations of your business, and localisation is often one of the easy things to remove in terms of simplifications. But play close attention to how you risk jeopardizing the customer relationship and consequently your revenue as part of your optimization journey.

3 Key benefits of localisation to keep in mind 

1. Helping customers to feel heard 

Empathy is key to making people feel connected, both in life and in business. Connection begins with feeling seen, heard, and understood. Small businesses can convey empathy more convincingly than major brands because it’s easy for consumers to feel overlooked or sense they’ve become part of an algorithm. When a business can show that an individual customer’s issues and concerns are seen as important and finding solutions is prioritised, trust is created and loyalty follows.

2. Understanding personal preference 

When a business understands a customer’s specific needs or concerns, they are more likely to give them exactly what they want and see them coming back again and again. Making sure that the voice on the other end of the phone or screen matches the language, tone, and even the lived experiences of the customer, goes a long way to making a meaningful impact on customer relationships.  

Localisation can also reveal key information about what customers like and how they like it, such as preferred local payment methods. This attention to detail is the fastest track to becoming a personal preference for customers, which often leads to brand or product advocacy and word-of-mouth advertising.  

3. Attracting new customers and expanding into new markets  

Clear customer communications via e-commerce (i.e. on websites, through emails, and in advertising and promotional materials) can help make a business sound and feel locally relevant. Being able to target these communications to the right people goes a long way toward making customers feel connected to a business, even if it’s not as close by as the messaging may make it seem. This can help a small business break into new markets across borders without losing the local charm that helped it become popular where it started.  

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Five Reasons to Celebrate Local Businesses

Small local businesses play a vital role in building and strengthening local communities. With so many benefits to embracing localism, let’s consider how shopping local can make a difference for everyone during the festive season.

Localisation by the numbers  

According to localisation experts at Pangea approximately three out of every four consumers are more likely to purchase products from sellers using their native language.  

Their data shows that, throughout the EU, 44% of consumers fear they may be missing important information if product details aren’t communicated in their local language. Even in Sweden, with a national English fluency rate of about 86%, more than 80% of shoppers say they prefer to use their own language when purchasing online.  

From a roundup of statistics from the head of product at OneSky, we find that 86% of advertising campaigns see higher click-through and conversion rates after they’ve been modified for localisation.  

Ultimately, localisation and customer services are both about building more trusted relationships with customers. Relationship building has been a hallmark of great local businesses all over the world for centuries, and it’s lovely to see, in this context, that some things never change.